“Whether it be from a marketing, business development, or brand standpoint, you want your business to be associated with the Melbourne Chamber.” — Brett Strassel
This case study features Brett Strassel, VP of Operations for Hedrick Brothers Construction. Founded in 1979 by Dale Hedrick, Hedrick Brothers Construction provides pre-construction, general contracting, construction management, and design-build services for luxury residential, commercial, municipal, industrial, and educational markets.
Tell me about yourself and your business.
Strassel: I am the VP of Operations for Hedrick Brothers Construction, a 45-year-old, family-run construction company. Our company is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, and I run
the Space Coast office in Melbourne.
We opened that office just over a year ago and joined the chamber to help get integrated into the community, participate, and serve wherever we could. While we’re a construction company, we take an active role in servant leadership. So, part of everybody’s job at Hedrick Brothers Construction is to participate in community service, activism, or volunteerism.
How did you find out about the chamber?
Strassel: We have a Director of Marketing at our corporate office in West Palm Beach. When we decided to open our Satellite office on the Space Coast, she was the one that dove into finding out what chambers were available and what the most prevalent organizations were from a community and outreach advocacy standpoint. Through her research, she found that the Melbourne Chamber was the place to be.
What facet of the chamber is most appealing to your business?
Strassel: I think networking at a high level is very important. One of the things I was impressed by is the number of live events and networking opportunities the Melbourne Chamber has. During COVID-19, many other organizations kind of hid, but the Melbourne Chamber was right out there. I really liked that about them. The Melbourne Chamber is also available for their members. They’ve introduced us to people and have set up lunches. When I asked to meet somebody, Michael Ayers (President & CEO) didn’t just give me a contact number. He set up the lunch himself and attended it with me. It was wonderful.
Can you share any measurable benefits your business has achieved since joining the chamber?
Strassel: Sometimes it’s hard to quantify, but the easiest measurable benefit is the networking opportunities and introductions the Melbourne Chamber has given us. Right now, we’re doing a bit of work with a company called Leonardo DRS, and that was a direct introduction from Melody Thomas, VP of Business Development. As a very measurable, tangible benefit, those introductions are the easiest to quantify in a simplistic way.
In what ways does the chamber make you feel more connected to the community?
Strassel: Our involvement and their involvement. We’ve served on the real estate task force to try to understand what the chamber is going to do with their existing property. There are also sponsorship opportunities like the golf tournament that allow us to get out in the community.
Why would you recommend other businesses to join the chamber?
Strassel: One of the things we do when we evaluate an organization is look at its reputation. The Melbourne Chamber has a great reputation. Michael Ayers’s reputation, as well as his staff’s, are stellar. We’ve talked to a few other business leaders, and they all agreed that the Melbourne Chamber was the chamber to join. So, whether it be from a marketing, business development, or brand standpoint, you want your business to be associated with the Melbourne Chamber.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Strassel: Another positive of the Melbourne Chamber is the financial value. I think it’s very affordable. When you join a membership like this, it’s an investment. And you know, Michael was very forthright when he described the benefits of the chamber. Instead of thinking about what you’re going to get out of it, you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. And it’s been very true with us. We’ve put a lot of time, money, and effort into it. Through that, we’ve seen great results.
The Melbourne Chamber has also stayed relevant during COVID-19, and not every group that we belong to has. I’m sure the Melbourne Chamber struggled a bit financially during COVID-19, but it meant a lot to us that they were open, active, and there. From a newcomer’s perspective, one of your first calls should be to join the Melbourne Chamber. It’s been extremely beneficial for Hedrick Brothers Construction.