Case study published at procore.com
Swords and Ploughshares
Jessy Milner and Jamahl Labbe of Front Line Advisory Group (FLAG)didn’t come up with their company’s name by polling a focus group. Their combined 34 years of Special Forces and Army Special Ops service included battle duty, direction of special missions, direct reports to the U.S. Intelligence apparatus and other mettletesting adventures. The day Jessy and Jamahl returned to civilian life—trading uniforms for business suits—was arguably the beginning of their most critical mission yet. Founding FLAG, the former front line soldiers were determined to build a company whose rank and file were comprised of veterans to whom the word “can’t” was not in the dictionary.
Procore has given our team a platform to provide project insight to all stakeholders—regardless of their construction understanding. The platform is intuitive and requires minimal training, so it can be easily implemented across our 50+ projects. Procore’s platform allows local officials to remotely see what is going on in projects relevant to their jurisdiction.”— Jessy Milner, Front Line Advisory Group
“When we started in NY, the SDVOB (Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses program) was fairly new,” Milner says. “Jamahl and I identified the opportunity to realize our dream of starting a business with veterans at its core. When we came to realize exactly how much our unique set of skills and experiences add to the market, our perspective quickly evolved to seeing ourselves as a great firm with the ‘value add’ of being a SDVOB.”
That perspective was loudly validated in 2017 when Travis County hired Austin, TX-based FLAG to manage 60 simultaneous infrastructure projects funded by a voter-approved bond measure. County residents wanted some things fixed, and they were willing to pay for these upgrades. They were unwilling to wait forever for the work to get done.
$300M. 60 Projects. 14 PMs.
In 2017, the voters of Travis County Texas approved a sweeping bond measure—$302.1M to pay for an unusually varied range of projects—from culvert upgrades to parks and land conservation projects—most to do with making the public safer. One county commissioner described the measure as “… a health and safety bond.”
Travis County chose FLAG to bring the slew of 60 projects home by what has been described as “an aggressive deadline”—December 31, 2022. Co-founder Jessy Milner explains what he and Jamahl brought to the table.
“We were brought in to create and implement standardized processes across the projects with Procore.” Jessy pauses. “This isn’t four or five projects with seven, eight, or nine years to completion. This is 60 projects. And they all have to be substantially completed in four and a half years.”
The software allows us to define and mandate standard practice, so I can compare cost and budgets and schedules and tasks between projects. Now there’s one central location for all, from the executive level, to the elected officials, all the way down to the PMs.”— Jessy Milner, Front Line Advisory Group
Travis County hadn’t floated a public bond measure for some six years––and had never proposed a project package of this scale. They were assured by Front Line’s construction management solution. Simultaneous projects run through the Procore platform share an ecosystem that standardizes process across all projects. And Procore is scalable by design, flexing and accommodating as more projects are added––or completed—an adaptability that comes in handy when, for instance, a handful of PMs are overseeing dozens of diverse county projects.
“We actually have about 14 PMs covering the 60 projects, from external and internal,” Jessy says of the current setup. The standardization has made his reporting to Travis County much easier, and more timely. “With Procore, I no longer need to understand all the different PMs’ methods for collecting documentation, for measurements, for change orders.” Front Line’s 60 standardized projects are moving forward together.
Procore is an accountability tool
Taxpayer-funded government projects are obliged—by law and common consent—to have transparent processes and complete accountability. In any construction project, accurate real-time information is king. How much more so when working with public monies? Procore’s all-in-one construction management platform fits the “public accountability” mandate like a glove. Because transparency and accountability are two sides of the same coin.
“Procore is an accountability tool,” Milner says. “The schedule is seen not only by the PMs, but by the elected officials. So when we have our quarterly appearance before the commissioners, there’s no wiggle room. They’re seeing the schedules. They’re seeing the budgets. They’re seeing where we are against the budgets.” And that same openness, that same informational coherence and project transparency allow Front Line to keep their 60 projects on track, and the county commissioners happy.
Jessy Milner and Jamahl Labbe served their country as highly trained soldiers, and continue today their mission of bringing veterans to the Front Line of construction progress. Procore is proud to be a partner, and glad to be making this good work easier and more efficient.
“Procore allows us to define and mandate standard practice, so I can compare cost and budgets and schedules and tasks between projects. Now there’s one central location for all, from the executive level, to the elected officials, all the way down to the PMs. I can find all the documents, all the contracts. I can get an idea of the milestones being met, the schedules being met.” Procore provides a dynamic project transparency that, by design, keeps the project on track. But what use is transparency if the accessible information is less than absolutely robust?
The Procore platform’s archival thoroughness and integrity are such that it rises to meet even the legal standard of a Freedom of Information Act request by the public.
“Procore is the document archive of record for the entire program,” Milner says. “So when there’s a Freedom of Information request, it goes through Procore!”