LMG Construction Services, LLC – Kansas City
The CV of Lisa Garney, president of LMG Construction Services, LLC, which performs multi-million dollar federal and civil construction and plumbing projects — everything from barracks, officers’ quarters and battalion headquarters to Whiteman Air Force Base runway repairs and student housing, senior living and commercial facilities — and of LMG Professional Services, LLC (regulatory compliance, public finance tools for developers, zoning, code and construction law), both based in Kansas City, reads like something out of a superheroine movie:
Construction supervisor and jack-of-most trades, born into the business. Attorney. Pilot. White House intern, George H.W. Bush administration, with access to detailed presidential schedules. London (England) School of Economics graduate. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-certified Quality Control Manager. Master plumber.
Yes: As the daughter and granddaughter of master plumbers, the construction business is in her blood, and LMG Construction carried on this family tradition in both construction and plumbing. She counts Sunday afternoons driving a forklift at her dad’s site as one of her fondest childhood memories. (Another is proudly displaying the B-52 bomber model she and her dad built for third grade show and tell.)
After graduating from UMKC’s law school, she worked as vice president in her father’s firm, Briarcliff Development, helping create a successful mixed-use development in Kansas City’s Northland, before striking out on her own. This diverse background served her well in creating one of the top construction firms in the area from the ground up, with timely help from Michelle (“Shelly”) Cunningham, director, University of Missouri-Kansas City Procurement Technical Assistance Center (MO PTAC) and Donna Leonard, past UMKC PTAC director and currently director of the Mid-America Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, which administers a matching-grant federal program for manufacturers.
PTAC’s mission is to assist businesses, including small, disadvantaged and women-owned firms like Garney’s, obtain federal, state and local government contracts. The center and PTAC program falls under the University of Missouri Extension Business Development Program umbrella.
With PTAC’s help, Garney has bid on and won such multi-million dollar contracts as a five-year, nearly $42 million contract for Whiteman Air Force Base flight line repair (“It’s amazing and inspiring to be around A-10s and B-2s,” she says — the A-10 is a rugged, well-armed ground-attack craft, the B-2 is the Stealth bomber); a $6 million contract for designing and building a basic combat training headquarters at Fort Leonard Wood; a $28 million design-build training complex at Camp McGregor, N.M.; and LMG is currently bidding on three military renovation projects in Texas and Kansas cumulatively worth nearly $40 million. She continues to practice law in her other business, too, when time allows, which it rarely does.
Garney says the wherewithal to perform these contracts stem from PTAC know-how: “Had it not been for Donna and Shelly preparing me on the federal side, helping me get registered in and learning of opportunities through FedBizOps (the point of entry for federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000), I wouldn’t be nearly as adept at tracking opportunities, responding to notices and responding to solicitations,” she says. “Because of my work with PTAC, successfully bidding then completing federal projects, I now have a resume with several outstanding performance ratings, which is everything in the federal world.”
She is quick to credit her teams with LMG’s success, too: “None of this would have been possible without my crews, management, construction partners and design team to support me — nothing, absolutely nothing. The whole game for me is bringing people smarter than me into the picture. The front line I have working with me are dedicated and hard working — the plumbing and labor crews get up, show up despite the weather and produce excellent results … They have taught me a great deal about responsibility, dedication, integrity, military design and construction.” Garney adds that she listens carefully to construction partners’ advice and even formed an advisory committee last fall, both good strategies for businesses of any size or description.
Her businesses are of course woman-owned, a plus in the contracting sphere. PTAC also helped Garney gain another small business plus, certification in the Small Business Administration’s Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program. This program gives small businesses in distressed urban and rural communities access to federal contracts and price evaluation preferences. Through HUBZone, LMG Construction has acquired more than $40 million in contract opportunities and support thus far.
These certifications are certainly a plus, but her firm’s work speaks for itself. Here’s just one of dozens of rave reviews: “The LMG leadership, both in the field and in the office, was exceptional. The crews were professional, on time, dependable and worked extremely hard to complete a very tight schedule, oftentimes in tight working conditions. When extra work was needed the foreman and crew arrived early and worked late — whatever it took to get the job done and done right. They were safe, knowledgeable, worked well with other subs and exceeded all expectations.” Kansas City Mayor Sylvester James has also said how proud he is that LMG is in Kansas City. So has the governor, Kansas City Business Journal, Thinking Bigger Media and many others from whom she’s won accolades.
With this much on her plate, Garney doesn’t have much time for flying a Piper Warrior or Cessna 172. “But being around military personnel, in particular at Whiteman with the Stealths and A-10s — it’s an amazing thing to be a part of. It’s incredibly motivating. “I’m proud to operate a small business that’s woman-owned,” she said in a previous interview.
“There are not many women in the construction industry, so I think it’s an accomplishment for women in business, not just construction, because it’s not easy owning a business. Construction is tough. I learn something new every day.”
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