Employee teamwork and partnership with its suppliers and customers are among the key ingredients for Span Construction & Engineering’s phenomenal success. Since it was founded 17 years ago, the Madera, CA based company has experienced strong growth on the way to claiming its place as the top pre-engineered metal building contractor in the country.
During the past year, SPAN continued to strengthen its leadership position by claiming its seventh consecutive Top Metal Builder award from Metal Construction News. SPAN gained the most recent award by purchasing 17,792 tons of steel for pre-engineered buildings in 1996, an increase of 17% over the record level of 15,189 tons in 1995.
According to SPAN’s president, Firoz “King” Husein, P.E., the steel tonnage is gratifying, but not the most important issue. Rather, King and his staff prefer to emphasize quality and safety on each project, to ensure that SPAN delivers the best building possible to every client. As a result, the Span Quality Program and Span Safety Program are models for the entire industry.
King founded Span Construction & Engineering in 1980, shortly after having begun his career in the pre-engineered building industry. He earned a Bachelors Degree in his native country of India from the University of Bombay. King then moved to the United States for his Masters Degree at Brigham Young University in Utah, prior to starting his professional career.
By now, SPAN’s stunning achievements have taken on legendary proportions-culminating in an astounding milestone that was marked in 1996 when Span reached $100 million in steel purchases for preengineered metal building systems.
SPAN’s accomplishments, utilizing systems from VarcoPruden Buildings, have been chronicled in numerous past editions of Metal Construction News (August 1991, August 1992, May 1993, May 1994, May 1995, May 1996 and September 1996).
“Varco-Pruden is proud of Span Construction’s boundary breaking success,” said David Gilchrist, president of VarcoPruden Buildings. “Span’s continued success is obviously a reflection of the high standards and integrity set by their president, King Husein, for his employees. Their ability to translate those values into finished projects is represented by this achievement. We are also pleased to have, at least in part, contributed to that success.
“Varco-Pruden knows that just designing and fabricating superior building products is not enough. We must have outstanding builders, like Span Construction, not only erecting buildings and meeting end customer needs but challenging VP to get better and better by raising the bar of continuous improvement.”
Gilchrist continued, “We are committed to helping Span Construction, as well as our other authorized builders, continue their leadership roles within the metal building industry. Varco-Pruden believes that SPAN’s attention to quality, detail and innovation will assure its success far into the future. Varco-Pruden is honored to be associated with Span and this prestigious award.”
Understandably, SPAN’s story is already familiar to most readers of Metal Construction News. So, with that in mind, the following interview with King Husein focuses on the top metal builder’s construction activity during the past year:
MCN: Because the Top Metal Builder award is based on tonnage, we’d like to start by talking about the 17,792 tons of steel SPAN purchased in 1996. This figure is over three times as much as SPAN’s 5,495 tons that won our first contest in 1990. Numbers like these are mind-boggling to many people in the metal building industry. Are you also surprised by the incredible volume that Span has been able to handle, particularly when you consider that your company was founded just 17 years ago?
King Husein, P.E.: At times, I am surprised. At times, I am amazed. However, we do not focus on numbers. Our philosophy is always to take one sure step at a time and grow the business.
MCN: In past years, you’ve credited your employees for SPAN’s outstanding success. Please tell us just how important those people are in the ability of Span to continue to set these incredible sales volume records.
Husein: Since our company philosophy is based on teamwork, each member of our team is very important to the success of the company. The employees know that they are important because of the responsibilities and authority they have and the feedback they receive from management.
MCN: Even though your basic operating philosophies remain the same-such as emphasizing quality rather than trying to achieve high sales volume SPAN seems to be constantly changing things to improve service to its customers. A few of those changes might be “reactive”, but we’ve come to realize that most of the changes are part of your extensive planning. With this in mind, can you share some of Span’s future plans with us?
Husein: It requires a lot of effort to manage the details of all the projects and keep them on track. Fortunately, we have built a strong foundation with a core group of people. This core continues to enlarge as we grow. This year we are offering additional products and services to our clients by utilizing the United Dominion Industries (UDI) mosaic of products. These products include Serco dock equipment, Windsor rolling and overhead doors, Ceco mandoors and frames, Ceco window frames and AEPSpan architectural roof and wall panels. This enlarged product offering is further adding value to our clients who are looking for a single source responsibility for their building needs.