Sustainability is another key company focus. The team strives to find solutions that benefit both the environment and a client’s bottom line. “We take a common sense approach,” Mr. Nixon explains. “Being green and sustainable can also be cost effective. We look at doing things that are going to benefit the client and [give them] a return on their investment.” To this end, the company has three LEED accredited professionals on staff to ensure that sustainability metrics are fully and successfully met.
No matter what the project, the team makes it a point to stick to the company values. “We are a “Golden Rule company,” Mr. Powell says. “Do unto others is a thing that we adhere to.” This includes maintaining open, honest communication with everyone with whom they do business. “We are straight forward. We deal [with people] in an old fashioned kind of way, of honor and integrity.“ The team’s commitment to the Golden Rule is also reflected in activities that go beyond their own place of business. “We certainly believe in being contributors in the community,” Mr. Powell remarks. “We are very much involved in overall business development in our communities.”
A. R. Chesson Construction’s adaptability will help the company continue to advance. Adaptability has long been a necessity due to the rural nature of the company’s home base. “We live in northeastern North Carolina so we have to be available and able to work just about any type job, no matter how small or how large,” Mr. Powell points out. “There is not enough work in our geographical proximity, so we work throughout Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; we have to be mobile. We adapt to available work opportunities if we are competitive and productive.” This attitude became particularly crucial during the most recent recession. “When the economy tanked in 2009 and 2010, job opportunities were not available and we had to go where the work was.”
The team also expanded their scope of work during the lean times, developing a niche specialty retrofitting roofs. “As the economy got tight, people weren’t building new warehouses or [other] large facilities,” Mr. Nixon recalls. “They were deciding to repair and retrofit their existing facilities.” This line of work continues to look promising. “We think that we have a pretty good future in roof retrofits. There is a lot of aging infrastructure.”
The team continues to operate successfully throughout a three state region while also maintaining a strong local business. “We certainly get our share of the market that is here,” Mr. Powell says. In addition to numerous corporate clients, the federal government continues to be a promising and rewarding client. “Within a hundred miles in several directions, there is quite a bit of military work available,” says Mr. Powell.
The team is optimistic although they do not foresee the industry returning to prerecession boom levels. “I think we are not going to go back to the glory days of construction any time soon,” Mr. Powell predicts. “But I think we are well positioned to move forward.” He points out that the company was not only able to maintain its business during the recession but to actually add a new division. “We have been able to venture into pre-engineered systems, and we are looking at a healthy future.”
This promising future continues to build on a strong foundation planted over three decades ago. “When Al Chesson started the company 35 years ago, he hired talented employees. We continue to develop a great staff of people who are innovative and self-motivating,” Mr. Powell points out. “We continue to capitalize on that standard.”