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May 12, 2016

Survey: Rush Companies

Photo from Rush Companies [enlarge]
Rush is building Simon’s Mill, an 11-building apartment complex in Edgewood.

Specialty: Healthcare, multifamily, mixed-use, assisted-living, design-build

Management: Devin Page, vice president, construction

Founded: 1987

Headquarters: Gig Harbor

2015 revenue: $45 million

Projected 2016 revenue:

$85 million

Projects: The Keelson in Ballard; Origin in Lake City; Simon’s Mill in Edgewood

The Rush Cos. offers just about every real estate service imaginable and works on a variety of projects throughout the region. Devin Page, Rush’s vice president of construction, sat down with the DJC to talk about trends, technology and sustainability, as well as his views on the market.

Q: What is your outlook for Tacoma and nearby cities where you work?

A: Rush’s current workload and backlog is distributed evenly across King, Pierce and Thurston counties. We anticipate Tacoma will maintain modest growth in the multifamily, mixed-use and healthcare markets. As land prices in King County keep climbing, more of our clients are looking at secondary markets like Tacoma to make projects pencil.

Q: How has new technology changed what you do?

A: The greatest gains have been seen in communication amongst the entire project delivery team, both internally and externally. We are nearly 100 percent paperless; everything from subcontracts to invoices to drawings and specifications is transmitted, signed and communicated electronically, from cradle to grave. This allows our employees to be more efficient and mobile.

Q: What sustainability measures does Rush emphasize?

A: The greatest sustainability measures in the markets we build in are in the reduction of waste and installation of sustainable materials. For instance, panelizing wood framing on our multifamily projects reduces wood waste by approximately 90 percent. Waste-reducing measures also have sustainable byproducts: less fuel required for delivery and removal of materials, and lower energy usage through efficient manufacturing. We prefabricate whenever possible.

Q: How is your “from the ground up” philosophy working?

A: Rush Commercial is unique in that we build for Rush Development, and also for many outside clients on a GC/CM basis. We also have an in-house architectural and civil design company. This provides our construction management staff with a perspective that aligns more with the perspective of our clients, who are mostly developers themselves. Most of our growth has occurred through outside clients, which challenges us to align our processes and procedures in a fashion that suits their needs while also remaining nimble for in-house projects. We feel it’s a win-win for Rush and our clients.

Q: What is the most challenging issue in the industry?

A: The most challenging issue is a lack of qualified workers, in both trade labor and construction management positions. Neither of these rewarding fields are marketed enough to young people today, and as a result we have a shortage of students studying construction management and craft labor. We’d like to see construction management programs expanded at local universities, and more education to young people about the advantages of a career in the trades.

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