Q&A on the Economy with Kevin Bean
What are your thoughts on the economic recovery?
The recovery is not coming as fast as everyone would like it to come. However, we are seeing some very encouraging signs and we believe that momentum is building for integrated EPC firms. Companies with solid balance sheets have been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for an opportunity to leverage their market position. The number of companies looking at building new facilities and expansions is steadily increasing. We are engaged with a number of firms that are early in their capital process and are evaluating potential sites.
Are there certain industries that are investing more than others?
We've seen an increase in activity across all sectors. Manufacturing, chemical, automotive and aviation have had an increase in activity. Companies that manufacture products for the energy industry are focused on adding or expanding facilities in the Southeast. Suppliers of components for the solar and wind industries have been very active. Advanced material and battery manufacturers have also been looking at investing capital. We have seen more traditional long time manufacturers jumping in as opposed to smaller start-up companies.
O'Neal is very involved in Economic Development, describe your mission?
Economic development has long been part of our efforts here at O'Neal. We've have individuals that focus exclusively on working with companies considering building new facilities or expanding their existing operations. We work closely with site selection firms, consultants, and economic development officials. Ultimately, we want to help our clients through the process of building or expanding their operations, and we strive to make that process a easy as possible. As a company, we believe we have a role in contributing to the economic prosperity in the communities in which we operate. We can be a tremendous help to the economic development process by leveraging our process and manufacturing expertise. It has been our experience that owners need help in identifying their total investment including manufacturing and process systems, not just the site and building component. O'Neal has a proven process for helping prospects arrive at the total "all-in" cost being considered quickly and very cost effectively. This helps the client make informed decisions and ultimately keeps the economic development process moving along. Often times with our help communities are able to identify additional incentives and benefits that help the project move forward.
O'Neal has a long history with several major clients. To what do you attribute that success?
We are very fortunate to have numerous long standing clients. There are several large corporations that we work with all over the country. We've been able to develop a level of trust with them by consistently delivering quality projects over the years. Our staff has an average tenure of 21 years with O'Neal, as such there is a significant amount of knowledge, experience and expertise that we can bring to every project.
How is O'Neal embracing sustainability and renewable energy?
Sustainability has become a hot topic in recent years. O'Neal has long provided our clients with ideas and insight on how they can operate their facilities more efficiently. We have completed a number of projects for clients who are looking to reduce their energy consumption and water usage. More recently, we've completed projects for clients who are seeking to utilize renewable energy sources such as solar and biomass. In addition, we've help a number of companies that have pursued Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) certification for their existing building and new facilities. In fact, we have an ever increasing number of LEED accredited design and construction professionals.