Explore Years:

Construction News, June 2009

“Running on Full”

O. Preston Smith, CEO of Marathon Commercial Construction LLC, recently noticed an unusual occurrence on his way to work every morning.

“Every day, I noticed a guy sitting in his truck in the parking lot of a company by the airport,” Smith says. “The same guy was in the same place every day waiting for his pre-appointed shift to start. Every day he would sit in the truck, and wait, instead of going inside and start working, even though he got there a few minutes early.”

“That is as opposite as to what I see in my company,” Smith continues. “Our employees not only take pride in their work, but are eager to come in and immediately begin to take up the task of carrying forward their own responsibilities while supporting one another in the responsibilities that each and every one of us have.”

Smith credits his employees’ strong sense of work ethics as one of the reasons the company established in the 2006 with COO Michael E. Smith, doubled in size its first year and tripled in size it’s second. But he also credits the full support he and Smith give their employees in their personal and professional endeavors for the company’s success.

“Police cars used to say ‘protect and server’ on the fenders,” Smith says. “To protect and serve is an essential component of what servant leadership is. What I try to do for everybody who partners with Marathon is to support them in what it is that they are trying to accomplish.”

“By doing so, they’re happy to be here, I’m happy to have them here, and we are all growing in the same direction,” Smith continues. “And I’m proud to count these people as my friends and co-workers.”

Construction News, September 2007

“Back to School”

St. John’s Episcopal School has been a prominent private school in Dallas since 1953. Some of the building’s interior dated back to that time and church members decided it was time for renovations.

“The St. John’s Episcopal School project came to us through a referral from the architectural community. We then met with the school officials to walk through the project and visited with them about their construction needs.” said Marathon Construction CEO Preston Smith.

The bell rang at St. John’s Episcopal School and students at the private school whisked away. It was time to get some rest and relaxation on summer break. The summer months didn’t mean everyone would get a break. For the folks at Marathon Commercial Construction L.L.C, the empty hallways and absence of students meant it was time for them to go back to school and get some work done. Smith says for the next few months they would face many challenges and have to do their homework on this facility renovation.

“Our challenge was to take an existing facility and match new materials to existing materials. It was really difficult to find some of the carpets and ceramic tiles to match. There were many projects within this project. We renovated offices, classrooms, and restrooms at the school. We even did some electrical upgrades, and overcame the difficulty of the project by researching the availability of the materials. Probably the most challenging thing about this project was we had a limited time to do the work before the students were due back. School was set to open in mid-August and that date was not going to move, regardless of any construction obstacles we may have face. Therefore, we had to implement very precise scheduling and coordination to meet our deadline.”

Smith says the company has completed many projects at religious facilities, but a major part of this construction project included working around daily operational administration areas of the school.

“Some of the building was still in use while we were completing the interior finish on several other ares of the school. we had to employ several methods to contain the construction area. We used dust partitions and electrical filters to minimize the dust. So we did a lot to close off the construction areas from the rest of the school.”

When asked if working on a religious facility was different from other construction projects, Smith says religious facility construction taught his company that all construction projects are not created the same and communication is the key to being successful.

“Religious facility construction requires a different approach than other commercial work. Typically, you do not have a single point of contact with a client. Instead you have a committee of church members and/or elders that make the decision as a body. In our dealings with religious facility clients, they require more attention and need the facts upfront. We welcome the needed attention and expectations to help them meet their needs.”

Construction News, October 2006

“Going the Distance”

O. Preston Smith, Chief Executive Officer and Michael E. Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Marathon Commercial Construction, L.L.C. in North Fort Worth share a good deal in common. They’ve both been involved in commercial general contracting for years, are both avid hunters and outdoorsmen, and even kind of look alike. But though they share the same last name and friendly demeanor, it was mere coincidence – not heredity – that brought these two together.

The two met at a company that Michael and a couple of other guys started in Irving, and worked there together for about five years. Michael stayed on with the company for a while, and Preston delved into some other projects before the two decided to combine their talents and form their own enterprise. “And as the world turns, we got together the early part of this year and decided we wanted to put out our own shingle and start doing our own thing together; so that’s what we did.” Preston said. “Our corporate papers came back showing we were incorporated on the Fourth of July. we couldn’t have planned that any better if we had tried.”

The mission behind Marathon Commercial Construction is to provide clients with the most responsive, efficient, and cost effective option for construction, general contracting, construction management and design build services, according to Preston. Preston and Michaels’ resume of past projects includes religious facilities, banks, medical, as well as general office buildings, hospital work, and retail centers. They intend to continue in that direction with Marathon Commercial Construction.

Preston says they are able to meet client needs through an approach that utilizes a multi-faceted strategy of prompt owner communication, adept subcontractor management, and a highly skilled application of construction methods and materials. “With these three approaches, we are able to maximize the efforts of all parties involved.” he said. “This results in a construction schedule that is typically faster than industry standards, accelerating the point by which our clients can begin to occupy their space.”

“This approach also produces greater savings for our clients due principally to the fact that a well-coordinated, seamless integration of building systems requires less manpower to complete.”

Both Smiths are highly involved within the community which has created a steady flow of business referrals for Marathon. Preston has been involved with the North Texas Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), primarily in legislative affairs, and was also appointed commissioner for the Citizens Committee for the Future of Fort Worth by the Fort Worth City Council.

Michael has worked extensively with ABC North Texas since 1996, is a current board member, and has chaired various committees, including the Programs Committee and Education Committee. He is also a Cub Scout leader and team leader with his church.

“One benefit of both of us being involved in civic activities and trade organizations is you end up with a good, broad network of people who are interested in what you’re doing,” Preston said. “Referrals are the meat and potatoes of what we do.”

Smith and Smith aim to build on their track record for providing a superior product faster and within the business confinements of the owner. Preston said. “It’s not rocket science, but being able to maintain a consistent strategy of saving the owner money and providing the project under schedule by effectively managing the contractor base and project costs is our ultimate goal.” – mdo