Performing Under Pressure
AAA Royal Construction relies on teamwork and innovation to overcome any obstacle
Always up for a challenge, the leadership at AAA Royal Construction never fears tackling a difficult project, working within strict time restraints, trying something new, or in rare instances handling an unfamiliar construction situation. “Because we enjoy more of a challenging job than an easier one, we can offer a wider range of services and solutions,” says Joe Boyd, President of AAA Royal Construction. The company, based in Weymouth, Massachusetts, works with commercial and residential clients in three main geographic service areas: New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Boyd’s father originally named the company AAA Royal Windows because it started in 1991 as a residential window replacement business. Boyd and his father had a close relationship. “Because of Dad’s example, construction has always been a significant part of my life,” Boyd says. “Mom and Dad were always a big help to me.”
As the firm progressed and added more services, it became AAA Royal Windows and Construction. Ultimately, the name changed to AAA Royal Construction because the company began offering property solutions for every situation—such as design/build, historic restoration, remodeling, exteriors and interiors. “Although we are proud of our window replacement projects and still consider them one of our specialties, we wanted the name to reflect that we are open to taking on the wide range of construction projects out there,” Boyd says.
About 15 years ago, the company switched its focus from residential work to more commercial projects. “We do a lot of building envelope work, which means siding, outside trim work and roofing, and then we also do interior work, such as total renovations of mostly commercial structures and some residential projects,” Boyd says. AAA Royal Construction’s commercial project experience includes mill conversions, colleges, apartment buildings and courthouses.
Historical preservation and restoration are other areas of expertise for the company. When the team took on the Vineyard Haven Public Library on Martha’s Vineyard, it applied trim to the landmark building. The Tisbury Police Department’s station on Martha’s Vineyard needed new windows and trim as well.
Colleges needing renovation and remodeling present another challenge, as they often have to be completed within the two-month summer timeframe—start to finish—and failure’s not an option. “Those are always a bit stressful, but we perform well under pressure,” Boyd says. “Sometimes it means we work six to seven days a week and 12 hours a day for the entire eight weeks, but we make it happen.”
Developing an Innovative Solution
Another demanding situation recently confronted the company. Occupied apartments at 30 Garrison St. in Boston required 750 aluminum windows installed in a very tight area, making project staging a potential nightmare. “It was so tight we couldn’t get a boom lift to many of the areas in order to reach the windows. So what do you do?” Boyd says.
When that question comes up, Boyd usually finds the answer through seeking out other professionals or digging in and researching how to make things happen. “We have never been afraid to reach out to find a way. Only this time, research didn’t produce a solution,” Boyd says. After thoroughly searching the internet, thinking that there has to be some way to allow a person to stand next to a window while caulking and finishing it off, he found no solutions in the United States or in other parts of the world. That prompted him to design the Window Perch. He made a sketch of it and gave it to co-inventor and Vice President of Commercial Projects Mike Allie—the company’s “hands-on guy”—who made several prototypes and tested them in the field. “The Window Perch worked perfectly, and we now have a patent pending on this product,” Boyd says.
When a window is demolished, the component that Boyd and Allie invented goes into the opening and allows a worker to stand safely outside of the building. “We’re hoping to get the patent approval soon on that product so we can get it on the market,” Boyd says. “Because of its innovative design—the direct result of our independent efforts and research—the Window Perch gave us the ability to put in all 750 windows efficiently.”
Installing Historically Approved Windows
AAA Royal Construction also installed 25 black Marvin windows and added vintage metalwork to the outside of the building at 7 Harcourt St. in Boston. All of the planned work had to be approved because of the neighborhood’s historical significance.
An even more unique project was at 56 Saint Botolph St., also in Boston, where the team installed 84 windows. About 15 of these units were huge arched Marvin windows—100 inches wide and 211 inches tall. It took approximately 22 weeks to manufacture all the windows. Then, going through the approval process with the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston took another three to six months. The project had to be measured several times to ensure the precise installation of these custom pieces.
According to Boyd, the beauty of the end product was worth the laborious and time-intensive labors of the AAA Royal Construction team. The windows—aluminum-clad on the outside and wood on the inside—are so unique that the manufacturer plans to make a national brochure using before and after photos to display them. “When the windows are finished and painted inside, they will look like they’re from a museum,” he says. “That’s the type of challenging job that my people—the strength of our company—enjoy.”
Displaying Emotional Intelligence
Of AAA Royal Construction’s 12 employees, one has been with the company for 20 years and some have been there for a decade or longer. “If you have high-quality people in the field and they work with good emotional intelligence (EI), the result is an excellent product, which involves much more than the finished project alone,” Boyd says. After reading the book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” by Daniel Goleman, Boyd decided to look for and nurture that element in his employees and in his own approach to the workplace.
“My staff members demonstrate EI by how they present themselves—punctuality, professionalism in appearance and actions, treating co-workers and customers with respect and addressing issues with a calm demeanor,” Boyd says. “Sometimes, it means we will take a step back and figure out the best solution in any given situation.” Nurturing emotional intelligence also manifests in keeping a clean and safe environment.
“We are passionate about our work, and we realize that a professionally done project is our resume going forward. That’s who we are,” Boyd says. That’s the way AAA Royal Construction conducts business. “It’s about the communication, cleanliness and general attitude while on the job—all these seemingly little things can add up to a great project and a great team,” he adds.
Doing Life Together
Three or four times a year, Boyd provides a reward and a respite from work for the crew by having cookouts and team-building events, including seafood fests and Mexican food feasts. This allows the employees—and even their families—to get to know one another better and develop camaraderie away from the job. “Team means more than work; it means doing life together,” Boyd says.
It also means being involved in the community. Together, the group supports the Weymouth Cal Ripken Baseball League and has contributed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for over 20 years. Boyd also endeavors to hire veterans, who often don’t receive viable employment opportunities at other businesses. “Making money in business is great, but if you don’t help people, what’s the point? It’s important to contribute to the needs of others,” he says.
Dealing with Inclement Weather
Since no work means no pay, keeping an eye out for the team during slow periods of work is another priority for Boyd. With that in mind, the company purchases a couple of houses every year and renovates them as part of the business. This provides guaranteed inside work when rain or snow would otherwise prevent the crew from working. “This past winter may have beaten the record for the warmest winter in ages. That helped us get the Saint Botolph Street project done, but often we have to think ahead so we can keep the guys working and maintaining an income,” Boyd says.
During the winter of 2014, back-to-back snowstorms meant that everyone was snowed in. Most construction work came to a halt. In the meantime, roofs were collapsing. The superintendent of the Braintree Public Schools in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, called Boyd on a Thursday and told him that they needed the school roofs shoveled so they could open the following Monday. Boyd’s crew agreed to do the work. Shoveling had to be done by hand because machines could possibly damage the roof. The team got there on Friday and worked through the weekend. By 8 p.m. on Sunday, the task was completed so that schools could open the next day.
“Another challenge, another unfamiliar situation, but we found a way to do it and make it successful. We’ve run into a lot of tough situations over the years and always found a way through it. I would say that is one of the things that makes us special—we’ll find a way,” Boyd says.