Posted at 12:19 PM
With the 2014 National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference fast approaching, we wanted to take the time and spotlight a past conference honoree to give an insight into the current state and outlook of a two-time MED Week award winning firm.
Metcon, Inc. is a general contracting and construction management firm headquartered in Pembroke, NC with offices in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Columbia, SC. Metcon is certified by the North Carolina Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses as an American Indian-owned general construction business. Founded in 1999, Metcon received the National Minority Construction Firm of the Year award in 2011 and 2013. Below is our interview with Aaron Thomas, the president of Metcon Inc.
Chang: Congratulations on 15 years in business! What are some of the values that have allowed Metcon to grow rapidly into the successful business it is today?
Thomas: Our core values are on-time delivery, diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, client satisfaction, quality, safety, and innovation. We have continued to live by these principles throughout our growth and hired individuals that also believe and operate in this fashion.
Chang: Speaking of success, Metcon has received a number of awards in the last few years including awards at MBDA’s MED Week. How has this recognition furthered Metcon’s brand image?
Thomas: Our recognition by MBDA as national minority construction firm of the year has been a huge thing for us. It has enhanced our image and created dialogue for future opportunities.
Chang: What kinds of opportunities exist for minority businesses in your home state, and how does Metcon fit into this environment as a Native American-owned firm?
Thomas: We are certified as a Historically Underutilized Business with the State of North Carolina and have historically done a tremendous amount of K-12 and Higher Education projects for the state. In the last couple of years, we have diversified our portfolio more and are doing a great deal of work with corporate America in the Carolinas.
Chang: In order to grow to where Metcon is today, what sort of obstacles did the company have to overcome?
Thomas: We have worked constantly to do a good job for our clients, make a fair profit, and conserve that income to increase our working capital which increases our surety credit. That is one of the biggest obstacles for a small business as it grows.
Chang: Metcon has worked with the Raleigh MBDA Business Center in the past. How has the relationship with this Business Center helped with Metcon’s growth?
Thomas: The business center has been a business partner for Metcon helping with business development, training, as well as connecting us with other minority firms.
Chang: Talk about the leadership of this firm. How have they contributed to improving the stakes of local Native American groups?
Thomas: Diversity and inclusion is one of Metcon’s core values. We believe in hiring and subcontracting with diverse groups especially in our Native American community. We contribute in this way as well as with scholarships and donations to many Native Charitable Organizations and to UNC-Pembroke, the nation’s first 4 year university founded by Native Americans (Lumbee) where I serve on several boards.
Chang: What is the outlook for Metcon in the next five years? What is Metcon hoping to accomplish?
Thomas: As a part of our strategic plan Metcon now has four operating locations across the Carolinas. Over the next five years we plan to grow our new profit centers in these markets which should put us over the $100 million mark within the next two years.
Chang: What are some words of advice that you would offer to this year’s group of MED Week winners and to minority-owned businesses across the country?
Thomas: Congratulations on your accomplishment! Continue to grow your organizations not just in size, but to be the best companies you can be in your respective fields. We all must continue to get better at what we do not just as minority owned firms but in comparison to the best in class companies in your field.
This year’s National MED Week Award winners will be recognized August 1st, during a special luncheon at the 2014 National MED Week Conference. For more information on the 2014 MED Week Conference, please visit http://medweek.mbda.gov/