McDonald’s. BP. Walgreens. What do these companies have in common? The answer, it turns out, is Sevan Multi-Site Solutions. Sevan proudly lists the three global, Chicago-based corporations among its earliest customers—and it still has all three accounts as valued clients. “We get along famously with all of them,” president Jim Evans says. “In fact, much of our growth is due to them awarding more and more of their business to us.”
How did a veteran-owned small business develop such an enviable roster of clients in seven years? The company has always relied on relationships as the core of its business, leading it to seek out customers that share its core values of integrity, respect, teamwork, excellence, and charity. But, while relationships can get a company in the client’s door, team members still have to deliver. The high percentage of Sevan team members with military backgrounds may help explain the company’s success. Approximately 10 percent of its staff is made up of veterans, and seven are graduates of military academies—six of them from West Point. The military mentality that no hill is too high has helped Sevan respond to new opportunities effectively.
“We have a hard time saying no to new challenges, especially when they come in the form of real needs from current clients,” says Steve Kuhn, senior vice president of operations, adding that the company’s goal is to reach strategic-partner status with its clients. “We believe that our key differentiators are the outstanding quality of our staff and our ability to continually create cutting-edge technology solutions that meet the challenges faced by our clients.”
These differentiators support the company’s vision to be the best in the world at delivering innovative design, program-management, and construction services to global organizations with multiple sites. Sevan is building new sites or renovating existing ones throughout North America for retail fuel and convenience stores, restaurants, grocery stores, retail sites, and commercial and government agencies—as well as in the healthcare, housing, and hospitality sectors.
Tom Glatz, senior vice president of operations and design, also attributes the company’s rapid growth to its strong team members and “our willingness to take time to truly listen to the needs of our clients and to deliver at the highest levels possible. We are continually adding solutions to our corporate toolbox that we deploy for our clients. We are passionate about developing new and innovative methods to deliver value that differentiate us from our competitors.”
This approach has led Sevan to create a number of custom technology solutions to meet client needs. “For example, we have greatly enhanced our survey and data-collection capabilities as well as our ability to analyze the data we generate,” Glatz says. Walgreens is one Sevan client that has benefited from this development. According to Matt Mangold, senior director of the retail program-management team at Walgreens, Sevan’s innovations have helped his company save time and money. “Sevan developed a custom web solution that expedited distributed decision-making for our facility upgrades,” Mangold says. “The tool generated real-time updates to budget and program data as decisions were made. It cut weeks of time and eliminated hours and hours of spreadsheet revisions from the process.”
Joe Collins, architecture & construction senior director of development at McDonald’s, also attests to Sevan’s innovative, customer-first attitude.“Sevan has played a key role in one of the largest modernization programs in the history of McDonald’s,” Collins says. “Their virtual-tour technology helps cut weeks off the front end of schedules while making life easier for our owner-operators. And, as we’ve scaled to thousands of major remodels around the country, Sevan has kept pace, providing our teams with the support, expertise, and manpower needed.”
“We figure we have surveyed and assessed over 100 million square feet of space in the last 12 months,” Evans estimates. “We might be the largest retail survey company in the country. More importantly, these surveys provide the hard data, backed by photographic and interactive 360-degree imagery, our customers need to make informed, data-based decisions.”
As part of its process, Sevan can deploy field techs highly trained in computer-aided design (CAD) to draw as-built plans for client stores. “This ability is critical, as most CAD-skilled staff in the marketplace are accustomed to operating only from an office environment,” Kuhn says. “Our design team can leverage these field-created plans to develop construction drawings in as little as one day per store.” With a team of international designers and architects on staff (licensed in 47 states), Sevan can be the architect of record for its clients’ projects.
Sevan more than doubled its revenues in 2016, and as of press time, it was on its way to exceeding $50 million in revenues in 2017. Through it all, Evans is keeping his focus firmly on the key to success: “We’ve been able to grow because Sevan believes in putting its team first and giving them the tools and technology they need to deliver excellence to our wonderful clients.”
Kuhn agrees: “Our goal is to really focus on our people because, as a service provider, that is really what our clients are buying: a desire to work with our staff.”
Photos: Morgan Ehemann