When the Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building opens at Johns Hopkins in early 2018, Jeffrey Hargrave will take pride in the fact that his firm, Mahogany Inc., served as general contractor for a portion of work needed to complete the $100 million center. In 2015, Mahogany modified the entranceways to the Hackerman-Patz Patient and Family Pavilion, one of which will connect to the Viragh Building. This work needed to be completed before construction on the new building could begin.
“Much too often, we’re on projects and we’re the only minority contractor,” says Hargrave, founder and president of the Baltimore City-based, minority-owned company. At Johns Hopkins Medicine, however, the facilities design and construction group requires that its projects have minority participation, the level of which varies by project.
“We try to locate the Jeff Hargraves of the world who have good skill sets and give them opportunities they may not normally have gotten,” says Adam Smith, the group’s assistant director.
Mahogany’s connection to Johns Hopkins Medicine stretches back to 2007, when the company was a subcontractor on the Wilmer Eye Institute’s Robert H. and Clarice Smith Building. There, Mahogany constructed the lab casework, architectural millwork and floor-to-ceiling wood paneling. Three years later, Mahogany won its first bid to be a general contractor at Johns Hopkins Medicine; the company was tasked with renovating the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center’s coffee bar and gift shop.
Through the years, Johns Hopkins’ facilities team has mentored Hargrave and his team, working closely with the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, which has used Mahogany as a subcontractor on Johns Hopkins projects. For example, in 2013, Johns Hopkins invited Mahogany to bid to be the general contractor installing a linear accelerator, a multimillion-dollar piece of equipment used in cancer treatment, in the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building. “It was a little bit outside of their wheelhouse, but we felt confident based on our experience with Mahogany that they could do it,” Smith says. Before submitting the bid, Hargrave and his team visited a similar Whiting-Turner project at another hospital to learn best practices for installing linear accelerators. Mahogany went on to win the bid and complete the project that same year.
Hargrave is thrilled by the working relationship he’s forged with Johns Hopkins’ facilities team members. “They’re willing to go out on a limb,” he says. “It’s like trying to get credit when you don’t really have any. Someone’s got to give you that first credit card.”