The NYREJ recently sat down with April Malloy for a question and answer session.
Q: Describe how you chose your profession and how you have succeeded in this industry?
A: I didn’t exactly choose this profession, it chose me. I began construction at 15 years old working in a school program in the summers. I got married very young, and shortly afterward, went off to college to study pre-med all in order to help my husband provide for our family.We started going through difficult marriage problems and our marriage ended in a tragic divorce. My son and I, who was only 10 months old at the time, were left homeless and we had to resort to sleeping in our car. All access to our family money was cut off and the checking account was closed. As a result, I was then forced to survive at all costs for me and my baby. We were fighting to stay alive. Drawing from the experience I gained in construction before my marriage, I started answering jobs online for construction. I started small and built my reputation with each new job. I taught myself how to read and started bidding for different jobs. Some of my first jobs were sitting on the floor for a studio wiring electric outlets and running a home line. My second job was a women’s bathroom in Connecticut. This woman’s floor had completely caved in. I showed up and not only stabilized the floor, but rebuilt her whole bathroom.
Q: What are your proudest accomplishments in the past couple years and what are you looking forward to in 2013, in a personal or business sense?
A: For the past eight years I have been building Red Lobsters, Long Horns, Quicker Steak, Jiffy Lubes, Family Dollars, pharmacies, banks, and Red Commercial Planters. I also do a lot of landscaping, re-building and renovations of burned down homes, and new construction of condos from high end to fair price. I am looking forward to building my business.
Q: How is the market doing, from your perspective?
A: From what I have seen, the market is changing in a positive way. In the last few weeks, our company has had over 200 requests to bid. We feel 2013 is going to be an incredible year.
Q: What sets you apart from other construction companies?
A: For starters, I am a 100% women owned construction business and a single mother. What sets me apart from other contractors is my eye for perfection and beauty. When it comes to millwork trim, crown molding or shoe molding of any type of trim, I make sure it’s cut to perfection, bonded to the wall, and the compressor is not too high but just right. I can frame a building out with a vestibule over 8,000 s/f, 18 ft. high in less than five days. My ability to recognize skill in my workers saves my clients and me time and money. I recently had one guy grab the mud for finishing sheet rock and he took the mud straight out of bucket and onto the walls. This immediately showed me that the man did not know what he is doing. A skilled guy would put clear soap and water and mix for at least 45 minutes until it’s perfectly fluffy.
Q: If you could use one word to describe your work environment, what would it be?
Q: Describe a typical day at your company?
A: In all phases of construction, I have the ability to see skill and at times show the workers the right way to do things. On a typical day, I hear men complaining “oh I am so tired” and I will, at times, out work the men to make sure the job is done on time. On all of my job sights we take it seriously. I am very passionate and love what I do.
Q: What are the ups and downs in your business?
A: I may be a woman in construction with lots of men making ignorant remarks but once I prove that I am just as good in this profession as they are, and at times out-perform them in my quality of work, they then realize I am truly gifted and skilled at what I do.
April Malloy is the owner of Construction First Class, New York, N.Y.