Firm goes from a standstill to the industry's fast track.
"My father always told me, "Don't go into it! It's a very hard business," says Mager, who took over as the third generation in his family to lead Perfect Building Maintenance in 2000.
Mager's experience in the business actually began much earlier. When he was 13, he earned spending money by shoveling snow in front of clients' buildings downtown at 2:00 AM.
"When I got older," he jokes, "they let me come inside and clean." Since then, Mager has done every job in the company, and learned the business from bottom to top.
Mager had a career as a real estate attorney before finally settling into the CEO's chair at Perfect Building Maintenance. From the moment he took over, he began transforming the company.
What was a $20-million company now earns nearly $100 million annually and employs 1,500 workers. He has added new major office buildings to his list of clients and led the company into new markets such as Philadelphia and now New Jersey.
He started a new retail division that today services more than 1,000 stores in 48 states for Ann Taylor, Polo Ralph Lauren, The Container Store, Club Monaco, Polo Ralph Lauren and Yves St. Laurent.
He has expanded into every significant building service: metal maintenance, engineering, stone and metal care, maintaining computing facilities, pest control and flu biological sanitizing service. And, Mager's emphasis environmental sustainability has made Perfect Building Maintenance a green enterprise in a traditionally dirty field.
Mager's top executives are an indispensable element of the company's rapid growth, especially President Larry Moshan and COO Colleen McDonald.
Moshan is a 40-year industry insider who has helped Mager sharpen Perfect Building Maintenance's standing in the industry.
"Our biggest competitive advantage is our affiliation with Shortpath," Moshan says. Shortpath is a building technology company whose software handles a wide range of tasks. At Time Warner Center it manages loading docks. At buildings like the Lever House, it routes and tracks tenant work orders and communications, visitors and packages.
"When we sit before potential clients," says Moshan. "We can promise them a web-based communications system that efficiently communicates with their tenants, managers and vendors--and it will cost them next to nothing."
McDonald has a privileged vantage point on how to please landlords because for 19 years of her career she herself was a landlord of major office buildings.
"When clients tell me they have a bank, new tenant, broker or prospective buyer walking through, I get it," McDonald says. "We provide an array of services according to their needs." She adds, "People used to come to Perfect Building Maintenance solely because of relationships, but real estate has become much more institutional. To grow today you have to stand on your merits, service and pricing."
"At Perfect Building Maintenance, we have made substantial improvements on every level," she says. Among those changes are changes in the supervision area, tightening inventory controls, increasing reporting requirements, and boosting the number of inspections we carry out.
McDonald's philosophy is to provide team members with the tools they need to succeed, and then hold them accountable for their divisions. In part, that has meant equipping every member of the Executive Team, all Account Executives, the Directors of Night and Day Operations and every Supervisor with Blackberry's for constant communication.
One of the most important elements of customer satisfaction is responding to emergencies such as fires and floods. Perfect Building Maintenance has 12 clients within two blocks of the World Trade Center. After the September 11 attacks, the company was the first in the disaster area to get its buildings up and running.
At the Colliers-managed MTA building at 2 Broadway, Perfect Building Maintenance again proved its merits in meeting a significant, though much happier, challenge. "We went from 400,000 square feet occupied to 1.6 million occupied," she says. "It was a smooth and seamless transition."
By any standard, Mager, Moshen and McDonald have pulled Perfect Building Maintenance from a standstill into a rapid growth track. They've turned a mop and bucket business into a technologically advanced organization ready for every challenge that can face a 21st century building. Clients have responded. "They are our sole service provider because they are the best in the business," says Kent Swig, President of Swig Equities, LLC.
"My father was right," Mager say. "It is a very hard business. But when the clients are happy, you know you're doing it right."
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|Publication:||Real Estate Weekly|
|Date:||Jun 14, 2006|
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