While STO has worked with clients across the globe nearly since the beginning, the company formally established a team to connect those managing national accounts so they could leverage each other’s knowledge, expertise, and experience in different locations. Robert Leon, Global Services executive vice president, and David McCormack, vice president, are two such leaders in the Global Services team. Here they explain how this approach benefits our clients and strengthens relationships.
How would you describe your client base?
RL: Our client base is fairly diverse. We work with finance firms, insurance, marketing, and PR—all national or global corporations who have a real estate footprint in various locations.
What kinds of projects are typical for your team?
DM: We do hundreds of projects a year, which vary from a light refresh, to adding a small office, to multiphased renovations or brand-new fit-outs.
RL: We tend to work on projects where our clients are shrinking or expanding their footprint or going into cities where they may have a small office or no office at all. They look to us to drive consistency and quality, making sure everything looks, feels, and operates the same way in each location.
How do you manage a project in cities where STO doesn’t have a presence?
RL: We have alliance partners and other third-party contractors in those locations. Our alliance partners are trained in our ethics and compliance programs, our safety practices, and our way of working so they can truly act on our behalf. We also assign a Global Services account executive and estimating and accounting teams to make sure everything goes smoothly.
DM: It’s the same whether we work with a third party or hand the job to a team within our own company—we are embedded
from start to finish. It maintains that consistency, and the learning curve is dramatically lessened.
How do you establish or build relationships with local partners?
RL: We choose our alliance partners very carefully to ensure a cultural fit. If we don’t already have partners in a particular city, we work through our network, talking to architects and owner’s reps we know to help us identify who to reach out to. Then we get to know them to determine if we have a similar client base. We host an annual summit and have monthly calls with our alliance partners to continue to share opportunities and information about best practices.
DM: We want to help our partners be the best they can be. Their success is our success, and our client’s. In doing so, that instills trust and a good relationship.
Does the size of a project affect how we approach it?
DM: People often assume our projects are cookie-cutter. But they really are not. They vary from building to building, in space size, in restrictions. It’s our job to understand those variables and get in front of them no matter the size or type of project. Every project is important.
How does that consistency benefit the client?
RL: First, it maintains the high quality and standard of excellence the client expects from us and provides a single point of contact across their portfolio. We don’t want the relationship between us and our clients to be diluted by working with a multitude of contractors all over the world. We also understand their program and apply lessons learned and portfolio data to their benefit. We use the word “benchmarking” a lot, not just as it applies to their program but how we benchmark against similar clients in similar locations.
What do you like most about being part of the Global Services team?
DM: I enjoy the teamwork between STO, our design partners, and our client. I also like that from the highest levels of our organization, they recognize that these clients are important, even though the projects are small.
RL: I like that I get to work with clients at a strategic level. I can think about how to bring innovation and operations excellence to an overall program and not just a one-off project. I especially value how I’ve been able to develop relationships that have spanned years. It’s very rewarding.