Taking Projects to New Heights
Heartland Construction brings heart and skill to complex contracts
Shane Allyne stumbled upon his life’s calling early in life, but it happened in a rather unlikely place: while traveling in the back seat of his father’s truck.
Shane’s father worked in the construction industry, and he recalls listening intently as his dad explained construction techniques to his apprentices as he drove them home from project sites.
That eavesdropping paid off. By the tender age of 10, Shane could read basic blueprints.
“I would look over my father’s shoulder as he would explain how to read blueprints to his employees, and it was all very exciting to me,” he says. “That introduction to on-site residential and commercial bidding served as the foundation for the rest of my career.”
Shane was so inspired by these experiences that as soon as he graduated from high school at 18, he established his own business as a masonry contractor.
While he was ultimately forced to close the doors on that endeavor, what he learned from it set the tone for the successful company he was one day destined to build.
Shane acquired Ohio-based Heartland Construction, which was established in 2009, a start-to-finish commercial and industrial general contractor working throughout the Midwest and in Florida. It handles all facets of construction, including design-build services and construction oversight.
The firm specializes in multimillion-dollar prime contracts with a heavy focus on roofing—and over the past decade, it’s grown into a team of 20 employees and boasts a 300% growth in sales and revenue in the past two years alone.
Shane attributes the hard lessons he learned from his first business attempt to the incredible success he’s seen with his second.
“We’ve taken very calculated steps and spent a lot of time laying the groundwork to build not just a fantastic team, but a healthy company,” he says. “While we probably could have grown faster, we’ve never had a project that wasn’t profitable because of those intentional steps.”
Custom Built for the Job
The key to Heartland Construction’s track record—and what ultimately sets them apart—lies in the company’s unique approach to finding work.
“We are very selective with what we take on,” Shane says. “I review literally hundreds of potential projects before deciding to bid on one in order to make sure we’re the right fit.”
Instead of building a team around the needs of a project after a bid has been won, Shane uses a different tactic, relying on a highly specialized team that he already has in place.
Because of that, he reviews available projects with a critical eye, selecting only the ones that he feels best utilize the strengths in his team.
“Most companies take on whatever they can and then figure out how to do the job, but I’ve seen a lot of businesses go down like that,” he says. “We’ve got a very particular team, a very good team with very specific skills, and I look for the projects that fit them. So, we’re typically the most competitive, and the customer gets the best professional service because our skills match their needs.”
A Tall Order
With such a selective process, one’s left wondering what kind of projects Heartland Construction looks for. Those, Shane says, can be summed up in one word: complex. They also often involve heavy roofing.
The team has tackled a range of government and commercial clients, like Planet Fitness, USPS and Dick’s Sporting Goods, just to name a few; but there are some standout projects that really challenged the team and put their strengths to the test.
One of them was the Vern Riffe State Office Tower project in Columbus, Ohio, which the team oversaw as both the general contractor and roofing contractor. At over 500 feet in height, the 32-story skyscraper is one of the tallest buildings in the state capital.
Even aside from its height, the tower is not your typical office building. It houses the Ohio House of Representatives, Governor’s office and over 2,000 state employees, which means the Heartland Construction team had to deal with an array of safety hazards and security access procedures that required intense pre-construction logistics and planning.
“We can take on these projects because we have a strong history of oversight and safety,” Shane says. “It’s key at our company and we really work toward that with everything we do. We’ve never had a major accident in our 10 years of business.”
That’s quite a feat when you consider that the building they were working on is also located in the packed, heavy foot traffic area of Capitol Square, a place where they were challenged to ensure sidewalk safety and complete the project without interrupting service to the building.
While many companies may have considered this project a headache, Shane insists this is exactly the type of project Heartland Construction exists for.
“I specifically sought that project out and knew it was perfect for us,” he says. “We like complex challenges, and we were the only responsive bidder. Not only did we bid it, but we successfully completed it and came in at budget.”
Another standout project was what Shane refers to as the “1 Lex Mansion,” a million-dollar home renovation in Lexington, Ohio. The project forced the team to stretch beyond their typical heavy roofing niche, calling for the involvement of seven overlapping trades and an array of high-end finishes.
