To ensure Abby Industrial projects stay on time and on budget, we regularly partner with Methuen Construction, a general contractor (GC) based in Plaistow, NH.

In business for over 50 years, Methuen Construction is widely considered to be one of the most successful large project construction companies in the industry.

We asked Cody Barnes, Project Manager for Methuen Construction, for his feedback on what makes for a good relationship between an Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) and a GC.

An effective Owner’s Project Manager is a “bulldog”

As Project Manager, Barnes represents Methuen Construction, whereas an OPM represents the project owner. The GC and the OPM are equals on the job site and can spend up to 90% of their work time together.

According to Barnes, the respective roles of the GC and OPM set up an “us versus them” situation – which could lead to an adversarial relationship.

“The key to a good working relationship between the OPM and GC is mutual respect and trust,” says Barnes. “By this, I mean both individuals have the same goal in mind – a happy customer. Having this same goal drives everything. It keeps the OPM and GC from seeing themselves on ‘opposing sides’ and instead allows them to help each other get things done.”

According to Barnes, the OPM’s job is complex. The OPM has to work with the GC and the project owner.

“The OPM has to keep the GC and the project owner out of each other’s way. The OPM has to help each side understand what’s going on every day. The OPM has to represent the owner but also help the GC get what it needs.

“A good OPM isn’t afraid to throw his weight around or make decisions on the spot. The OPM has to be a bulldog to ensure the job stays on track. It requires a great deal of communication and attention to detail.”

Owner’s Project Manager vs. Owner’s Rep

Barnes added that people sometimes confuse an Owner’s Project Manager with an Owner’s Rep. The roles, however, and the job responsibilities, are very different.

Municipal jobs, for example, will have an architect-engineer who “represents” the owner. What this means is that as the owner’s representative, the engineer has to run everything by the owner first, which can cause significant delays and cost overruns.

“An Owner’s Rep,” says Barnes, “doesn’t have as much vested interest in the job as does an Owner’s Project Manager. An Owner’s Rep can’t make decisions on the spot. That’s the real power of having an OPM like Tom Stanek oversee a project. A good OPM makes a decision and goes on to the next thing. He keeps the job moving.”

Abby Industrial and Methuen Construction: A five-year partnership

Abby Industrial has partnered with Methuen Construction on several projects, two of which include work for Schnitzer Northeast’s Everett, MA facility.

Fabrication and construction of a Riverside Engineering M-122 Mega Shredder — $36M project.


The enormous size and weight of the M-122 required Methuen Construction’s specialized knowledge and precise execution.

Emissions Control System – a $12M project.


Methuen Construction provided the labor, materials, equipment, tools, and supplies to install the steel-framed enclosures and support structures.

Abby Industrial will be partnering with Methuen Construction on another Schnitzer Northeast project in 2020.

A culture of safety, quality, and training

One reason Abby Industrial continues its partnership with Methuen Construction is due in part to the company’s focus on safety – for employees, clients, and sub-contractors. Their goal is zero lost time to injury, each and every year. As an OPM, this makes our job much easier.

The company also takes quality very seriously. To ensure projects are completed to Abby Industrial (and all client) specifications and requirements, Methuen Construction uses a number of different tools such as their Quality Control Plan, to reduce errors, improve efficiencies, and maximize resource allocation.

To learn more about Methuen Construction, and to view their project portfolio, visit:

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