Enterprise Minnesota Magazine - February 2012
HELPING MANUFACTURERS GROW PROFITABLY
Honeywell and Mortenson team up in China
Minnesota-based Mortenson gives Honeywell a hand as it plans and constructs two new buildings.
Honeywell has been operating in China for years, and it’s built up a significant presence that includes 3.5 million square feet at 66 locations across the country. As the company’s business continues to grow rapidly in the Asia Pacific region, Honeywell employees in China were struggling to keep up with the design, project management, and oversight of each project.
Sometimes help can come from unusual places—or just down the road. Golden Valley–based Mortenson Construction recently started serving as a vital partner for Honeywell, which has its Automation and Control Solutions division in Golden Valley. Mortenson is taking on the construction management of building two
Honeywell facilities in China.
“We have an Asia Pacific real estate team and they have core responsibilities around real estate transaction management and project management,” notes Jessup Bordson, director of global facility operations for Honeywell. “But with the volume we have occurring in the region, we needed additional resources and capacity to support design, project estimation, and project management oversight.”
At a networking event last summer, Bordson met a Mortenson employee, and the pair decided the companies should meet and get to know each other better. Bordson knew he discovered a valuable resource when he learned that Mortenson has operated a China office since 2004. Located in Shanghai, Mortenson China helps American companies with predevelopment work like site evaluation, design management and permitting, project management, and construction management on buildings such as manufacturing plants, corporate headquarters, and sports and entertainment facilities.
A major part of Mortenson’s role is ensuring that Chinese contractors construct the buildings according to the design specifications and U.S. quality standards, as well as adhering to the budget and schedule, explains Mike Koalska, business development executive for Mortenson China. A national company with offices in seven U.S. cities as well as Shanghai and Toronto, Mortenson started offering its services to American clients in China to help them strategically grow in China and select international markets.
“We wanted to find ways to continue to add value to our U.S. clients,” says Koalska. “What better way to strengthen our relationship, knowing that China is a growing market. We thought it was a strategic initiative to offer more value to our U.S. clients.”
Mortenson’s Shanghai office is headed by Shuke Miao, a Chinese national who is vice president of Mortenson China. It is staffed by Chinese nationals who have spent time working with Mortenson in the States as well as employees from Mortenson’s US offices. Miao has worked for Mortenson for 17 years, including spending years in the company’s Los Angeles office.
“The challenge many U. S. companies face in building in China is with the translation of construction expectations and in project delivery. There are differences in the way buildings are designed and built in China compared to the U. S., and our role is to translate, manage, and deliver consistency in the construction experience,” says Koalska. “Regardless of project size or requirement, our job is to bridge the gap and make sure we maintain the customer’s standard for the completed project.”
Honeywell’s buildings are Mortenson’s first projects in China for a Minnesota company, but it has completed similar work for Disney, sports and entertainment giant AEG, and Covance, a New Jersey–based pharmaceutical company, among others. Koalska believes Mortenson is the only construction company in Minnesota and the Midwest offering its planning and project management services to clients working in China.
Since July, Mortenson has assisted Honeywell with project management for a new building in Shanghai and similar work for a renovation and expansion in Xi’an. “Our real estate director is very happy and pleased with the overall quality of the services Mortenson is providing,” says Bordson. “It’s met what he needs within the region to augment his team.”
To learn more about Mortenson’s work in China, visit www.mortenson.com
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