Magest Group Limited
For nearly 30 years, the Martin family has been providing a wide range of construction services and innovative products in Ontario. Gary Martin first established Magest Inc. in 1987 as a general contracting company. The gradual addition of Magest Building Systems Limited (MBSL); Magest Metal Products Limited (MMPL) and Magest Modular Solutions Limited (MMSL) rounded out the family of companies, now known as Magest Group Limited.
All four companies operate from a single location in Stratford, Ontario, where Gary’s son, Brock Martin, oversees a growing team of professionals. Brock took over the family business after his father’s death in September 2014. “I’ve worked here just about my whole life,” Brock recounts. “I guess it’s been 15 years, really. I started in the shop as a teenager and then moved to site supervision. I went to school, came back and did engineering in the office. I was a sort of vice president to my dad and when he passed, I took over as president. I have a construction engineering technology degree, so I have more of a construction background. I’m learning the business side every day.”
Magest Inc. still serves as the contracting arm of the business and focuses on construction as well as installation of the group’s products. MBSL manufactures high-quality, cold-formed steel panelized wall systems. MMPL is a fabrication operation, providing a range of cold-form steel products. MMSL provides modular building components for a range of applications.
“When we started, we were primarily in the construction and general contracting industry,” Brock recounts. “We built Butler pre-engineered buildings, mostly for commercial and industrial applications. That gave us a strong construction background, which my father drew upon to develop his own building system with cold-formed steel panelized wall systems for midrise construction.”
“Over the last decade or so, we have morphed into manufacturing building products,” Brock continues. “Our construction background allows us to complete or assist in installation of our product where other competitors are just straight manufacturers.”
The Magest Group’s target market includes midrise construction projects, typically in the four- to eight-story range. “Our typical buildings are like a standard Hampton Inn you’d see around southern Ontario,” Brock elaborates. “We do all sorts of midrise buildings. Our projects include apartments, hospitality projects, retirement communities, assisted living facilities and others in that size range.”
With a staff of 50 in Stratford – 15 in the office and 35 in the shop – Magest Group has grown steadily and continues to take on new challenges. While the company’s primary geographic footprint spans across Ontario, the team has expanded to serve clients in the U.S. as well.
One of Brock’s more memorable projects has been a 300-unit hotel in Murphy, North Carolina. Working for the local Cherokee tribe, he and his colleagues constructed the facility as part of the new Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino. “We were working in the Appalachian Mountains there,” he elaborates. “It was a very remote project and in a beautiful setting. The seven-story, 300-unit hotel is separate but attached to the casino.”
“Our performance was good so we won another with same general contractor right after that,” he adds. “This one was two hours up the road in Asheville, North Carolina, at the Biltmore Estate. This is a large tourist attraction; it’s the largest privately owned single-family home in the U.S. and it was built back in the 1800s. The home is a historical museum now, but we built a new 190-room hotel on the property, known as Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate.”
Both of the North Carolina projects have become excellent showpieces for the company. The high-profile jobs demonstrate the strength of cold-formed steel and it’s wide range of applications. Geographic expansion has also been a major milestone for the company. Of course, The Magest Group still maintains a strong focus on the Ontario market and the team has a growing backlog both at home and across the border.
“We have quite a bit of work booked for the later half of this year,” says Brock. “We do a lot of moneymaker stuff, which is not super interesting, but it’s good and it keeps us growing. We are doing two seven-story student residence buildings in St. Catherines, Ontario. We are excited to be part of that team. It is another high-profile job – part of revitalizing downtown St. Catherines, so we are happy to be involved with that.”
With a number of distinct projects in the pipeline, The Magest Group is experiencing steady growth. Brock anticipates a 10 to 15 percent annual increase in revenue over the next few years. As the economy improves, The Magest Group Limited is taking on new challenges in an expanding market.