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Summer 2009

www.canadianexecutivejournal.com

TRIGON CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT Clarity in Construction

THE MAGAZINE FOR CONSTRUCTION EXECUTIVES


Trigon Construction Management

Clarity in Construction Produced by Cathi Sachs & Written by Holly Alexander Trigon Construction Management is built on four fundamental approaches to business practices: relationships, transparency, communication and adaptability. “High end office renovations in downtown Toronto used to be a small business niche for us, but with the help of Vice President Paul Dobbin, Trigon has been able to expand its services and its clientele to include Marsh Canada, Vale Inco, George Weston Limited and other Fortune 500 companies,” said Vice President Jeff Van Haeren. “We have been working with some very talented designers to execute exceptional office renovations and outstanding retail stores.”

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Trigon’s goal is to be a company that operates on integrity, helping clients do things more economically and efficiently without compromise of service. Jeff notes “We believe that helping our clients becoming stronger companies, even if that sometimes means we cut costs and realize less income from a particular project, we feel is better for both parties in the long run. We can work within any budget, and won’t sell you something you don’t need.” This caring and altruistic approach to business has played a vital role in Trigon’s high rate of repeat business and referrals. Not one to steal the limelight, Jeff is quick to credit Trigon’s staff for the firm’s success. Employees such as Dobbin, with more than 25 years experience in interior renovation, who helped open the


firm’s Toronto office in April, 2007, stands out and has helped grow sales by 200 percent year after year. Trigon is currently headquartered in Woodstock, Ontario. Trigon currently employs 33 people, increased from 12 in 2005, primarily made up of site supervisors and project managers. The company has in-house staff for information technology, purchasing, health and safety and other functions, and also offers work to summer interns and co-op students. While the company occasionally posts job opportunities on monster.com or workopolis. com, the vast majority of employees come from ongoing applications and word-of-mouth recommendations.

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Trigon has built an outstanding network of subcontractors to ensure quality on all jobs.

the general public very seriously. We are continually being trained and re-trained on the current laws and construction safety procedures by the industry’s best and most knowledgeable safety consulting firms.

Trigon’s IT staff recently introduced Sage Timberline Office Software that is designed to work optimally for companies of Trigon’s size. It is an all-in-one software that marries estimating, project management and accounting functions seamlessly. Timberline has helped to automate several aspects of the business such as email notification if a contractor’s insurance certificate is near expiry or a trade submits invoices above their tenders that will require approval.

Trigon is also sensitive to issues such as construction noise and the need for restricted hours of operation during construction that affect its clients’ business and ability to function fully throughout remodeling and additions. Trigon has an ironclad commitment “that every project will open when promised,” said Jeff Van Haeren. “And our team doesn’t sleep until it’s done. The best part is that it works! We take pride in continual ‘value engineering’ and employees who are on call 24/7 add to both our business success and promise of exceptional customer relations.”

The site supervisors have Blackberries and laptops that allow the IT system to make every working job site more adaptable to ever changing schedules and conditions while simultaneously providing quick and complete communications between both employees and clients. With software to allow site supervisors to receive and send faxes directly from their laptops and air cards for constant internet connection Trigon is able to create a complete independent office for its employees on site.

Trigon is equally committed to forecasting and planning with every client who wants those services, and even goes as far as assisting with strategic planning using background, size and growth patterns to help plan what facilities and amenities are required. Understanding the needs of each client, along with dedication to both quality management and speedy building has elevated Trigon Construction Management to the forefront of the construction sector. Fitness centers across Canada provide Trigon Construction with a very stable customer base and allow Trigon to stay recession proof in an economy where growth is uncommon. Research has shown most fitness centers have taken hits or downgrades in memberships in 2008 and 2009, so Trigon

“Good communication at all levels of a project is of paramount importance,” said Jeff, “we aim to anticipate issues, problem solve and maintain focus.” “We take the health and safety of our staff, subcontractors and

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and its oldest customer, GoodLife Fitness Clubs, are bucking the odds. One reason both have prospered against the current trends may be the synergy between the business partners that keeps GoodLife members consistently coming back. Here’s a quick rundown on GoodLife’s 160 clubs across Canada. The company’s pledge is to provide quality service and care in a world-class environment. GoodLife achieves this goal by offering the best in equipment and more equipment per member than any other club, plus a variety of cutting edge group exercise classes in a “clean, friendly and professional environment.” The company that is helping GoodLife achieve this environment: Trigon Construction Management.

