Did you miss the Former Advisor Host, Brian Powers? This is your lucky episode! Today, Brian returns with a massive update on his new role. For those who don’t know Brian, he’s the Former Vice President of Business Development Marketing at JGS, CPA, and the Founder of The Advisor Podcast. Join in the conversation as Brian talks with Michael Garofalo from the other side of the mic about his work with Mid Hudson Construction Management. You’ll hear juicy details about the economic progress Brian sees coming to the Hudson Valley. Additional topics include environmental concerns during construction, current commercial projects, and building material shortages. If any of that interests you, you’d want to tune in to this episode. Enjoy!
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Former Advisor Host Returns With An Update With Brian Powers
We welcome Brian Powers to the show. Brian, how are you?
I’m good, Michael. How are you? It’s good to be here.
He started this show for the whole first season. Now, we’ve got you on the other side of the mic here. You were with Mid Hudson Construction Management.
I was lucky enough. The partners there at JGS were behind me in starting a podcast. They were behind me with everything marketing that we did. It was fun to get it started. We started the podcast right before the pandemic and with the hopes of possibly doing interviews in person, but that didn’t happen, unfortunately. We took it to Zoom and we’re able to do recording the way we are now.
I got a lot of interesting people and molded the topic around, “How are you helping? How do you see the pandemic affecting you? What are you doing to helping others with it?” It worked out well. It’s ironic that I’m now at best. When it’s all good, you’re doing a great job. I miss everybody at JGS, but this was a good opportunity to take advantage of here at Mid Hudson with like-minded and good people. We’re doing well over here and growing rapidly.
We wish you well in your new role. We hope to have a good relationship with your company as well. We’re both Chamber members. Who knows we would need each other’s services? The cool thing about the show is when we first started this, there was the idea that, “Is it just going to be accounting?” A lot of that information is going to go over on a lot of people’s heads if you don’t have a formal education in that topic.
The way we’ve tried to mold it is more economic development in the Hudson Valley in general and lots of different kinds of guests from different businesses. You had Frank Castella on from the Chamber during COVID to talk about everything. I had the Johnson sisters of Servpro from the Orange County side talk about everything they did during COVID. That has shaped it as well, but even coming out of this, we’ve got a lot of different things to talk about.
We wanted to educate people on the accounting tax side of things, but we also wanted to bring the business feeds to it. Also, to be a conduit for businesspeople to talk about what they were doing and how they are advancing their business. People like Frank in the Chamber, how they were helping businesses and keeping themselves going. We move out of COVID or in a different phase, if you want to call it that, and still have taught business. Those topics are good opportunities. You know me doing that from a podcasting standpoint in the Hudson Valley. That was an opportunity there. It’s growing and it’s great.
Can you give us an overview of MHCM and then the services you provide?
I’m in a similar role as VP of Marketing and Business Development. Handling the marketing and the outward-facing brand for Mid Hudson is one of my roles. Also turning that into new business and bringing new business into the company. Mid Hudson started many years ago. We’re based out of Poughkeepsie but do work throughout the Hudson Valley and headed South into Westchester and as far north as Albany.
We’re a high-quality and innovative construction company. We built our reputation through the successful execution of challenging projects. We handle from pre-construction all the way through to leading the project. It’s planning and organizing. We’re looking and seeing those operations through seamlessly and safely. It’s where we bring our expertise and are able to help the client and see their project through to fruition.
Ray and Scott Travis are brothers. They’re both products of the Hudson Valley called Hyde Park Home. They are third-generation in the construction industry, but they are first-generation in this business. They came onboard many years ago and brought the business to where it is now. Talking about their experience, the two of them have 50-plus years of experience.
Service-wise, we are where you would take it as a full-service company. Pre-construction, the goal there is to help someone that has that vision but wants to take it to the next level. I’ll put the team in place and analyze and establish what needs they have. Going on to general contracting, that’s what most people think of when you see a construction company. We’re a full-service general contractor. We’re delivering on our promises, schedules and budgets.
When you think of construction companies, that’s what you’ve got. On the construction management portion of it, we’re there and we’re managing a project. Whether we’re the GC or not, we’re looking to guide that project through from the start. Those are the services that we offer clients, from inception all the way through to see that idea come up.The vacancy rate in Dutchess County is below 1%. Click To Tweet
When I looked online, I saw some examples. One was the old Arlington Firehouse that’s being renovated and turned into something pretty interesting there. Maybe you can elaborate on that. I’ve also seen where you guys have done from the foundation up. You can do both types of projects.
