ENR Mid-Atlantic: Five Minutes with Michael Lloyd, President of IMC Construction

IMC’s new leader and largest shareholder looks to maintain company culture while also growing the firm.

Earlier this month Michael Lloyd was appointed president at IMC Construction, a Philadelphia-based commercial construction and development company. Lloyd assumes this role after leading the firm’s daily operations for the last three years as chief operating officer. He previously served as executive vice president and general counsel, where he led the firm’s risk management efforts. He began his career in finance as a credit trader at Barclays Capital, later serving as tax counsel for Chevron, and was a key part Uber’s International expansion. Lloyd earned his law degree from Harvard Law School and is an expert in risk management, strategic planning and cultivating a culture of collaboration and innovation.

He is the firm’s single largest shareholder, which the firm says makes IMC the largest minority-owned commercial construction company on the East Coast. The firm also says IMC is one of the largest minority-owned commercial general contractors in the country. With $424 million in revenue, IMC ranked No. 231 on the 2022 ENR Top 400. On the 2022 ENR MidAtlantic rankings, IMC was No. 24 with $353 million in regional revenue.

What are the biggest challenges facing minority-owned businesses today?

Historically, I believe the lack of relationships, market access, and unconscious bias have hampered the development of minority-owned businesses. In every business transaction, each party must be willing to take some degree of risk to work with the other party. The perception of risk is mitigated when you have an existing relationship or if that person fits the “traditional mold.” A good example of this is how [FTX founder] Sam Bankman-Fried was able to raise billions of dollars of capital with little to no investor due diligence or corporate governance. He fit the mold of a tech entrepreneur and leveraged family relationships to raise capital. Minority business owners often did not have those legacy relationships or fit the mold and therefore are perceived as riskier.

What are the challenges facing you and IMC as you take over as president. How do you plan to overcome them?

Maintaining IMC’s culture as we continue to grow and expand is my biggest challenge. Our workplace is based on professionalism, collaboration, creativity, entrepreneurship, teamwork, and problem solving. We believe this is a differentiator, as evidenced by the fact that IMC has been named one of the Philadelphia region’s Best Places to Work for the past eleven consecutive years. In 2022, we opened our first branch office in Edison, N. J., and the team has already integrated into our culture seamlessly. As we expand throughout the MidAtlantic, my task will be to foster this environment and identify leaders who will maintain the culture.

Talk about the industry and whether historically it has been welcoming to minorities.

The construction industry has traditionally had challenges in terms of diversity and inclusion, although I am optimistic about the future. The key to that optimism has been a shift in the mindset of the end users and parties that are ultimately driving demand for construction services. Major institutional end users and companies are now demanding that the companies and contractors building their projects reflect the communities in which those projects are built. This shift is happening, but it can’t occur overnight. Minority construction businesses need support to develop the capabilities and experience to execute projects and this takes time. IMC is doing its part by identifying and working with minority contractors and providing them with financial and operational resources to build and expand their capabilities.

What do you hope to accomplish while president at IMC?

Our mission statement is “Improving Lives and Environments” and that is what I would like my ultimate legacy to be. Internally, my goal is to create a workplace where our team members feel valued, are intellectually challenged, and are offered the training, tools, and development resources necessary to improve every day. Externally, I want IMC to have a positive impact on the community by transforming the built environment, volunteering and charity, and expanding opportunities for subcontractors to thrive and grow.

What expectations do you have for IMC as the largest minority-owned commercial construction company on the East Coast?

We have a responsibility to use our position to empower and to assist the advancement of other companies. We want to be a voice and a driver for improvement in the industry.

How do you address the materials challenge in construction?

We have the premier preconstruction department in the MidAtlantic and they have played a critical role in working to address the materials challenges we’ve experienced the past 18-24 months. We incorporate technology to a much greater extent than our competitors in the preconstruction process. This results in greater budget certainty at the very early stages of the project. This approach in turn allows owners to get comfortable releasing long lead items to get ahead of supply challenges early in the design process. We have thrived in this environment because it has placed such a premium on what we believe we do best.

Talk about your industry successes. How did you get where you are today?

I am proud that IMC has become one of the go-to contractors in the region for challenging and complex projects. We are currently constructing the largest specialty gas project in the country [a $100 million design-build hexafluoride plant for EMD Group] as well as the first mass timber office project in the region. We continue to succeed in constructing increasingly complex projects because we leverage the latest technology at every stage of our business and operate in a manner consistent with our culture and values. That means being collaborative, solutions-oriented, and acting as true innovative partners with our clients.

What did you learn in your previous roles that will help in your new role?

The construction business is all about assessing opportunities and risk. My previous experience as a strategic planning and risk management expert across a variety of industries, including tech, finance and law, has uniquely positioned me to navigate the challenges ahead.

What initiatives would you like to see implemented in 2023?

My biggest initiatives are: (1) Expanding our minority subcontractor program; (2) training and developing the next group of leaders; (3) expanding IMC’s presence in the advanced manufacturing sector and (4) opening an office in Washington, D.C. to meet continued demand and expansion in that region.

What do you see as the next big trend in your field?

I will be interested to see how generative AI impacts the engineering and construction field.

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