by Carol Duhart
For more than 84 years, PROCON has delivered hundreds of projects in nearly every commercial sector across the Northeast. From Maine to New Jersey, there are aviation, industrial, manufacturing, mixed-use developments, corporate office, educational buildings, and hotels standing as a testament to their success. More so, in an industry where architects, engineers, and construction management are typically separate, this company has managed to hone them as a single productive entity under one roof. This begs the question — what type of people are behind the buildings?
To understand PROCON’s ecosystem, you have to start with the company’s CEO, Mark Stebbins. At the helm for over 37 years, Mark’s effervescent personality is infectious. It is not unusual to hear laughter in the hallways as he calls out greetings to employees (whom he knows by name), along with a witty comment. His apparent regard for relationships, a strong work ethic, and sense of fun, trickle down into PROCON’s economy. What follows is a leadership team of approachable executives spurring on a melting pot of industry experts, who are ready to craft buildings with a vested interest.
First, according to a 2018 survey by Robert Half, job hopping is on the rise in today’s workplace and it hovers at about 33% in the A/E/C industry. But somehow, this design-build firm has managed to keep its turnover at an incredible 6% with an average employee tenure of 10 to 15 years. So how do they achieve this?
Great buildings follow great culture
The firm’s culture is intentional. It is styled to promote camaraderie while celebrating projects and the people who design and build them. Much of their in-house motivators revolve around strategic perks and unique benefits tailored to fit the PROCON environment. In an era where 401K-matching, bonuses, and consistent pay raises are often old relics, PROCON believes that employee appreciation still gets top billing, monetarily and otherwise.
The company backs this up with input from the marketing, human resources, and recruiting team. As the in-house planning committee, they collaborate and discuss ideas that enhance the employee experience through shared activities that bring the company together: PROCON Perks. On the monetary side, there are surprise extra paychecks and companywide annual bonuses. But on the fun side, there are plenty of large and small events designed for collective engagement.
Imagine arriving at work to discover a personalized thank-you card on your desk with a keepsake expressing appreciation from your leadership team? Or, how about feasting on gourmet melt-in-your-mouth cupcakes for Valentine’s Day? And, what about new project announcement pizza parties?
But some events are random. One example of this was 2017’s Solar Eclipse Day. The leadership thought it would be fun to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime event together. Thus, on a warm August afternoon, the office (and field teams), equipped with NASA-approved viewing glasses, and bagfuls of space-inspired candy, gathered to watch the eclipse unfold.
Larger get-togethers include the annual celebration and the corporate meeting. But smaller events are scattered throughout the year, such as catered barbecues for national holidays, or the Officer’s Labor Day Breakfast where the executive team makes and serves breakfast to all the employees.
Additional perks include the anniversary wheel (which employees spin for prizes), Summer Fridays, numerous health and wellness initiatives, and more. Then there are family fun days that include the spouse and/or the entire family (including grandchildren). Recent trips have included Canobie Lake Park and Charmingfare Farm.
And, the firm does not forget its hard-working field teams, good-naturedly known as “Supermen in the Field.” They have enjoyed trips to Fenway Park featuring a meet n’ greet with a retired Red Sox player, time on the field, and lunch. Gillette Stadium welcomed PROCON’s field team with their names on the Jumbotron, a motivational speech by a former New England Patriots’ player, a behind-the-scenes tour, and lunch.
Work hard and give back
PROCON’s other compelling attribute is its commitment to giving back in the local community. It is an ethos four generations deep, passed down from Mark Stebbins’ grandfather to the present day. For more than 60 years, the company has supported organizations to include United Way, Easterseals, the YMCA, Waypoint, and the Boys and Girls Club, to name a few. Altogether, millions of dollars have been raised via the Stebbins Family and Corporate-match donations, worksite campaigns, SleepOuts, holiday shopping, and payroll deductions.
Among the company’s industry accolades is perhaps its most revealing one to date — the Business NH Magazine’s “Best Companies to Work For” award where PROCON’s employee’s anonymously voted on their culture. If two consecutive wins are not a sufficient indicator of their in-house values, then let a 95% repeat business tell the rest of the story. The truth is, happy employees pay dividends in the form of strong relationships with clients, partners, subcontractors, and finally, in over-the-top customer service.
Carol Duhart is the creative writer for PROCON Inc.