They are interesting projects that we’ve done over the last couple of years. We’re finishing on a project that you’ve mentioned right on the town of Poughkeepsie city border. The old Arlington Firehouse is the original firehouse for the Arlington Fire Department and Fire District. It’s where their first engine sat. We renovated that. At the time when we bought it, it was an automotive repair shop. We renovated it. From that, we turned the up-level, which was the meeting rooms in the fire department. We turned them into loft spaces into one bedroom with a loft above it. We do a great job there on the rental side. We filled those.
Having a commercial space on the first level, which is essentially right now a vanilla box, we’re looking for that great tenant to put into that spot and set it up for them. Whether it is a deli bagel shop or office space, it has the options because it sits right there. If you’re familiar with the area in that Arlington Town Center, which the town of Poughkeepsie has allowed pretty much any business, minus a few rarities, from owning perspective to be in that area.
It’s a great spot. No question. That’s a good example. That’s right in one unit where you’ve got commercial and residential. Can you expand a little bit upon that duality and also the different kinds of industries that you would service?
That has got a great opportunity. If you’re familiar with the area, it sits right next to Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street in the town of Poughkeepsie and offers the rental units above. It’s filled up very quickly as the vacancy rate in Dutchess County is below 1%, but then to have that commercial space on the first level, we’re working hard to find good tenants.
With that being said, we operate mainly in a commercial space. We buy this higher-end residential project here and there. Multifamily residential is hot, so multi-unit projects. There’s one going on here also in the town of Poughkeepsie, the Fulton Landing Project, right by Marist College. That’s four stories, a multi-unit that we’re working on. Right across the river in Highland, another project that we’re finishing right there behind the Dollar General off at 9W, which are tall buildings. It’s multi-units as well which are filling up.
Multifamily is extremely hot in the Hudson Valley. We’re proud to say that we’re working on two of the larger projects that are going on. We have another one that is yet to get off the ground. We’ve done some site work where we’re waiting on final approvals. That’s out in Lagrangeville right next to the Little League Fields. That’s going to be 24 units at market-rate housing.
Essentially, we ran into some environmental hurdles that we had to take into effect. We had the Blanding’s turtle that was recognized as inhabiting that property as they have on multiple properties throughout Dutchess County. We’ve got some environmental hurdles that we have to take into account and protect the environment. We’re doing our part, even as far as hiring a consultant to be our “turtle monitor” to make sure that we’re compliant with all of the environmental regulations that we need to have to work on that project. Hopefully, with approvals, we’re looking to have that wrapped up sometime in 2022, and do our part to help with the low vacancy rate here in the county as more people come into the Hudson Valley.
What’s that like bringing in an outside consultant? That has got to be a standard procedure in the industry, especially in this area, to have someone come in and take a look. What’s that procedure like?
It’s recognizing the fact that we need them on-site. It’s something that’s maybe outside of our purview and that we want to do everything by the letter of the law and protect the environment. Being able to have those professionals at hand and be able to have them on-site so that we know we’re doing everything correctly is a plus. Also, the surrounding residents, making them feel comfortable that we are doing everything in protecting the environment while also developing the land into a project that will better the neighborhood and the surrounding area.
You were talking about the low vacancy rate here in the area. It’s a little bit below 1%. Probably, we’ve seen a lot from the pandemic, at least office-based industries realizing that they can do a work-from-home model or a hybrid model effectively. For some people, whether they have young children or aging parents at home or another circumstance that makes remote work attractive to them, even if it’s several times a week or whatever that might be, a lot of people are moving up to the Hudson Valley from the city and are needing places to live. Can you talk a little bit about the economic situation and how that’s playing in your favor?
Not just in the county, but throughout the Hudson Valley, we’ve seen such residential markets through COVID spiked tremendously. You see people realizing they want to get out of the city through the pandemic. A lot of people said, “My second home in Hudson Valley is not going to become my primary residence. I’m going to sell my city residence.” Maybe they’re not even coming from outside the area. They’re looking to downsize their current home and realize that they can get a lot for a single-family residential home in the Hudson Valley. They’re going to say, “I’m going to sell, but I’m going to go rent and stay here because, whether it’s a job, family, or both, you keep them in the area.”
That is adding to the spike and boom that we see. As we’ve come up on the twentieth anniversary, it’s a little different than what we thought as we saw with the exodus from the city after 9/11, but then people started to migrate back. You’re going to see less of a migration back to New York City and more exodus as the next couple of months and years pass by. That’s my personal opinion. People will realize that they can have everything here.
