Great Work Deserves Its Place

Written by Mark Golombek

Houston-based McCoy-Rockford Inc. specializes in commercial interiors, including commercial office furniture, flooring and architectural walls. Its quality products and services have led to it becoming the leading provider of office furniture in the state of Texas. We spoke with McCoy Rockford’s Executive Management Team, comprised of CEO Kenneth Beaver, CFO David Barnett and the company’s Executive Vice Presidents (EVPs): EVP of Furniture Operations Corey Dupree, EVP of Floor Covering Elizabeth Greenman, EVP of Architectural Solutions Kansas Sartin and the Executive Vice Presidents of Sales and Design: Amy Lopez in Houston and Gary Rust in Austin.
The Texas roots of McCoy-Rockford go back fifty years, but a new era began in January 2011 when McCoy Workplace Solutions of Houston merged with Rockford Business Interiors of Austin. Both companies were top Steelcase furniture dealers providing a full range of commercial interiors products and services including furniture, flooring and architectural walls. McCoy and Rockford developed a strong business relationship during the 1990s that grew tighter over the next two decades. Because of the extraordinary alignment of both companies and changes in the marketplace, a merging of brands eventually made sense. Forming a bigger, stronger company also created economies of scale that would help both dealerships grow.

“Both companies came out of the recession leaner and more efficient, so the merger had many attractive benefits.” Explained CEO Kenneth Beaver. “It gave us a much larger footprint to serve not only our clients, but also to serve the manufacturers we support as well as the architects, designers, general contractors and real estate brokers with whom we work. They appreciate that we are a turnkey solution for commercial interiors. When asked what we provide for commercial offices, we often say ‘From floor to ceiling and everything in between’.”

The bulk of the physical products that McCoy-Rockford sells is commercial office furniture, and the majority of that is from the largest commercial office manufacturer in the industry: Steelcase. This relationship benefits both parties since Steelcase invests a wealth of research and development into the conceptually advanced products they bring to the market well ahead of the competition.

Because of their remarkable appeal with buying customers as well as architects, designers and contractors, an interiors project will quite often specify Steelcase. Once that occurs, McCoy-Rockford becomes the natural provider. This is not only because they are the exclusive providers of Steelcase products in the Houston and Austin markets, but also because McCoy-Rockford has a rock-solid reputation for executing in the field.

McCoy-Rockford also represents close to 200 other furniture manufacturers to support the needs of the client and help provide several options for the architecture/design community. One example is Paoli, an Indiana manufacturer who offers a stylish selection of seating, casegoods and conferencing products. Their wood and laminate options provide price points that make Paoli a smart choice for customers looking to maximize their financial investment. Additionally, the company delivers industry-leading customer support as well as tools and enhanced services to make projects go smoothly. These attributes explain why Paoli is an exceptional partner for McCoy-Rockford.

Customers appreciate how over 50 years in the industry allows McCoy-Rockford to provide an unmatched depth of service experience and product expertise. “We create the specification of the product solution to meet the design intent of the space, receive and execute the installation of the product, then manage the lifecycle of that product.” Beaver explained it’s more than just picking products from a catalogue and figuring it out from there. Once you make the product decision, you need to know your dealer can execute.

The company manages the lifecycle of these products through warranties, maintenance, cleaning, re-configuration, moves, add-ons or changes. McCoy-Rockford’s service history and tight relationships with manufacturers assure even complex projects are handled smoothly. This allows the team to simplify the process for clients without limiting their options.

Using research and insight provided by its manufacturers, McCoy-Rockford’s solutions address specific needs businesses are struggling with today. They create workspaces that help attract and retain talent, increase productivity and improve employee engagement. According to Amy Lopez, Executive VP of Sales and Design in Houston, employers in Austin and Houston are doing several different things to bring in the best employees and keep them. “We support them by ensuring they have the most current products with enhancements that meet the needs of their employees. Workplaces need to be flexible enough to provide collaborative space for team interaction as well as private areas for focus and critical thinking.”

Next to human resources, the second biggest cost to a company is their space, whether owned or leased. Beaver detailed how businesses have always struggled to decide how much space is needed and how beneficial that space is in supporting the business. “Not only do we believe that space matters, but there is also a significant social aspect to the work environment that really adds to an employee’s engagement, how productive they are and how committed they are to the organization.” McCoy-Rockford’s products and services are designed to maximize the use of available space.

With changing demographics, like the influx of millennials into the workforce, companies have to stay ahead of that change to keep talent. An example can be seen in a recent project completed for Jetco Delivery, a trucking company. The CEO was a fairly progressive thinker who knew the company needed to look and feel different from their competition. Jetco bought about twenty acres and built a truck yard that included a new office space for employees. Their leadership wanted to create a space that reflected their progressive brand in the market.

“They employed a lot of the concepts that we believe in such as wellbeing in the workplace.” Stated Beaver, “The project included workstations, height-adjustable work surfaces and ergonomic seating. It was a work plan that provided not only a sense of privacy but a sense of the social needs as well with an abundance of collaborative spaces.”

McCoy-Rockford serves four primary sectors in the Houston market with the two largest being corporate with a focus on energy and health care. In Austin, the top areas are the public sector (government and higher education) and technology companies.

Over the last two years, parts of the energy sector have been declining. When the price of crude oil dropped, budgets were reduced within upstream oil and gas companies. At the same time, downstream energy is still performing well and the healthcare industry in the Houston market is growing rapidly. The education and technology sectors have also been in growth mode in the Austin market. “That’s the advantage of diversification in multiple vertical sectors. We can weather the storms that go with the traditional economic cycles individual industries go through.”

McCoy-Rockford foresees growth over the next five years in the single to double digit range with some decline in the energy sector, which will be offset by growth in the corporate, education, healthcare, public and technology sectors.

“We certainly are not recession proof, but we’re focused on building our marketing strategies so we are as diversified as possible within the industry we serve.” One way to ward off the effects of a recession is to support clients in maintaining their workplaces. Within the energy market, for example, there is a great deal of re-configuring, downsizing and re-stacking – areas in which McCoy-Rockford can continue to help maintain and maximize the space in which clients have invested.

One of the largest sectors served by McCoy-Rockford is healthcare. They promote wellness and and improve patient outcomes with furniture and products to increase family participation in the care and decision making for their loved ones. The company’s healthcare products are also purposely designed to increase productivity for hospital staff. McCoy-Rockford has worked closely with medical clients and the architectural and design community so Houston can continue to provide high-quality healthcare.

To do this, the environment must be supportive, welcoming and engaging. At the same time, the healthcare market is highly competitive. Consumers compare hospitals and doctors, and the quality of the surroundings is one factor that is taken into consideration, even if it is only on a subconscious level. This means McCoy-Rockford’s health care clients are continually investing to support the brand, the customers and to increase revenue and ability to stay relevant in the marketplace.

McCoy-Rockford is remodeling its own offices. “We are doing that for several reasons. Firstly, it is the business that we are in, so it’s important that we showcase how we use the products and services that we believe in so much. The other aspect is to provide our employees with industry-leading benefits regarding how we manage our own space. Additionally, we’re able to use our brand as a tool in the marketplace – to say to our prospects and clients, “Come and let us show you what we did for ourselves.”



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