COMPANY AT A GLANCE President : Bill Van Haeren Vice President : Jeff Van Haeren Employees : 33

www.trigoncanada.ca

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Trigon’s owner Bill Van Haeren is a lifelong friend of David Patchell-Evans, or as he prefers to be called, “Patch,” the founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness Clubs, Canada’s most successful fitness entrepreneur. GoodLife was selected as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies every year from 2003 to the present and has won a Consumers’ Choice Award in Toronto and Ottawa each year since 2001.  Patch opened the first club in London, Ontario, in 1979. Thirty years later, GoodLife employs 8,000 associates and has approximately 500,000 members. Bill Van Haeren has worked with GoodLife since its founding, and in 1997 formed Trigon as a general contracting company that has taken on a wide variety of projects in Ontario and become the sole general contractor for GoodLife Clubs across the nation. Trigon is currently on track to complete 15 new clubs in 2009 and 2010. Bill and his son, Jeff, work continuously to diversify Trigon. Approximately 40 percent of Trigon’s business includes a wide range of projects above and beyond their work with GoodLife Fitness Clubs. A primary commitment from Trigon to its customers is an open line of communication.

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“We know our clients’ priorities, and their customer’s satisfaction is actually our ultimate priority,” said Jeff. “GoodLife is a great example. Trigon and GoodLife have worked together to determine that members want cleaner air in their clubs and as many green initiatives as possible and we work hard together to satisfy these wishes.” Trigon has developed very savvy business models in a number of areas. “In specialty purchasing and installing, for example, we will buy a couple hundred thousand square feet of specialty fitness flooring, and use the same installers to fly all over the country to make sure the flooring is installed correctly,” said Jeff. “We have introduced economies of scale throughout the business. Another example is building large numbers of lockers in advance at a centralized warehouse and then shipping

and personalized customer service, from site selection and environmental concern through to opening day. Trigon’s employee satisfaction program is truly unique and a fundamental reason behind Trigon’s high employee retention. From the CEO and executive team through all areas of the Trigon team, employees are regularly engaged in discussions about what the company can do to help them have the best work experience possible and optimal job satisfaction. Trigon then puts many of these suggestions into action. Trigon is very flexible and understanding of employees’ needs and truly believes that family is the greatest priority. This investment in employee happiness and work- life balance explains why the company continues to add employees to its core group of longstanding employees while maintaining a very low turnover rate. “Employees and customers alike support Trigon’s commitment to its community and the world at large,” said Jeff. In 1999, several staff members from Trigon teamed up with Friends of the Orphans Canada (FOTO CAN) and committed to help fundraise and contribute to building an orphanage in Guatemala. The facility, completed in 2006, houses approximately 350 children ranging from two months to 20 years old. Staff involvement included a number of trips to Guatemala. Almost as soon as the orphanage was completed, the company again committed to FOTO CAN for a project in Peru that began in 2007.

them nationwide, allowing us to turn around interior work faster than if five different contractors were building lockers on-site at five different projects,” Jeff explained. Trigon also has a turnkey audio and video group in-house, including their own installers, who complete the audio and visual requirements for GoodLife Fitness Clubs.

Trigon’s energy and synergy with both customers and employees, its commitment to quality and ability to help clients both envision and plan for the building they will need not only for tomorrow, but for the next five to 10 years, will keep the organization on a strong growth arc in any economy. The future growth opportunities for Trigon look to the great possibility of cross-border work in the Unites States capitalizing on the company’s expertise in the niche market of fitness center’s – with GoodLife Fitness Clubs as an example of their foundation for their industry knowledge.

Trigon also prioritizes what many other companies consider “soft” values including employee satisfaction

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Summer 2009

www.canadianexecutivejournal.com

Trigon Construction Management 35 Ridgeway Circle Woodstock, ON N4V 1C9 Canada


CAEJ_Trigon_high  

THE MAGAZINE FOR CONSTRUCTION EXECUTIVES C larity in C onstruCtion Summer 2009 www.canadianexecutivejournal.com

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