After spending most of his career contributing to the construction of large scale projects in Rhode Island and throughout New England, Ray Keough decided to step out on his own, founding Keough Construction Management, Inc. (KCM) in 2004. As a seasoned construction professional, Ray had directed the contracting efforts on an array of project types that include education, commercial, corporate, medical, institutional, nonprofit and residential projects – experience that helped distinguish him as a trusted adviser to high profile corporate and institutional clientele. The foundation of KCM was built on the strength of the relationships Ray had cultivated through his work with the goal of providing sound design and construction advice to owners undertaking capital expansion projects and programs.
“I started doing my own thing,” recalls Ray of the company’s founding. “I was heavily into mechanical contracting design-build jobs, and was doing a lot of high-end residential work. Old clients started calling asking if I could provide advice on various construction projects. I had relationships with CVS, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, and they brought me into the fold to assist with $800 million worth of projects across the state. That’s how I became an owner’s project manager (OPM).”
Since its foundation, KCM has developed innovative construction solutions by staying true to the values Ray holds close to this day – providing an unwavering commitment to his clients. KCM’s guiding motto – “managing success, one project at a time” – encapsulates an overall philosophy held by the team that the most important priority is doing right by the client. Staying true to this core principle, Ray grew KCM into one of the most trusted and renowned construction and owner’s representation firms in Rhode Island. Ray, and the experienced industry professionals he recruited have cost-effectively managed and expedited the master planning, design, bidding and execution of over two billion dollars in constructed projects.
For Ray, construction was his first love, and founding and building KCM meant stepping away from his roots as a builder and making strides towards becoming a businessman.
“I couldn’t be the guy that built the job for you any longer. I had a business to run,” says Ray. “I had to extract myself from projects and let people run them, so I had to have quality people working alongside me.”
Ray recalls his good fortune that, when the time came to grow the business and put together a team, KCM’s reputation and the quality of work he was known for made the process of attracting top talent easier than he initially anticipated.
“The people who came to me looking to be a part of Keough were all very talented. I think the reputation I had with the clients I’ve worked for, coupled with the autonomy I give the team, created a family-like atmosphere where they felt they could control their own destiny. Very few people that have joined the company have left. Most stick around. I think that speaks to our commitment to our work, our values and our people.”
With a focus on owner project management and construction management services, KCM sets itself apart from competitors through the talented project managers who go out there and do the work, many of whom are cross-trained in both architecture and construction — backgrounds and skill sets that most other OPMs do not have. KCM also has made a name for itself for its cost estimating prowess, understanding the intricacies of what it takes to prepare, reconcile and manage a construction budget.
Regardless of the method or service, the key to KCM’s success is a shared, universal mindset that our staff are an extension of the owner, acting in the owner’s best interest and maintaining a mutual understanding of the client’s objectives from the inception of the project through close out to ensure its success.
KCM transitioned to an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) following the sale of Keough Construction Management by Ray to the dedicated employees who have been instrumental in the company’s success. For Ray, this decision was a logical step forward – an opportunity to maintain the rich legacy of exceptional work that KCM has consistently delivered, while upholding a trusted name in Rhode Island. Moreover, it allows the team to carry on their work in the family-like atmosphere Ray has cultivated since the early 2000’s, when the company was founded.
“If I sold the company to an outside entity, how do the people who work here, who love working for Keough, continue working for us,” Rays says. “That can’t happen if owned by someone else. In the end, it was the right thing to do for the team. They can continue the great work they are doing, only now they are getting rewarded with the profits.”
Though ownership of the company has changed, the way KCM goes about its work has stayed the same. Everything we do starts with a conversation – getting to the root of our clients’ needs, developing a plan to engage all stakeholders at the onset of a project, and proactively and positively influencing cost, schedule and other make or break performance indicators. With technical backgrounds and first hand experience in design and construction, our team members offer insightful leadership throughout every stage of a project’s life cycle. By emphasizing these goal-oriented strategies, KCM remains committed to acting in the best interests of our clients, recognizing that our success lies in being a genuine extension of their organization from start to finish.