Originally from Egypt, Hytham Bakr, founder and principal owner of Bakr Group, LLC, moved to the United States to attend college and pursue new opportunities. After earning a degree in Architecture from the New York Institute of Technology, Bakr worked for a number of years for an architectural firm based in New Jersey. Identifying an opportunity to add to his skill set, Bakr went back to school and earned a Master's in Civil Engineering / Construction Management from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. After several years of working for private construction management firms, Bakr was ready for a new challenge.
"Before starting my own business, I spent eight years with the US Army Corps of Engineers," he said. "I gained major knowledge and experience in the building industry and project management. I served as a Project Manager in numerous management positions with the Baltimore and Savannah Districts, managing a wide range of government contracts and projects, both military and civil works. I also served as a team member on numerous A/E Selection Boards and served as the Engineering Continuing Authority’s Program Coordinator for the Baltimore District. With the Savannah District, I served as a Construction Claims Manager and expert on Construction Scheduling and Engineering matters. In this capacity, I developed the District’s policy on construction scheduling and served as the Government’s Expert Witness on several delay impact claims. I also developed and taught Network Analysis System (NAS) classes for the District’s employees."
At some point before 1999, Bakr came to the realization that, with his level of education, experience and skill set, he was in a prime position to start his own company. Not long after moving to Sarasota full-time, an area Bakr and his wife first discovered and fell in love with in the late 80s, he launched Bakr Group, LLC, a full service-consulting firm providing Owner’s Representative; Engineering and Construction Management, QA/QC, CPM Scheduling & Analysis, Construction Delay & Dispute Claims, and Expert Witness Testimony.
"We bring owners, architects, engineers, contractors, and all project related consultants together in a partnership to complete timely and successful projects within budget," Bakr said. "Our main objective is to provide exceptional, professional and personalized services to our clients by evaluating their goals, needs, and concerns; then implement comprehensive tools, skills and experiences to meet their goals. We are committed to providing quality, high functional and cost effective services. We specialize in project control services: CPM scheduling development and monitoring; delay claims analysis; dispute resolution & witness experts; risk analysis & management; and project management training. The vast majority of our projects are for repeat clients and are generated by referrals."
In 2011, Bakr Group qualified to be a GSA Contractor allowing the firm to provide and perform services for different government agencies. Not long after, Bakr made a strategic decision to open a second location in Washington D.C., an area where most of the government work related to construction management takes place.
Bakr shared that what he enjoys most about owning and running his business is meeting new people and providing his clients with a service he loves. As a self-described people person, he finds happiness when his clients are happy. Nothing satisfies his clients more than when Bakr can help them successfully take a project from idea to completion. By utilizing his unique background that includes architecture and engineering degrees and experience, along with a General Contractor's License, Bakr is able to differentiate his firm from the competition.
What does the future look like for Bakr group? "Even after 20 years, we're still growing," he said. "That still remains our focus. We're also considering a design division. My son is graduating soon with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He might eventually want to come back and work with me. If that happens, we'll consider doing a separate design division."
Bakr shared some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "You need perseverance," he said. "It takes time. When one door closes, another door will open. Don't take no for an answer and don't ever give up. It's also very important to be honest with your clients and with yourself. Know what you want before you decided to start a business."