New Path Construction and Consulting has taken some, well, new paths since Construction in Focus profiled this innovative firm in April 2021. From launching a low-voltage division to spinning off a cutting-edge design business, work has continued apace at this Hanover Park, Illinois-based company. Most significantly, New Path has received some major industry recognition, placing 39th on the Inc. magazine list of the Fastest-Growing U.S. Companies in the Midwest, 2022.
“We’ve had tremendous growth and the team has done a great job—the staff, the leadership team, everybody’s just kind of cranking away,” but inclusion on the Inc. list was still a pleasant surprise, admits New Path Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Adam Garcia.
Since our previous profile, staff levels have increased from twenty people to roughly twenty-eight, and work is pouring in. Inc. pegged the company’s growth rate at over 250 percent. For all that, some things remain the same. The company still offers start-to-finish construction services, including general contracting, real estate advisory, and construction management. Some heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), demolition, and carpentry work are still self-performed, while other services like architectural, mechanical, plumbing, and earthwork excavation, are subcontracted. New Path continues to emphasize the use of advanced digital tools for scheduling, data-gathering, and reporting.
On top of this, the company ethos has not changed. New Path still takes something of a maverick approach, with a unique value proposition for clients. Garcia, who founded the company in May 2016 with his wife Alexa, has a degree from what is now the Driehaus College of Business at DePaul University in Chicago and a background in Wall Street banking, not construction. It is a similar story for many of the company’s top officials.
“I still believe very strongly that we’re just a different construction company. I don’t know any [other construction] company that has a leadership team with a Wall Street background. In today’s market, with [concerns about] interest rates and accessibility of capital, our background is highly beneficial because we can help clients with some of their capital issues, capital needs. I think that differentiator is a big deal,” says Garcia.
From a branch near Phoenix, Arizona, New Path can perform services “as far north and south as the U.S. border allows,” he continues.
The Arizona office handles the Southwestern region while Hanover Park takes care of the Midwest. At present, the company does not do much work on the East Coast but is happy to entertain plans to expand. It primarily serves the industrial, medical, food / hospitality, gas / service station, retail, and office markets.
“We really are a boutique group. We’re going to be bigger than most of the small guys and smaller than most of the big guys. Since New Path has gained notoriety, people come to us because of our reputation as dealmakers. People come to us because they want introductions. They know that we’re talking to a lot of the big corporate guys; we’re talking to a lot of the retailers, and a lot of the developers and capital groups. So, New Path has kind of become this intermediary for getting deals done. That’s a reputation that precedes us when we walk into a room,” says Garcia.
The company excels at close client support while remaining flexible. “If you come to New Path, you get as much or as little attention as you like. Some people say, ’I already have a set of plans. I know your reputation. I just want to build with you guys.’ Some people come in and say, ‘I don’t know where to start.’ We have the ability to do everything from start to finish,” says Vice President of Business Development, Justin Beyer.
New Path has worked on a wide range of projects from gas stations to medical centers, retail spaces, and offices. “We have more projects running together than we ever had. Last year, we ran more projects than we ever did. We’re growing responsibly. We’re not taking every project on, but the ones we do take on, our target is to really hit them out of the park,” Garcia states.
With an eye on new opportunities, the company launched a low-voltage division to serve commercial properties last year. New Path will design and install low voltage infrastructures such as fire alarms, cabling, fiber networking, televisions, or camera systems.
“Low-voltage is kind of one of those grey areas in the construction process. A lot of times, the owner will not have its GC [general contractor] do it,” notes Garcia.
So far, the low-voltage division has proven popular. “It’s doing really well. People like our offering. It’s been a cool addition,” he says, adding that New Path might eventually spin off this segment as “a separate entity.”
Interestingly, the low-voltage division was not the only start-up with which the company has been involved last year. In 2021, it also founded a firm called Metaverse Design + Studio (MVD Studio), which uses three-dimensional visualization software to depict construction projects.
Metaverse Design + Studio can offer a dramatic visual component to architectural plans with commercial and residential conceptual design packages that include three-dimensional modeling, PDF site plans and floor plans, and video animation. Clients can visit the MVD Studio office, put on an ocular virtual reality headset, and take a visual tour of what a building will look like once completed.
“I would say Metaverse is probably our biggest and most profound subset. While it’s not owned by New Path, it did come out of New Path headquarters. That business is an answer to a problem that’s existed in the market for years. It helps clients visualize what their project is going to look like,” states Garcia.
In another development, New Path has become a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Garcia is of Colombian descent and the MBE tag gives the firm some benefits in terms of networking, contacts, and contracts.
The advent of COVID caused some headaches which linger today. To ensure safety among staff, the company instituted hand-washing protocols, sanitation stations, and mask-wearing for in-field work. While construction was not shut down, some companies that manufacture construction equipment or provide supplies closed temporarily. New Path continues to deal with pandemic-related issues such as labor shortages and material pricing.
Concerns about general economic uncertainty abound as well. “Every single day, something changes. Gas prices go up. It’s important to understand economics. If gas goes up, what else happens? All the machines that lay concrete use diesel. So, if gas goes up, diesel goes up. That means the price of concrete goes up,” says Garcia. “When there are labor disputes and interest rate hikes, that impacts lease rates… When interest rates are up, people pay more to buy materials, which means they have to pass that on.”
Under such circumstances, “Our background as Wall Street and finance and business professionals really comes to play, because we’re coming up with strategies,” he says.
That said, as New Path grows, the firm is looking for more than Wall Street veterans and graduates of top-tier universities to add to its ranks. “If you’re coming in to be a project manager, you definitely have to have project management experience… but if you’re coming in to do marketing for us or entry-level construction, attitude is the biggest thing. We want people who want to make a living but also want to make an impact. That’s what we focus recruiting around. We want someone who is passionate about what they do,” Garcia explains.
He retains a highly optimistic outlook. The plan is to grow in a controlled fashion without abandoning the company’s roots while keeping a close watch on new business prospects. For the next five years, New Path will emphasize, “continued growth, finding the right clients and right partners in business, and opening up in other cities as well. Within that five-year period, we could also have an investment branch,” he says.
“We’re always looking for opportunities, whether that means buying into a subcontracting company or buying another construction company. We have a pretty heavy appetite for expansion and growth, and that will be our next focus for the next five years.”