Building the Recovery
Kevin Scott, president of BHC, at the INX International Ink construction site in September 2014
Photo by Brian Ambs
Bunnell Hill Construction is leveraging its position within The Schueler Group of Companies, one of the largest landowners and property managers in Southwest Ohio, to provide customers a single point-of-contact for all construction, development, brokerage and financing needs. In doing so, it’s helping the country get back on its feet again.
Just south of Lebanon, Ohio, about two minutes from I-71 sits INX International, a leading global producer of printing inks and the third largest producer of inks in North America. Just five months ago, when LEAD Cincinnati went to the site to interview Kevin Scott, president of Bunnell Hill Construction, INX was an unrecognizable henge of struts and cinder. Mounds of caked dirt baking in the warm sun fringed wide trenches where masonry block and pipes were being laid. The sound of truck tires plodding slowly on a makeshift gravel driveway was unceasing.
By February 17, 2015, when INX began to move into the Lebanon facility, the building’s charcoal slabs were covered over, the site’s mounds of dirt had been supplanted by greenery and the gravel driveway was overlain in asphalt. Any trace that the facility was once a construction site had vanished. Now, the sleek, modern building seamlessly conceals the enormous expense of manpower it took to construct it.
General contractor Bunnell Hill Construction broke ground on the 63,000 square-foot Lebanon site in the middle of 2013. It sits on 11 acres of property in the Lebanon Commerce Center business park. At full employment, the facility will create nearly 40 jobs for the local economy. In the process of acquiring, developing and constructing the property, Bunnell Hill has created many more.
It's a perfect example of how interconnected this economy is. Different business sectors buttress each other, and the success of one sector has the power to multiply the success of another upon which the first relies.
Other examples of Bunnell Hill’s multiplying impact abound. The company, which constructs offices, storefronts and manufacturing plants, is on site with Deerfield Township Fire Station, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Tractor Supply, Fresh Sausage Specialists, ProLift, Four Paws Pet Care and Tomak Precision. Like INX’s facility, these sites will soon be home to steady streams of workers filtering in and out, signs of an economy stirring back to life after a prolonged contraction and a protracted recovery.
As 2015 slowly takes shape, Scott and his construction company are riding a wave of positive momentum.
“We are coming out of a four-year slide,” says Scott. "Internally we have a lot of people working very hard. The same is true of our subcontractors.”
Bunnell Hill’s sales grew 100 percent in 2014 from the year before and were the best in the previous five years. Scott attributes the prodigious year-on-year growth to the Great Recession, during which construction clients delayed facility investments until financing began to loosen up around 2013. Now, consumer confidence is increasing and vacancy rates are declining in Greater Cincinnati, an important index for economic vitality.
“Our goal is to keep this momentum going by building a quality product for our customers and adding key team members that best fit our company culture,” says Scott.
Founded in 1994, Bunnell Hill is one of five divisions within The Schueler Group of Companies, which owns 19 of the region’s most attractive business parks and is one of the largest landowners and property managers in Southwest Ohio. (The Schueler Group acquired and developed the property on which INX was constructed) Its totality of services, including construction, development, real estate brokerage, property management and residential real estate affords its subsidiaries, like Bunnell Hill, enviable positions in the industry.
“Much of our recent output is a result of relationships created with customers, governmental agencies and the subcontractor market in the interest of attracting jobs to the area,” says Scott. “Our president Mike Schueler has always told me we are in the job-creation business,” says Scott, who credits Bunnell Hill’s run of success to current and past employees who have made it what it is today. “Our team is proud of the reputation it has built, and we look forward to continuing to service our customers by creating their individual vision of a new facility safely, on schedule and at or below budget.”
Now armed with more than 20 years of experience in the construction business, Scott works on the leadership team of the Schueler Group to continue the company’s growth. "We treat each project as if it were for our own portfolio,” says Scott. From startups to Fortune 500 companies, Scott’s goal with every project is to ensure each client understands where their investment dollars are spent.
“Working with Kevin’s team has been a pleasure from the very beginning of our project,” says John Hrdlick, senior vice president and COO of INX. “The Bunnell Hill staff is a very cooperative team to work with. Things happen as promised and on-budget.”
Through adding several new construction projects to its work schedule, Bunnell Hill has been able to promote several employees internally and provide new jobs to others. The firm isn’t just building the recovery, it’s participating in it.
“We are excited with our growth opportunities and appreciate the trust our customers place in our team,” says Scott. “What has been most gratifying for me is to see the efforts of our team members pay off after the economic downturn.”
Although construction was among the industries hardest hit in that downturn, Bunnell Hill persevered. Now that the future looks brighter, Scott and his company are thriving, and the industry is evidently thriving with him.
Nowhere is this more evident than at Bunnell Hill's projects currently under construction around Greater Cincinnati. Much like INX looked several months ago, these sites are bustling construction sites, workers toiling around in the warming temperatures. As the broader economy gets back on track, these projects are signs of future jobs and prosperity. But on a smaller and more satisfying scale, they are evidence that among these mounds of dirt and gravel paths, there is some good work being done right now. And that too is part of the recovery.
For more information, call 800.589.7535 or visit www.schuelergroup.com.