By Mike Blach
This past Saturday I was honored to join about 450 Silicon Valley CEOs at a special dinner with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. Prime Minister Modi was visiting Silicon Valley to promote economic ties between our countries as well as his Digital India initiative. It was fascinating to be in the same room and not only hear from the Prime Minister, but also from CEOs of Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco and Qualcomm.
At first blush, I was probably the only non-technology company CEO in the ballroom, but as I thought more about it, it occurred to me that Blach Construction really has more in common with many of the technology companies that were there than with traditional contractors.
As I listened to the distinguished speakers, one theme emerged – to survive and flourish as a business in the future, you will have to be a “technology” company, an organization that innovates and disrupts the status quo.
I’m often asked what makes our company different, and what has made us successful for the past 45 years. Of course, our people are our primary reason for our success, but perhaps a deeper answer is that our people love to innovate and be creative, and they’re able to do so in an environment that encourages them to never accept the status quo.
This entrepreneurial spirit truly makes our company different, and gives me great optimism that our company will grow and flourish for many years in the future. Innovation is one of our core values, and it manifests itself in lots of small ways and some macro-trends every day and every year.
It’s this spirit of innovation and willingness to disrupt that led us to build one of Silicon Valley’s first sub-micron clean rooms when no one thought it was really possible back in the early ‘80s. It was using time and motion studies with time-lapse photography on a large scale project in the mid-‘80s when no one ever did such a thing. It was joining and leading the sustainable design and construction movement in the late ‘90s when no one ever heard of ‘green building.’ It was using new and innovative project delivery methods in the public sector in the late ‘90s and 2000s to finally give public owners high-quality projects completed on-time, on-budget and without claims. It’s our tremendous investment years ago to build a cutting-edge virtual design and construction team that leads the industry. It’s our ability to prefabricate major components of projects in our own shop (something no other major GC can do in the Bay Area).
I could list many more innovations but you get the picture. At the end of the day, Blach Construction really is a customer-service, technology company that happens to do construction. It’s this legacy that gives us confidence that our company will remain relevant for decades to come when many others will fade. My thanks go to my colleagues who embrace this spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and change!