Elizabeth Norris Baines has been with Baines Group since 2008. “I came in with the initial plan to help run the company. I started in an administrative role and eventually just filled the role from gaining all that experience,” Norris Baines says. “The role I play, I changed the entire business model. [It] was [property] development and I added a new business unit within our business model.”
She takes an active role in identifying opportunities for the company, following not only local work, but taking a broader view about how projects originate. "I researched where the stimulus money was going… I focused on transportation, hospitals, and education. As a result, we obtained more work from leveraging our experience and preparation with opportunity." Norris Baines believes the MPP enhanced the work that the company does. “The experience is the first thing. Beyond that, it has also given me an appreciation for the men and women in this industry. It has brought me to focus more on safety issues, so we can be sure to bring our staff and hired workers home safe to their families every day,” she says.
Norris Baines' take-away from the company's participation in the MPP: “The number-one lessons are that checks and balances on a weekly basis as well as monitoring your metrics closely are essential to maintaining the business overall."
Kaiser Permanente has made a longer commitment to building capacity,” Baines asserts.
Small companies face a number of structural obstacles when bidding for projects the size of the OMCR. The capacity required to supply necessary building materials often outstrips what a local business can deliver. Michael Baines, one of the principals at Baines Group, began his career by spearheading the successful IPO of a medical device. Later, he entered real estate development, and, eventually, general contracting through contacts made working with public agencies.
When Kaiser Permanente hired MBC as the General Contractor for the OMCR, Baines mode certain that the concerns of the local construction community were heard. Over the course of doing business in Oakland for 20 years, Baines was able to identify issues that prevented small contractors from sharing in the economic boom of a project like OMCR with Kaiser Permanente executives, Michael Lane and Bernard Tyson. Chief among these: bringing local contractors under MBC's Owner Control Insurance Program (OCIP) to eliminate any issues small local businesses might encounter with their bonding capacities; introducing a biweekly payment, or "quick pay", program to prevent cash-flow issues small businesses often face; and analyzing the various work scopes to break out smaller packages on the OMCR that would allow local firms to create meaningful, successful bids.
"Kaiser Permanente has made a longer commitment to building capacity," Baines asserts. This is the crucial difference in creating a strong local construction community, one that will be able to meet future needs in the area, employ locals, and keep prosperity in Oakland.