“That’s how you get complexity in construction—you get more people involved,” Shane says. “I consider this one of our true showpiece projects because it involved a range of custom woodwork, tile and cabinetry, to name just a few. This is one of the projects that really challenged my team to go to the next level and they rose to that occasion, myself included.”
Shane is quick to point out that tackling these projects is only possible because of his talented and capable team who put a lot of heart and passion into what they do.
“I have very loyal and hardworking employees who are always willing to get in there and do what it takes to successfully complete a project,” he says. “I can’t go on enough about them and I know how fortunate I am to have them.”
One of those employees is Office Manager Rebecca Swank, who came to work at Heartland Construction 10 years ago when the company was first established, helping to build a solid foundational back office capable of handling the multimillion-dollar projects Shane is notorious for pursuing.
With slippers on her feet, instrumental music playing in the background and her snoozing Shih Tzu, Molly, by her side, Rebecca says that the office setting at Heartland Construction is a far cry from her corporate days working at a bank—or any other company in the industry, for that matter.
“I’ve been in a few construction company offices and I think we’re unique because we’re very open and work together so well,” she said, noting that Shane’s mastiff, Thor, is another frequent office visitor. “We’re kind of laid back here. It’s not stuffy.”
That’s not to say it’s all fun and games at Heartland Construction.
Rebecca wears many hats while managing a full team and plays a critical role for a company that manages large-scale government, commercial and industrial projects. She handles everything from going to the Department of Motor Vehicles offices to renew tags for vehicles, to managing payroll, and keeping with the arduous and ever-evolving regulation forms that need to be filed on a monthly basis.
Like Shane, Rebecca emphasizes that each member of the team has a unique specialty that everyone else can learn from, and that there is always someone to go to for support.
“Everyone is very good at what they do, but we’re also all very good at picking up the slack,” she says. “Over the years, we’ve been there for each other through personal losses and injuries and illness, and we’ve celebrated successes, like our kids graduating high school and going to college. We share in each other’s good and bad.”
That tight-knit, team-oriented spirit is something she hasn’t experienced anywhere else.
“When I worked at the bank, I didn’t have that type of camaraderie,” she says. “It was more of a competition. Everyone was vying for the top spot, pay increase or a new title. This is so different, and we are stronger as a team because of it. We work with each other, ask questions and problem-solve together.”
Brenden Reed, a Superintendent, agrees. He’s been at Heartland Construction for four years, joining the team straight out of high school. Brenden points out the company’s commitment to the growth of its employees, particularly his own growth, as a contributing factor to their positive work life and culture.
“They invest in us because they’re committed to our constant improvement and bringing out the strengths of each team member,” he says. “We all care about what we’re doing. We’re not there just to make money; we’re there to create a repeat customer and do things the right way.”
“It’s nice knowing we all have each other’s backs,” he adds.
As Shane reflects on his journey—from his young days on the road where his passion for construction first sparked, to his first venture, to the past years of success—he can’t help but express gratitude for those who’ve helped Heartland Construction to thrive.
Shane points to The Blue Book Network® for going the extra mile to help him become more competitive and obtain work.
“The Blue Book Network® plays a big role in our success,” he says. “We were really fortunate to be connected with Keri Dixon, who went above and beyond to help guide us with how to get our name out there, and it’s helped us land several viable leads.”
According to Shane, he now uses the Network as a way to find subcontractors that his team needs to get specific jobs done.
Shane also credits his mentors who encourage him, as well as the teams from Carlisle Construction Materials and ABC Supply Co. Inc.
“By partnering with the biggest and best manufacturers and suppliers, we’ve been able to ensure that our customers not only receive the best labor, but also the best products with the industry’s lowest lead times and most competitive prices,” he says. “That allows us to bid the largest projects with assurance that we can provide the best quality finished product.”
Shane is the first to admit that these relationships didn’t happen overnight. It took many years of cold calls to make his vision a reality, but he never gave up.
At the end of the day, however, he said the credit goes to the team.
“No matter how hard I work, I could never do what we do without them,” he says. “It’s because of their hard work and dedication that we are where we are today. But above all, I give glory to God for all the good I have in my life.”