What makes a great builder? We asked our team to weigh in on what makes a general contractor a great builder and how the Buffalo Builders team creates space for communication, transparency, and growth. Mike Gilbert, Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Mincks, Vice President – Northwest Arkansas, and Jeffrey Nickerson, Safety Director, share their points of view.

Here’s what they had to say.

Left to Right: Mike Gilbert, Andrew Mincks, and Jeffrey Nickerson.

Q: What makes someone a “great builder?”
Andrew –  A great builder is someone with the ability to work with a client and deliver a project on time and within budget, by working together to make the task easy.

Mike –  A great builder today is a knowledgeable project leader with versatile skills in communication, scheduling, and teaching, compounded by the desire to research new ideas and concepts as technology embraces our industry. 

Jeffrey – Passion and the ability to adapt or learn different methods of achieving a goal. 

Q: What makes a general contractor a “great builder?”
Mike – For a general contractor to become a great builder, they must first define themselves and the culture necessary to maintain that identity. Once that is accomplished, the builder recruits to fit the culture as well as the skills needed on the team. I believe certain construction professionals are wired to build certain types of projects better than anyone else. Establishing repeatable processes and getting each person on the team in their best spot to succeed makes a good builder great.

Andrew – General Contractors (GC) work with trade partners to collaborate with the most experienced individuals in each trade. The GC provides the overall structure and oversight that focus each trade on what they do best, allowing for a great team to work on a project that delivers and exceeds the owner’s expectations. 

Q: How does Buffalo Builders keep the field team and PM team connected and engaged?
Jeffrey- I make sure to work with the field team to create buy-in on decisions. I try to include them in the process of making a change.

Mike –  At Buffalo, we strive for communication, where the Field and Management personnel have direct communication with their VP. Jeffrey and I are continually checking in with the builders and managers looking for what is not said, so we can ask the necessary questions. 

Q:  How is Buffalo Builders establishing a culture of transparency and collaboration?
Andrew – In this current economic environment with price fluctuations, material lead time and availability issues, it is important to work together with the entire project team including the owner, design professionals, and contractor. Owners have increasingly expressed a desire for transparency and detailed collaboration in all phases of the project. 

Mike – I tell our clients we are differentour people are different, and our style is different. As builders, we start by building the right project team for success. We prefer building projects through transparent relationships over competitively bidding projects. We find that competitive bids foster mistrust regarding project costs. We feel like the foundation of trust and partnership begins with financial transparency that is followed by a culture of ownership of the budget on the client’s behalf.

Q:  Tell us how Buffalo Builders makes safety a priority.
Jeffrey- Buffalo communicates daily the importance of everyone on our team making it home in one piece every day. Every superintendent values each other and uses each other’s experiences to uphold a strong safety culture. The safety meetings we have as a team are like a family get-together, and we all look forward to the safety meetings.

Andrew – Safety is a mindset and an expectationSafety is not only an inspection but a detailed plan before boots step foot on a job site. Safety is not only a checklist, but detailed training to understand what a safe work environment looks like. Safety is not only a weekly meeting, but applicable topics and inputs on current job sites, industry issues, and new practices. 

Q:  What’s one thing that you want people in the industry to know about Buffalo Builders?
Mike- Buffalo is a team of high-performing individuals who have diverse experiences and rely on each other to grow and improve. The Buffalo Builders herd is who we are. When you see our brand on a fence, you can expect to see a safe and well-managed project that follows the values of our leadership. 

Andrew – The Herd is coming. we have experience, talent, and capacity. Our hardworking, do-it-the-right-way attitude, combined with our transparency and capability, sets us apart, and we are just getting started.

Q:  What’s one thing that you want the community to know about Buffalo Builders? 
Andrew- We are partners! Our people are excellent citizens. From being your sponsor, coach, or volunteer fireman, we are deeply rooted in all our communities. Our employees have a healthy work-life balance and are all active in their communities.

Mike – I want the community to know we are your neighbor, we are invested in what makes our community a better place to call home, both in the built environment and by giving back in meaningful ways that touch the future generations of our home.

Buffalo Builders believes projects are built better together. As a full-service general contractor, we help business owners and developers build future-proof projects through collaboration, transparency, and creativity. Our team is committed to building projects in partnership with the communities around us. At Buffalo, we embrace the future we can build together.