We’re known for our work in commercial, higher education, health care, and school districts. Since 1949, our firm has expanded both in services and geography, and that has served us well. Industry diversity has helped us get through difficult times in the market because we can share our resources inside the company and better respond to the challenges of the market. Not all areas trend downward at the same time, and we’ve been able to better weather such downturns.
Expanding into Olive Branch is the latest in this series of steps over the years. We opened an office there as a result of our industrial-services group, seeing [that] they could fill a market for the niche services they provide. We decided to invest there by selecting a key location and purchasing real estate. Management decided that our client-services division would also expand into this market, so part of the move’s success comes from both groups being available to serve a broader base of client needs from one location. The work starts long before the legal department gets involved. Our leadership team had considered this move for years. We’ve made trips to the region, interviewed other business leaders, met with clients who have interests nearby, and done other homework. In expansion, you don’t just jump in; you have to see what you’ll have when you get there. You want to make sure you’ll be ready to stay once you land in a new place.
When the project landed in my office, we were close to completion of the due diligence phases, and that’s when the legal team is engaged to review real estate negotiations, draft contracts, and ensure we’re compliant with the new state’s regulations. It’s important to comb through state-specific and local regulations and laws that can affect your business—in our case, those related to employment, construction, liens, prompt payments, and prevailing wage. Since Olive Branch almost straddles the Mississippi and Tennessee state lines, it was important to thoroughly learn both jurisdictions. The best practice for a general counsel, I think, is to work with local attorneys. I’m not licensed in either state, so it was helpful to have local counsel review what we were about to put in place because they are a part of the community day to day. This also helps develop long-term relationships with local counsel, so it’s a good strategy.
“Our leadership team had considered this move for years. We’ve made trips to the region, interviewed other business leaders, met with clients who have interests nearby, and done other homework.”
—Andrea Woods, EVP and Corporate Counsel
Another key to entering a new market is making sure your company is competitive when it comes to pay and benefits. You want to attract the best team from the onset because you need them to be with you for a long time to come if you expect to have sustained success. We compared the markets to determine what would constitute competitive pay and great benefits. We brought in some transfers and combined them with new local hires to get the office up and running. We wanted to make sure we were offering something in terms of an overall compensation package that could get this done without any missteps.
Culture is a huge part of providing unified services to our clients. We had to ensure we had the right leadership team to begin with. It’s crucial to have the right people that know how to build a new team and support everyone. Otherwise, a new office and a new team might feel fragmented and isolated. We committed to actually visiting the location. Our south central operation is based in Arkansas and is a home base for many in the corporation. Accounting executives, other leaders, and myself will often visit Olive Branch to make sure they have what they need. We do site visits, we talk with people, and we communicate regularly. They’re excited to be there, we’re excited to be there, and Nabholz Construction Services is set up to have extended success in yet another new market.