This year, Hourigan Construction (Hourigan) celebrates 30 years in the building industry. It’s a reflective time for the business, particularly for its CEO, Mark Hourigan. Construction Today recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Mark to discuss the year gone by, the pride he has in his team, and the milestones his company has undergone to achieve its success.
“I had the benefit of working for a wonderful mentor, who taught me the construction business before he retired. Upon his retirement, I started the company in 1993. What I love about Hourigan is the vision we created 30 years ago, and the mission statement has always remained the same. It was always about relationships, the people and becoming a trusted advisor to our clients. I wanted to do projects that were meaningful in their design and their impact on the community. So, our mission statement back then was ‘developing lifelong, uniquely remarkable relationships and buildings,’ and, like I said, that is still our mission statement today. It’s really the cornerstone of who we are,” Mark begins.
From Mark’s insight, not only is Hourigan structured on the relationships within and around the business, but it is also buttressed by the values that have molded Mark since the beginning of his own career. “My grandfather, my mother, and my father were just terrific influences in my life. I’ve been lucky to grow up around folks with brilliant core values that have influenced who I am.
“So, being able to share that across the organization has led us to hire people with the same outlook on life. Serving with integrity matters to us, and not disappointing our clients is crucial. We work in a way that reflects the best version of ourselves in the most authentic, fair and balanced way, and it should be important to everyone who works here. I believe that part of my job is to create that culture by practicing those values,” Mark expresses, adding that when a business can find a similar alignment between its core ethos and the people that it hires, the company is able to grow its reputation in exceptional ways.
As a consequence of its exemplary ethic, Hourigan has helped bring to life some impressive projects, not only in the commercial sector, but in the non-profit sector as well, emphasizing how Mark’s values go beyond business. “We do a lot of office building work, which, as you know, is going through an interesting transition as a result of the pandemic. We’ve completed new corporate headquarters, and operations centers. The architecture sometimes is awesome. We’ve also had the opportunity to change skylines, which was very fun!
“I think the areas in which we do well often involve research and healthcare facilities. Knowing that the work happening in those buildings is contributing to a greater purpose is probably why we gravitate to those contracts. Personally, sometimes it’s the smallest projects that are the most touching. Our team feels a greater alignment to a school for autism, for example, or to an organization that serves the underserved. “While they are not the biggest and most glamorous projects, they are tremendously impactful. The people here raise their hand for those projects, because they know that they speak to the essence of what we’re trying to accomplish with the buildings that we build.”
Strength in numbers
To ensure these projects are completed on time and to the highest quality, Mark leans on a dependable network of vendors, who are critical to getting the job done. “We talked about our core values being authentic, but I think what makes a great network is doing business fairly and knowing that we hold the right people to account. If that’s ourselves, the owner, architect or subcontractor, we will absolutely do that. On the other hand, we also want each of our team members to succeed; they’ve got to come to a job that is well planned, organized, safe, and clean so they can do their work in a way that’s profitable. When that happens, everyone wins, and I think that understanding is practiced across our organization and our vendors. Our subcontractors are our lifeline. We are only as good as our weakest subcontractor, so it’s important that we make sure they succeed.”
We then turn the conversation towards Mark’s own career journey and ask him about his motivation to contribute to projects that hold such a personal meaning. “Well, right out of college, I started working for a large corporation. I learned a lot about what I’ll call the ‘corporate lifestyle’ and the benefits of understanding the right sales techniques. Although it was wonderful to work for this organization, and I had an enjoyable experience, I realized that my dad and most of our family and friends were all entrepreneurs, who owned their own businesses. I found that there was a direct correlation between their work ethic and integrity, and the outcomes that brought them success in their businesses. So, for me, I found that to be something that I didn’t necessarily have while working for a large corporation. When I had the opportunity to start my own business and implement that same behavior, our clients could see that difference. It felt like a great way to grow a wonderful business and, at the same time, we were able to help make the community a better place. I always hope the experience with us is a different one, and one that clients and potential clients choose to seek out. Furthermore, when I see members of our team grow, develop, mature and speak about their career or the company with great pride, that is incredibly motivating for me.”
It is evident that Mark’s approach to leadership, through his own development, has shaped Hourigan into the business that it is today. His vision for the future will find the company in new geographies and markets, and he is determined to maintain the business’ reputation as a trusted advisor and community leader. However, he knows none of this would be possible without his wonderful team. “I’m so proud of our people. Their ability to remain intellectually curious, and dedicated to continuous improvement and how we serve our clients in great ways. That’s an important part of who we are and what we do. I love seeing this next generation of leaders gain their own career success. Learning how to accomplish goals by gaining insight from others is the next step in their development and their journey and I look forward to watching that as we tackle even better projects next year, and in the years to come. Those are the things that matter most.”