Emergent Construction Technologies

In an industry where many companies look to diversify their customer bases as much as possible, Emergent Construction Technologies is more than satisfied with having a narrow client focus.

“We are different from our competitors in that we are focused on the food industry – that’s where we want to be and what we want to do,” says Renee Cangemi, vice president of operations for the Richardson, Texas-based company.

The company provides project management, construction management, general contracting, consulting, design/build and other services to customers involved in food processing, food packaging, cold storage warehousing and waste treatment.

Emergent’s expertise in the food industry stems from the experience of President and CEO Robert Judson, who founded the company in January 2006. Before starting the company, Judson was a corporate engineering manager for Frito-Lay, director of engineering and vice president of manufacturing with Sara Lee Meat Group, vice president of operations for Webber Smith and Shambaugh and Son Engineering and executive vice president of food processing for CMT Inc. “I have a passion for the food industry,” he says. “The industry has been very good to me.”

Judson’s experience includes master planning, design and construction of plants that process a wide variety of meats including pork, beef, chicken and turkey, as well as foods including baked goods, snack foods, coffee and confectionery products.

‘What Customers Need’
Judson and his staff visit plants and then make recommendations for what clients can do to improve production lines and other operations. “Most companies will come in and ask a client what they want, and where they want it,” he adds. “I try to figure out not necessarily what the customer wants, but what they need.”

Several of Emergent’s retrofit projects have presented logistical challenges. For instance, the company recently replaced a bakery line for a factory in Tennessee that was surrounded by two other operating lines. “The more difficult a project, the more we like it,” Judson says.

Emergent was also recently called upon to help one client decide whether pickle or potato chip processing was more economically viable. “We not only can build factories, we can help our clients think through the business strategy of where they should spend their money,” Judson adds.

‘Demand Unleashed’
Emergent’s wide range of expertise has enabled the company to retain business within its industry of choice even during lean economic times. With the economy now improving, the company is working on construction projects for clients it previously just advised, Cangemi notes.

“Right now there’s a pent-up demand for what we can do,” Judson adds. “Five years ago, the industry had backed off and didn’t want to spend, but now that demand has been unleashed.”

The company is in demand within the industry, but selective in the projects it takes on because it wants to grow at a controlled rate. “We see ourselves as a boutique firm,” Cangemi says. “We do fewer projects than most companies so we can really focus on our clients.”