Gillam Group Inc.

Building relationships from the ground up
Written by: 
Tom Faunce
Produced by: 
James Logan

After years of experience in the construction industry with his family business, Marcus Gillam and his partner Joel Parke ventured out on their own and started Gillam Group. Founded in 2011, Gillam Group is a construction management and general contracting firm located in Toronto, Ontario. “Most of our work is done through a construction management approach,” says Gillam, president of Gillam Group. “We work with our client team as a value-adding partner to help meet the budget and other challenges such as schedule and maintaining continuity to their business.”

Gillam began his career in the construction industry as a laborer for his father’s company when he was just 16 years old. “My father had a passion for the industry and I definitely absorbed some of that,” says Gillam. Gillam worked summers as a teenager. Through passion and hard work he moved his way up the ranks into estimating and eventually, operations.

Gillam has not only years of experience in the industry, but has also had the opportunity to work overseas. Working on construction projects in Europe for seven years, Gillam says the opportunity to view the methods used in different cultures is beneficial when running your own company. “Ultimately you have to know how to work with different people,” Gillam explains. “The art of management is universal and it’s so important to know how to deal with and get along with people.”

Gillam Group Inc.

A growing portfolio

Gillam Group is currently renovating a Sheraton Hotel in downtown Toronto. With 1,377 rooms in the facility, the challenge for Gillam Group is complete the project while the Sheraton remains nearly 100 percent occupied throughout the entire year. “In order to allow the hotel to continue its operation, we take on six floors at a time. When we complete one floor, we take on another one. So we work our way floor by floor through the building with six floors under construction at any time,” Gillam says. A full renovation of an occupied hotel presents many issues to be managed such as client comfort, noise, vibration and dust. Gillam Group specializes in managing these issues. “That project is going very well.”

In 2014 Gillam Group performed a 60,000 square-foot interior renovation for Deluxe, a post production company. The project included the expansion of three floors of an occupied office building in Toronto. The project consisted of the construction of several theaters within an existing office space. “With the theaters being in the same building as an office space there had to be a huge attention to detail in terms of acoustics,” says Gillam. “It was very challenging architecturally, mechanically and electrically. We had to install major equipment on the roof of the building and do the whole construction during business hours.”

“We like to take on projects that present unique challenges,” Gillam explains. “We work with a variety of clients such as Honda manufacturing and Honda suppliers.” Gillam Group is also delivering the new Lassonde School of Engineering at York University in Toronto. “It’s probably the most interesting building architecturally at the University.”

In the near future, Gillam Group expects to see substantial growth for the company. Upcoming projects include building an addition for the Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. The addition is called the Transformation Project and will house the science, technology, engineering and math department at the educational facility.

As a construction management firm, Gillam Group works with numerous subcontractors. The great relationships established have been a major factor in the success of the company. “We rely on the performance of our subcontractors to not only meet our obligations but to also do great work,” says Gillam. “A majority of the time it’s not just a transaction but also the result of the longstanding relationships we have.”

A strong start

When Gillam started in 2011, the company was entering an industry that was experiencing the repercussions of an economic downturn. “It has definitely been a challenge,” says Gillam. “When you start a new business it takes a long time to connect with the right people. Now that we’re four years in we are fortunate to have a portfolio of successful projects. We have to work hard to demonstrate that we are a serious player in the industry and we do that by performing great work and keeping our word.”

When Gillam goes to work every day he looks forward to working with his employees and witnessing projects take full form. “It’s very satisfying to see the work happen and to be complimented by clients.” Gillam says. “We’re doing what we set out to achieve. Seeing our company grow is secondary to our main goal. It just happens when your primary focus is delivering great work.”

As Gillam Group continues to perform great work, the company will continue to grow as a contracting and construction management firm in Toronto.

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