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If we have no CMGC experience, how do we win a CMGC project?

Building a strategic perspective helped one company secure their first CMGC win.


Nothing is more frustrating than watching a project in your firm's backyard go to an out-of-state company.

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The dual challenges of aging infrastructure and population growth continue to escalate the complexity and value of public works projects. As a result, local and state agencies are increasingly turning to innovative Alternative Project Delivery (APD) models like Design-Build (DB) and Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC) in addition to traditional Design-Bid-Build procurements.

Despite a robust portfolio of successful projects with a key agency, one firm found itself at a crossroads.

The firm was interested in pursuing the agency's latest CMGC, but they needed more expertise to craft clear, technical narratives for CMGC proposals. Adding to the complexity, in the agency's latest couple of CMGC awards, local expertise seemed to be overshadowed by the perceived preference for national firms with CMGC experience. This challenge underscored a broader issue: a gap in understanding how to effectively demonstrate expertise in meeting the nuanced goals of CMGC projects.

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After meeting with company leadership, Mission Critical began a comprehensive review of the firm's past efforts and a deep dive into their collaborative history with the agency. Despite unsuccessful attempts at CMGC submissions, both independently and in a Joint-Venture team, we quickly began to identify silver linings. These included the firm's experience developing Value Engineering Cost Proposals (VECPs) with the agency, a recent partnership award for the accelerated delivery of a similar project that took advantage of the lowered traffic volumes under COVID shutdowns, and the firm's recent success in resequencing a project delayed by 21 weather days.

"Opinion of Probable Construction Cost (OPCC) estimates? No, we've never done those." Really? Guess again.

Leveraging these discoveries and others, Mission Critical started a benchmarking analysis effort to align the firm's strengths with the CMGC model's demands. Through individual and panel interviews with the firm's team members, we unearthed a wealth of project successes and lessons learned. This process illuminated the firm's strong capabilities in early collaboration, constructability reviews, risk management, and innovation—key components of a winning CMGC proposal.

Our strategy extended beyond mere technical writing; we redefined the narrative around the firm's existing skills, transforming them into compelling arguments for the CMGC proposal. By avoiding industry jargon and focusing on authentic experiences, we developed a strong technical proposal that resonated with the agency's objectives. We also set the team up for success if they were shortlisted and progressed to the Stage 2 interview.

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The agency shortlisted three firms—including our client—against five competitors, two of which were those large, out-of-state firms. Our client learned the importance of establishing direct links between the firm's expertise and the project's scope. This strategy and innovative solutions to reduce community impact and preserve nearly 85% of traffic volumes underscored their suitability for the project.

We then worked with the team to prepare for the interview, emphasizing authenticity over soundbites and slide-heavy presentations. The company was awarded a $46M project on final ranking—the firm's first CMGC win.

Feedback from the agency during the debrief highlighted the difference in the team's command of the details made in aligning the proposal with the agency's vision for the CMGC process. This victory and the lessons learned paved the way for future successes in the CMGC and APD sectors, helping the company secure five additional CMGC and Design-Build wins over the next six years.

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Identifying the right experience in your firm and people takes ... the right experience.

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Do these Challenges Sound Familiar? 

Schedule a free, confidential session to discover how Mission Critical is the pivotal force behind winning teams!


Matthew Costabile

Owner and Managing Partner

(602) 833-8672



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