Discussions by Domain: Building Trust

Jun 28, 2019

“The trust of your client is certainly the most important thing at the end of the day.”

Christie Mullen works in the Business Development sector for Structure Tone, the top construction management firm in New Jersey, and one of the largest construction firms in the nation. Christie has worked in real estate for about eight years in different capacities. She started off working for a developer, moved into brokerage, and then moved from there into her current role. While Structure Tone may be a global brand, they strive to maintain the family, local feel with their culture. The culture and reputation of Structure Tone is what attracted Christie to work on their team. 

What’s currently going on at Structure Tone?

Christie: “We do a myriad of things. The other thing to mention right now is Structure Tone is in acquisition mode. Over the past two years, we’ve bought three companies. Prior to that, we had acquired a few others. We do everything now from ground-up to government work, medical, healthcare, all that fun stuff. It’s not just your corporate interiors, but we kind of run the gamut, industrial, kind of anything you can think of.”

What is Structure Tone’s reputation? 

Christie “Structure Tone, like you said, has a great reputation. I’m familiar with the company before I started working there. I actually had the pleasure of, via a job, kind of working in congruence with my direct boss now, and we grew a relationship from there, which led me to hop on over.”

Christie: “Structure Tone is fortunate enough to have a great reputation. It didn’t come easily. We had two guys start the company. One guy literally came over from Ireland with pennies in his pocket, was working for a subcontractor and grew the company to continue to where it is today. I would like to think that we have earned that reputation. We’re definitely known in the marketplace to be somebody that’s reliable, somebody that you can depend on, which is a good reputation to have for sure.”

Christie: “Of course, there’s other things that come along with that. People question costs and everything like that, but we hear it time in and time out that, if you want something done, you know that you call Structure Tone. We’ve been able to use that to our advantage in both building a repertoire with our consultants like architects. Sometimes we don’t even have to bid for jobs, which is nice because they’ll just say, ‘Here’s the job. We know how it needs to work. Call Structure Tone.'”

How does that reputation add value for clients?

Christie: “The trust of your client is certainly the most important thing at the end of the day because if you don’t have trust from the very beginning, nothing is going to go your way because there’s just going to be finger-pointing, and that’s never going to work out.”

Christie: “Bringing it back to where we can add value, if there’s a job that there’s questions about or potentially something you’re just thinking about, a potential move you’re thinking about, we do a ton of budgeting up front. Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Should we move here? Should we not move here?’ We can certainly look at what you have in place and do a cost estimate for you, completely complementary, no expectations coming back. It’s just a way for us to offer value, not only to our existing clients, but to potential new clients before they ever really make any hard decisions.”

What changes are coming to the industry that businesses should be aware of?

Christie: “For the past couple years, we’ve had something called New Jersey Grow in place. It’s an EDA (Economic Development Authority) incentive program. It was meant to both retain and attract new jobs, create new jobs within the state. There are a ton of companies who took advantage of this. M&M Mars is actually one of them. We’re building their headquarters in Newark right now. Had it not been for that potential incentive offer, they were certainly considering moving to Chicago. That’s a ton of jobs, like 2,000 jobs, I think, that were potentially going to be leaving the state.”

Christie: “However, we’ve had a shift, obviously, in political leadership within the state. Now that program is due to expire in June, and the new governor has kind of really dove into what the program previously was and decided that perhaps it wasn’t creating as many jobs as he wanted to. It was more focused on the retaining of jobs, and so he’s going to be proffering a new program, which I believe is going to be called NJ Forward, to the state.”

Christie: “What we’re seeing right now, because it’s kind of up in the air, people don’t really know if that money’s going to be available and everything like that, we have seen a very big slow-down in signed leases over the past couple months which, of course, if no one’s moving or getting new office space, they don’t necessarily need to renovate or build. We’ve obviously seen a little bit of a holding patterns as well. I don’t think there were any major leases signed in the state of New Jersey in May.”

To learn more about Christie, connect with her here on LinkedIn.

 Listen to Christie’s full Discussions by Domain podcast episode on Monday, July 1st.