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Sunday, 24 November 2013 18:46

CSM Group opens Omaha office to serve food and beverage clients

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Kalamazoo-based CSM Group Inc. has opened an office in Omaha, Neb. after having a presence in the city for the last four years. The company hopes to service clients in the food and beverage industry from the new office, located in the Mastercraft building in downtown Omaha. Kalamazoo-based CSM Group Inc. has opened an office in Omaha, Neb. after having a presence in the city for the last four years. The company hopes to service clients in the food and beverage industry from the new office, located in the Mastercraft building in downtown Omaha. COURTESY PHOTO

One Kalamazoo-based construction management firm sees opportunity by pursuing a key industry sector into the American Heartland.

A relationship with two Fortune 500 clients lured CSM Group Inc. to open a new office in Omaha, Neb. that will be dedicated to working with clients in the food and beverage sector, executives said.

The 1,200-square-foot office will allow CSM to better serve its established clients and also take advantage of new opportunities the firm sees in the food and beverage industry in that area, said Todd McDonald, the company’s president. CSM has had a presence in Omaha for the last four years.

The greater Omaha area has been a frequent stopping ground for Josh Rohs, group vice president at CSM.

“What I see continually is there’s a lot of work going on in downtown Omaha and I see a lot of construction opportunities in the Omaha area, which has a lot of Fortune 500 companies,” Rohs said. “Between Omaha and Lincoln, there are lots of opportunities for construction, and we’re three hours from Kansas City and six hours from St. Louis.”

The new space in the “unique” Mastercraft building in downtown Omaha will feature six workstations and a conference area, he said.

The company declined to name its clients in Nebraska, however the region has the headquarters of ConAgra Foods as well as regional centers for Tyson Foods and several other food processors.

“We have already identified other opportunities in that market and see opportunities to get other clients in the Omaha area,” Rohs said. “Our new offices will be centrally located so this allows us from a regional standpoint to have a greater reach in the Midwest.”

CSM’s new offices are a great fit for the company because of the location and size, McDonald said.

The company’s focus is on four main construction markets: education, health care, commercial and food and beverage. CSM manages construction projects for companies with a staff of 75 employees. The Omaha location will be CSM’s first outside of Michigan, where it has offices in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.

In Michigan, the firm has worked with Kellogg Co. and Bell’s Brewery Inc. as well as beverage distributor Fabiano Brothers Inc. in Bay City, according to its website. The company got its start in West Michigan as a construction management firm for health care projects for Bronson Healthcare Group in Kalamazoo.

McDonald said the overall construction market has been slow to rebound and growth will continue to be slow in general. Despite this trend, he said he is confident that CSM’s presence in Omaha will pay off because of the way the firm gets involved in construction projects.

“They’ll bring us in to be the managers of the construction process,” Rohs said of the firm’s clients. “We make sure the project stays on budget and schedule. We are the conduit between the construction team and the plant. Good communication and planning allows them to continue to run their business during the construction.”

This is what sets CSM apart from other similar companies, McDonald said.

“We bring a new approach and new style to construction,” he said. “We do not self-perform any work. We work with the owner and architect as a team, and we have multiple bid packages with several different contractors so we get the best price from multiple contractors when we bid the job out.”

As MiBiz previously reported, the construction management firm sought out certifications including Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Sanitary Design, and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to help manage risks for food and beverage sector clients. Executives said at the time that they initially targeted the food and beverage sector as a way to translate the firm’s expertise in the complex realm of health care into more opportunities.

While the company has embraced technology, McDonald said he thinks there’s still a great deal of value in face-to-face relationships in the construction industry.

“We have to provide the right people with the right skills set because they’ll be working on projects with tight schedules,” McDonald said. “We have to take into consideration how our construction processes will affect food safety and keep their people and their products safe while we execute large construction projects. That personal touch makes us different.”

Read 4706 times Last modified on Friday, 22 November 2013 14:04

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