The difference from many years ago is the fact that people can work remotely with the IT infrastructures here. They don’t need to get on the train or in their car every day five days a week to go into New York City or go to the office. Even if it’s local, they can still get what they need to be done at home while working and providing for, whether it’s elderly, family or younger kids. It should be interesting to see how it plays out as we come out of the pandemic. Whether they stay or go, in my opinion, you’ll see more people start to come into the suburban area from the city.You can have everything here in the Hudson Valley. Click To Tweet
You’ve got an interesting perspective. You were with JGS for about nine years and interacted with clients from a lot of different industries. In your current role, you’re going to be doing the same, interacting with a lot of different business owners from different kinds of businesses. Aside from that, your involvement with economic development and different organizations in the Hudson Valley. Restaurants were hit hard during the pandemic. A lot of businesses were hit hard. Who are you seeing make a good comeback?
From the Hudson Valley being so food-centric, the fact that farm owners call this area home, we’re lucky to be surrounded by so many farms. You’ll see the restaurants have already started to make a real comeback. From the resources that are here locally, that is one of the higher tourist attractions for our area. The breweries, cideries, and then also the restaurants, you’ll see them make a comeback. We fall into a couple of different niches like we did as JGS does as well. Education projects, working for private and public schools are booming. There are a lot of incentive dollars coming down from the heads of state that are driving these projects and pushing them through.
The other piece in the commercial sense is the medical side. The medical industry is not going away. It’s evolving and growing. You’ll see more renovations. In the area, Vassar Brothers finished their large project of the new hospital, but you’ll see a lot of smaller practices that started to do renovations and fit-ups in their own buildings. Also, urgent care started to pop up as well more and more. In those two sectors, we see a lot of growth in there as well. There are a lot of potentials not only in the private market but also in the public market moving forward.
We were talking before we started the show about the selection of building materials for these projects. You were talking about the prefabricated metal buildings and sometimes being a good choice. Flory’s was one example. Flory’s is down in Fishkill. Can you talk a little bit about what the market is looking like for those different materials and when they make sense to implement one over the other?
It’s an interesting time when it comes to material. We’ve seen some spikes in wood being hard to get, pricing the demand and raising the pricing. One thing that makes us unique is that we’re a Ceco Building Systems dealer. Ceco provides pre-engineered metal buildings. When you think of warehouses, those whole barn-looking type buildings, it’s very efficient and quicker to put up if you’re going ground up with them. We usually use them for warehouse storage manufacturing, but they also can be used in unique ways.
You referenced Flory’s, which is a gas station and convenience store down in Fishkill. We work with them to build their current location and that is a pre-engineered metal building. At the current state, it isn’t the fastest or most efficient way to do things because of the delay in materials, but in a “normal situation,” that would be a better option at times for materials and time budget to utilize for retail possibly, office space, a church, different schools, and government buildings. We’ve seen them used in multiple different ways. The gas station convenience store is a perfect example.
Also, don’t get me wrong. People are building them now for storage and warehouse as well based on their ease of availability and then the fact that they’re budget-friendly. It’s a good option. I hope that you can come out of this kind of availability lag and keep it an option. It’s temporary. Something that makes us unique, we’re one of the few builders in the area that provide it, ease of access to it, get it to your site and erect it. It’s a quicker time frame for someone than building with wood ground up.
From a material standpoint, I see commodities are going down and fluctuate a little bit, but we see pricing has come down since that spike. We try and strive hard to look at historical data to be able to provide our clients with the best estimates possible. Also, to take into account the time frame they want their building or project completed.
If someone is reading right now, maybe they’re thinking about setting up a meeting to sit down with you and talk about a project or a plan they have for a future project, what’s the best way to get in touch?
Email is probably the best, BPowers@MidHudsonCM.com. Check out our website and get to see some examples of work with highlights and stuff. Scott and Ray are the owners. That’s at MidHudsonCM.com. We’re an options company in the Hudson Valley. The company was built on integrity, quality of the product, and respect for everyone involved, from clients down to subcontractors and everybody that’s part of our team. If you’re looking to renovate or build any type of commercial project at Hudson Valley, we’re an option.
Thanks for coming on, Brian.
Thanks for having me.
This has been Brian Powers, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development with Mid Hudson Construction Management. Check them out online for some more information. Thank you.
About Brian Powers
Dedicated and resourceful senior marketing/business development professional with extensive experience leveraging creative, innovative, enthusiastic and forward-thinking leadership in a team environment; strongly focused on achieving continuous, improved business performance; Adept at conducting research and assessing client needs with proven record of contributing innovative solutions and motivating others while exercising results-oriented and client-focused work ethic; Leverage market research, industry analysis, and customer insights to anticipate and counter competitive actions, direct overall business and strategic market planning, build consumer loyalty, and position brands for market share leadership; Expert communicator passionate about delivering exceptional customer service and conceptualizing campaigns that effectively reinforce and build brand image.
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