Paul Neidlein stepped into the role of Midwest region president for JE Dunn Construction on January 1. The 22-year veteran of the Kansas City construction industry succeeded Dirk Schafer, who retired from Kansas City's top construction company in December.
MetroWire Media caught up with Neidlein to take his pulse on the 2018 market and beyond:
MWM: What do you expect from the market in the next 18-24 months?
Neidlein: We feel good about 2018. In Kansas City, as well as in every market that we have an office, the arrow is pointed straight up. It will be a record year and 2019 will be as well. I'm not smart enough to predict after that.
MWM: Where does JE Dunn see the most short-term growth potential?
Neidlein: We feel bullish about federal work because we have done a fair amount of it, and JE Dunn has even started a separate federal group to manage those projects. Government facilities are a growth area for us. Part of that is strategic from a diversity standpoint because public work can help balance things out when the corporate side slows down. Anything and everything related to health care has been steady, including medical office.
MWM: Historically, public projects have been JE Dunn's bread and butter. Do you expect that to continue?
Neidlein: Public projects remain a leading area for us. We still think there is a fairly large program being planned in Missouri with construction of state prisons and county jails. Municipal work on civic centers and community centers still looks pretty positive for us too.
MWM: What do you see as a market headwind?
Neidlein: There is a healthy skepticism about how long this boom is going to last. We will see major players get into trouble and get overextended. It goes back to the capacity side of things. Creditworthiness becomes more important when you think everything is good.
MWM: What is the impact of all this activity on the trade contractors?
Neidlein: Contractor supply and workforce issues are real. The biggest issue is the capacity of individual companies and labor and what that does to pricing and availability.