Ready for a Challenge

J. Calnan & Associates

J. Calnan & Associates, Inc. (JC&A) is ready for a challenge. The Boston-area company specializes in challenging preconstruction and construction projects throughout New England, New York, and New Jersey.

The team focuses its work on the academic, corporate, healthcare and science & technology markets.

As an industry leader, JC&A is known for its high quality work and high profile clients. The team works closely with a number of blue chip firms such as Boston Properties, Biogen IDEC, Children’s Hospital, PTC Inc, Reebok, Red Hat, Shire Pharmaceuticals, The Park School, New England Sports Network (NESN), Philips, Constant Contact, The MathWorks and General Electric.

JC&A’s projects are as varied as the company’s client list. The team recently finished another notable project. This one was located in Andover, MA for Schneider Electric, a major player in the international energy management sector. The work involved the construction of a 77,288 S.F. addition (with related sitework) to the existing 158,655 KSF building in order to create a new Research and Development center. JC&A worked collaboratively with Perkins + Will architectural firm and RDK Engineers on the tenant improvement package totaling 235,943 S.F. to both the existing building and the new addition. The sizable project required eight hundred pieces of steel weighing over 315 tons.

The project was quite complicated and involved a number of challenging components for the team to juggle. For starters, the LEED certified project included a chilled beam mechanical system. “This is a climate where you don’t see a lot of chilled beams,” JC&A President Jim Cahill points out. “There just aren’t a lot of them that have been put into commercial buildings in the northeast.”

Communication was also a challenge. “Schneider Electric took several different business locations that were scattered throughout southern New England and combined them into the new Boston One Campus location,” Mr. Cahill says. “Various business units are now set in a way to increase collaboration and expand on their services via this new shared R&D lab resource.

“Some of the business units answer back to the States and in some cases, the business units answered back to France. This created a unique challenge trying to get everyone on the same page throughout the process.” This situation was intensified by the fact that new technology was being utilized throughout the building. “We were essentially serving six different masters for the same client, while putting in equipment that was so cutting edge that in some cases installation procedures did not exist. Trouble shooting was a bit of a challenge.” Fortunately JC&A thrives on challenges, so the project was right up their alley.

JC&A’s Bay Colony project highlighted the team’s talent as well as their close relationship with Boston Properties. The job involved what is considered to be one of Boston’s suburbs’ premier office parks, located adjacent to the Cambridge Reservoir in Waltham, MA. JC&A partnered with Boston Properties and its tenants to successfully complete over 15 tenant improvement projects throughout the property. Based on this success, JC&A was recently awarded even more work in the office park, which will cover the common corridors, restrooms, café, atrium slab in-fills, elevator upgrades, glass enclosed elevator shafts inside the atria, and high end finishes throughout.

JC&A, in partnership with Studio Troika and WSP Flack + Kurtz, has also recently completed multiple projects in New York and Massachusetts for Xand, one of the largest privately held data center service firms in the Northeastern United States. These projects varied in size and complexity ranging from a $9 million, 12,000 SF data center with new 2,500 amp service, to a $3.5 million, 2,500 S.F. new chiller building addition with centrifugal chillers, to an $800,000 office fit-out.

JC&A’s efforts go beyond its high profile projects – the team also works hard to give back to the community. The company founded the non-profit Team IMPACT (please see sidebar for further details) and supports multiple charitable groups, non-profit organizations and institutions through its philanthropic committee, JCares. Specific partners include On the Rise, Heading Home, Boston Ballet’s Share the Magic, the Jimmy Fund, IRSF, Back on My Feet and more.

JC&A employees are also actively involved in helping to make the community a better place by working together on numerous charitable projects. Recent examples include building a new bakery for the St. Coletta and Cardinal Cushing School of Massachusetts, converting a basement into a handicapped accessible living area for a child injured in a hockey accident, and working with Make-A-Wish foundation to create a pirate themed tree house for a sick child. Employees also regularly take part in local fundraising walks and drives to support the local community.

The team’s efforts have not gone unnoticed; JC&A has received a Boston Business Journal Citizenship award for its philanthropic efforts seven years in a row and CoreNet has recognized the company as “Regional Service Provider of the Year.”

JC&A’s caring company culture is also evident inside its offices. “Our people genuinely like each other and enjoy the friendly atmosphere,” says Maureen Rystrom, Director of Marketing for JC&A. “We are a competitive bunch and do a lot to keep up the morale. We’ve done everything from hot dog eating contests, to softball games, to corn hole tournaments.”

JC&A also stands out for having an entrepreneurial, flexible workforce. “Our core management group is extremely talented, but young compared to our competitors,” says Mr. Cahill. “Most of our senior management is in their mid-thirties to forties.” This vigorous outlook helps the team stay relevant in the marketplace and leads to a more dynamic company culture, he adds. “I think it is pretty noticeable.”

Having such an entrepreneurial team also means that the company is open to new ideas. JC&A never does things “just because,” but always welcomes a fresh, innovative approach. “We have a very entrepreneurial spirit here that you can feel when you walk through the halls,” says Ms. Rystrom, and new ideas are always encouraged and shared. “We ask people to come forward and suggest what they think may work better,” Mr.Cahill explains. In fact, the company is structured to encourage idea sharing and feedback. “It is a very flat organization,” Ms. Rystrom points out. “Everybody’s door is always open. Nobody is afraid to speak up and say ‘here is a different way to do this’; people are open to suggestions.”

The innovative team also embraces the latest technology. For instance, switching to digital communications in order to limit paper use is a priority. “We have run $15 million projects using only iPads,” Mr. Cahill reports.

Armed with a roster of A-list clients, a portfolio of high profile projects, and a philanthropic company culture, JC&A has earned its place as a leading northeastern construction management firm since it was founded less than two decades ago. Moreover, the agile and energetic team is eager to continue making waves throughout the region. While steady growth is certainly in the future, the team will also be careful to ensure that quality always comes first – no matter what. “We will continue to grow as long as we have the capacity and can continue to do quality work on quality projects with quality clients,” Mr. Cahill summarizes.

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