Sometimes, the biggest risks end up being the best decisions.
That was the case for Gina Hill, president and owner of G.M. Hill Engineering. “I’ve been practicing engineering for the last 30 years. At the start of my career, I worked for large design build and design only companies. In 2004, I decided to go off on my own and get out of my comfort zone,” she said. “Being a business owner wasn’t always an ultimate goal. I’m still amazed that I have my own business, it’s everything I’ve dreamed of.”
“As a registered design professional, we offer years of our knowledge and design experience that help our clients’ achieve their vision” she explained.
G.M. Hill is a design-build firm offering full multi-discipline design, construction and construction administrative services based in Jacksonville, Florida. Their design and construction work history include an array of governmental, institutional, commercial, and private-sector projects.
Both our design and construction staff have a proven track record working with, Federal agencies, colleges, universities, school districts and other state and public/private sector clients. Our driving criteria is to be technically correct, remain objective and focused, plan and implement resources in a timely fashion and implement correct strategies. We have a record of successful performance on DOD and Federal projects that is well documented. We are recognized for our ability to provide constructible designs, accurate cost control, and a safe working environment, while adhering to strict schedules.
Although Hill found her passion in engineering, a big challenge she’s faced in growing her firm is finding like-minded people. “There are still major challenges attracting talent in the engineering community. You hear talk about concentration on STEM programs, which is vital and critical to our future. Overall, we lack engineering, architecture and construction professionals. There’s a lack of people that want to enter these fields. People just aren’t excited about studying math like I was when I was growing up.”
She went on to say how this shortage affects her business. “It’s an ongoing battle trying to find qualified engineers who are interested in the design-build industry, which is unfortunate because it’s a great industry.”
However, a shortage of professionals isn’t going to halt G.M. Hill’s progress. “In the next few years we want to continue along our rapid growth path, hiring additional qualified professionals and continuing to increase our revenues.”
Keeping a Competitive Edge
With a motto of ‘a place where we are building solutions,’ Hill has been able to nail down what keeps her business competing with the rest. G.M. Hill is among the relatively few design firms that are experienced as the bonded, at risk Prime for design-build on major construction projects.
Through constant communication, long-lasting relationships with clients is a priority for the team at G.M. Hill. “We bring the value of excellent customer service and responsiveness,” she said.
To maintain a competitive edge, Hill and her team are focused on innovative technology and continuously moving forward. Doing just that, G.M. Hill added a construction and architecture division which played a pivotal role in their growth. Staying competitive, G.M. Hill adopted Building Information Modeling which allows clients to see a 3-D version of their desired end result, practicing their core values of communication and innovation.
“We started as an engineering only firm and then we decided to expand. Now we offer engineering, architecture and construction services, so it’s more of a full-service design build company,” she said. “We now offer to our clients more of a one-stop-shop experience with an extreme attention to detail and professionalism that not many of our competitors can match.”
What it Means to be a Florida Companies to Watch Honoree
Selected as an honoree for this year’s Florida Companies to Watch, which recognizes second-stage companies located in Florida, G.M. Hill has demonstrated high performance, growth and innovation in the market place.
“Since this process kicked in and we were actually honored, we’ve had the busiest months in the history of the company. So, the honor has not completely sunk in yet,” Hill laughed.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
When asked if she had any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Hill said, “Continue to ask questions, seek mentors. Seek people that you know have been successful and see if they’re willing to share some of their knowledge with you.”
Besides using the resources around you, she also gave the important advice to help yourself too. “Every day is a learning experience, so you’re going to fail and you’re going to succeed. Be critical but don’t take things too personal. You can’t drag yourself down because you’re not always going to win. But you have to continue to try.”
She left future entrepreneurs with one last tip, “Surround yourself with positive people who share a similar mindset as you.”
Notable Community Involvement
G.M. Hill’s community involvement includes business to business support, facilitation of educational programs and participation in local philanthropic organizations. They also provide time, resources and donations to organizations that prioritize encouraging students in engineering and science.
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