The Sword of Success
Gallagher Commercial Construction Prevails With Strength and Resolve
With the distinctive claymore sword as his shield of honor, Michael K. Gallagher has built a business on the principles of his Celtic ancestors—strength, integrity and a willingness to battle for those they represent.
Michael, along with brother Dan, founded his first venture in a construction firm in 2002 while in their mid-20s. With Michael at the helm, the firm eventually became Gallagher Homes, expanding into a multistate land development, new home construction and commercial development company. At its height, the company had interests in over 3,200 residential units and more than five million square feet of commercial space on projects spanning six states.
When the bottom fell out of the economy, the Gallagher Homes team, like so many others in the construction business, were faced with the loss of all they had built. Michael and his company survived, but perhaps more importantly, learned from all the experiences and struggles during that difficult time, which served him well in the following years.
Buildings to Bars
Looking back, Michael believes that the recession was one of the best experiences of his professional life.
Michael additionally stresses, “Without question, those years were difficult. It was very hard to watch what I had spent a decade building crumble and ultimately figuring out that there was simply no way out.”
But he did not give up. Instead, Michael looked beyond his comfort zone for ways to make ends meet. Michael explains, “I remained in the real estate and construction business but to a much smaller degree. For instance, I went back to flipping houses and interior remodeling. And I expanded into other industries that I would have previously overlooked.”
In a five-year period between 2008-2013, Michael had fingers in multiple successful ventures, including a staffing agency, a home health care business, a timeshare resort, and even a sports bar and grill.
Michael remembers with fondness buying the sports bar to subsidize cash flow, “I thought to myself, ‘Am I crazy?’ But I had to be open-minded to support my family. Turns out, I learned an immense amount of practical knowledge about running a restaurant, which I feel translates into every business venture I have going forward.”
As Michael continued to fight through the economic headwind, the Gallagher family faced a personal fight. Shawn, Michael’s brother, was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer and would battle the disease for many years.
Michael explains, “Shawn’s struggles are a large part of why I fought so hard to be successful. I literally watched him fight a debilitating disease for so many years. In the final months prior to Shawn passing, our family conversations often shifted to memories of riding horses and four-wheelers on Mom’s land developments and the joy I felt when a new foundation was poured, or a home was turned over to a customer. Shawn became my personal rallying cry to make sure I got my company in a position to succeed despite the bad economy.”
After Shawn passed, Michael realized that, at the core, he was a general contractor and decided to consolidate all business interests—but this time he redirected all efforts into broadening the company’s construction capabilities.
Umbrella of Diversity
By 2015, with the economy improving and his business interests thriving, Michael decided to consolidate. He combined the various land development, new home construction and commercial development activities under the parent company Gallagher Commercial Construction, LLC.
“The biggest mistake I made prior to the recession was a failure to diversify,” explains Michael. “With Gallagher Commercial Construction, my goal was to manage a host of subordinate companies under one umbrella. That way, should the economy change direction, I would have a diverse revenue stream, and the ability to gain traction in numerous segments of the industry.”
For example, the Gallagher Commercial Construction includes Gallagher Property Group, a property management company; Gallagher Kitchen and Bath, an interior design and material showroom; Gallagher Wholesale Supplies, a wholesale supplier to commercial, industrial and medical clients; Gallagher Buildings, a small metal building company; and Gallagher Marketing Group, a small boutique marketing and advertising company specifically put in place to help smaller private clients take advantage of the company’s diverse business experience. As well, Gallagher’s construction arm can self-perform design, excavation, demolition, framing, drywall, tile and painting, most of the key components of a project.
The diversified industry sectors allow Gallagher Commercial Construction to not only reach a larger market segment, but also to offer a much larger menu of services to clientele—creating a one-stop shop of in-house services.
“Our philosophy is all for one, one for all, whether that’s our administrative staff, sales team, project managers or laborers.”
Michael K. Gallagher, CEO, Gallagher Commercial Construction, LLC
With considerable backing of family and his build team, Michael has successfully turned the relatively small enterprise that began with Gallagher Homes into a nationwide operation with clients across the commercial, residential and industrial sectors.
Michael adds, “We have built relationships with the regional and national construction managers for a number of companies. Those individuals will regularly call on contractors they can trust to do quality work on budget and on schedule.”
With headquarters still in Frankfort, Michael along with his wife, Denise Gallagher, utilized their strong Las Vegas family and business relationships and opened Gallagher Commercial Construction West there in 2015. Denise handles all operations in Las Vegas along with Michael’s daughter Abigail, giving Michael a solid home front out West. As well, the company opened Gallagher Commercial Construction East in Westchester, Pennsylvania this past year at the request of some of his top clients. For instance, the company has established a strong relationship with California-based Taco Bell fast-food chain company, completing three franchise build-outs in the upper Midwest, and they are in discussions for 32 more. The success of those builds led to more contracts with companies like Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., Blue Heron Homes, Salons by JC, U-Haul Moving & Storage, Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority and many more.
Today, Gallagher Commercial Construction has ongoing projects in 10 states that range from rail stations to restaurants, churches to grocery stores and warehouses to factories. Michael confirms, “We’ve built projects of all sizes and complexity, though our average project ranges between $500,000 and $5 million.”
A Global Vision
While his name is on the company letterhead, Michael realizes that it’s his team—both family and employees—that have helped him grow and thrive in the face of personal tragedy and professional tests.
Michael notes, “Our philosophy is all for one, one for all, whether that’s our administrative staff, estimating and business development, project managers or laborers. We know it takes every team member’s contribution to achieve success.”
Looking ahead, he believes that success at winning and completing jobs for clients with a national presence will also provide the necessary foothold in the global commercial marketplace, and Gallagher is ready.
“Construction is a challenging business with numerous hurdles. Be it with my family or on my own, I have learned hard lessons from the recession,” continues Michael. “Building and maintaining a nationwide operation requires strength, integrity and diversity, as well as the resolve of my Celtic ancestors to go forth and thrive.”