How RUSH Construction is Covering More Land, Sea and Sky
(February 2020) – What happens when relationships are matched with opportunities? According to RUSH Construction President and CEO William Chivers, that would be growth.
In more than 35 years of service, RUSH has steadily built both a sturdy company and a staunch reputation. With sizeable contracts awarded and completed, RUSH has served the government, aerospace, medical and education sectors to become one of Central Florida’s most sought-after construction companies. Championed by the company’s business and industry partners with a direct response to their needs, RUSH saw an opportunity to expand its service line with the creation of RUSH Marine LLC and RUSH Facilities LLC.
“This expansion grew out of relationships matched with opportunities,” Chivers said. He named two industry professionals RUSH had worked with on previous projects and decided to tap for its expansion plans. “Our team actually started talking to them at about the same time.”
“This expansion grew out of relationships matched with opportunities.”
— William Chivers
“I asked him, ‘Ever thought of starting a marine division?’” Tony Landry, president of RUSH Marine, recalled about one of his first conversations with Chivers before he joined the team. It was 2017, and Landry was the operations manager for a large marine construction company with decades of experience. When his then-employer began to make organizational changes, Landry made changes of his own. A few months and several conversations later,
Landry accepted the position to spearhead the RUSH Marine division, a specialized firm for marine construction, diving, shoreline restoration, deep-water structure construction and more.
In its first year, RUSH Marine secured $42 million in projects. A big part of that number came from the much-anticipated Cruise Terminal 3 at Cape Canaveral, which will be home to Carnival Cruise Line’s largest and most innovative ship. Other projects included a $2.5 million shoreline restoration in Jacksonville, a boat launch repair in St. Augustine, and seawall installation at Cape Canaveral Hospital.
With bids submitted throughout the state and even some beyond Florida’s borders, Landry is always on the lookout for new opportunities. “We’re well suited to work in fresh water and saltwater, inland, and even on land,” he said. “From shoreline restoration to bridges to bulkheads to marinas, we have the team and the tools to do it.”
The year 2017 didn’t just see the beginning of one new division. That same year, another expansion was well underway: the creation of RUSH Facilities.
“When we finish building a project, we would love to continue serving that client and maintaining what we’ve built for them,” Chivers said. “It felt like a natural part of that ‘cradle to grave’ service commitment we strive to provide.”
When Chivers’ team was working on a project to provide construction and maintenance of Space Florida’s launch and landing facility, Bob Dillow came to mind. Previously the director of facilities for Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Dillow had worked with RUSH on several key projects. He recalled the company’s impressive reputation, values, ethics and commitment to quality work. The retired U.S. Navy commander promptly accepted the offer to lead the RUSH Facilities division.
The division’s inaugural project, the launch and landing facility, included maintaining the runway, runway lighting and support buildings. The firm has also taken on contracts at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) with Boeing, Delaware North and the Astronauts Hall of Fame, as well as health care facilities previously built by RUSH Construction, including the Dr. Ditz Medical Office Building in Brevard County.
Having a facilities division has proved to be a valuable asset for RUSH. In the early phases of one project set to break ground in 2020, Chivers described why. “Bob Dillow is at the table with the client in the pre-construction conversations, so when construction is completed his team can take over the maintenance of the facility. Having him there early on is a big help, because he knows what’s going into the project and can make recommendations while it’s still in design.”
Dillow agreed. “I can look at a project and say, ‘You don’t want to build it that way because long term that’s going to cost a client more to maintain and operate years down the line.’”
Maintaining Core Values
Chivers remembers one moment very clearly that summarizes his feelings about the quick but steady growth of RUSH: “For years and years, we would have our Christmas party at the same venue. That venue’s maximum capacity was 70 people,” he said. “We have now had to move to a new venue, one that holds 120 people. As everyone gathered in the main room, my wife and I were in the lobby greeting guests. Suddenly, I turned and looked into that room. That’s when it really hit me. When I saw all three divisions at one time in one place, I looked at my wife and said, ‘How did this happen?’ It was an ‘Aha!’ moment.”
A common question that surfaced with the company’s growth: How would the company maintain the qualities that sustained RUSH’s growth over the past 35 years and enabled it to expand?
“We have a very set culture that we have developed over the years,” Chivers said. “We had to
make sure our core values were not just at a management level, but were drilled down as far as they could go throughout the organization. If our newer employees see us doing the right thing, living up to our core values, it speaks louder than anything we could ever tell them.”
All three leaders agree that actions speak louder than words. “We don’t hold ourselves to a different standard from everyone else on the team,” Landry said. “Even though all three teams are made up of very different people and teams, the end result is consistent because we all try to lead by example.”
Being an employee-owned company means many members of each team are even more dedicated to upholding the standard set over the last 35 years. “I often tell clients, ‘You may not know it, but chances are the people working on your site are both employees and owners,’” Chivers said.
On the Horizon
In just two years, with the support of RUSH Construction, RUSH Marine and RUSH Facilities have set the bar high for years to come, but there’s no limit to the projects they hope to work on in the future. From Orlando to the Space Coast, Jacksonville to Tampa, and even into Georgia, RUSH continues to explore opportunities to build things that matter.
“It’s about making it possible for other people to do their jobs,” Dillow said. “Whether that’s building safe structures to educate our children, helping critical parts arrive to launch rockets, moving travelers in and out of a busy seaport, or providing quality healthcare services, we get to make sure other people can be successful. That’s kind of neat.”