2023 Year-End Review: Commercial Construction Industry Trends

In Industrial, News by Gordon Highlander

In the dynamic world of construction and development, we at Gordon Highlander want to position ourselves as learners and innovators. Facing changing market landscapes, internal transitions, and industry trends, we acknowledge our journey of adaptation has been a challenge, but it’s led to growth.

Our story from this past year includes strategic planning during leadership sabbaticals and adapting to the evolving needs of office spaces. It’s a tale of building structures, fostering relationships, and nurturing a culture of excellence. This article aims to explore our journey, underscoring our business approach blended with our commitment to the community, our team, partners, and subcontractors.

Rising Through Challenges: Gordon Highlander’s Optimistic Approach in a Shifting Market

In today’s rapidly evolving marketplace, getting caught up in the narrative of challenges and slowdowns is easy. However, we’ve always believed in flipping the script to uncover the hidden opportunities within these challenges. This approach has helped us navigate tough times and propelled us toward greater innovation and growth.

Turning Challenges into Opportunities

We chose a different path in the market, echoing with pessimism and calling for a ‘pencils down’ approach. We asked ourselves, “Where’s the good news?” For us, obstacles are not setbacks but chances for creativity and growth. Despite the supply chain issues and COVID-19 impacts, our backlog increased, signaling resilience and enduring client trust.

Strategic Growth and Diversification

Our journey from 2019’s growth, through the market’s downturn, to bouncing back stronger in 2022 showcases our strategic agility. We didn’t just recover; we diversified. Expanding from industrial projects to office and medical office finish-outs and shell construction in response to the evolving needs of the construction industry and our clients.

A Future Built on Optimism and Innovation

Looking ahead, we’re more than just optimistic. We’re proactive, transforming market challenges into innovative solutions. Our story is one of resilience, adaptability, and the unwavering belief that even in tough times, opportunities abound for those willing to seek them. At Gordon Highlander, we’re committed to navigating the market creatively and forward-thinking, ready for whatever comes next.

A Recipe for Clarity: Segmenting Operations for Insight

Our journey of growth and evolution is akin to cooking a complex dish with multiple flavors. Until recently, our approach to accounting and financial planning and analysis (FP&A) was like mixing various chilies in one pot. Although this method had its merits, it took time to discern the distinct variables and nuances of the different asset classes we were building. It was time for a change, a reorganization that would bring clarity and focus to our operations.

Reorganizing for Precision and Accountability

We embarked on a strategic reorganization, breaking the business into focused FP&A segments. This restructuring wasn’t just about accounting; it was a comprehensive overhaul involving operations teams, pre-construction efforts, and business development strategies. By creating separate profit and loss statements (P&Ls) for each business unit, we ensured each segment had its own tailored accounting and reporting system. This move allowed for greater precision, accountability, and insight into each business area’s performance.

Cultivating Leadership: A Surprising Outcome

While adapting to the latest construction industry trends, one of the most significant achievements at Gordon Highlander has been the emergence and cultivation of new leadership. As we deconstructed and fortified each business segment, individuals ready to take on more significant challenges began to stand out. 

This growth has bolstered our operational capabilities and brought fresh energy and innovative perspectives to our leadership framework. It underscores our conviction that nurturing strong, informed leadership is essential to effectively support each aspect of our business in a landscape shaped by ever-evolving construction industry trends.

Building a Stronger, More Supported Business

Ultimately, this transformation allowed us to support each part of our business more effectively. With the right leadership in place for each segment, we are now better positioned to tackle the complexities and demands of our industry. 

Our journey of reorganization was not just about business efficiency; it was about unlocking potential, fostering leadership, and setting the stage for continued growth and success at Gordon Highlander.

Redefining Resilience: Gordon Highlander’s Role in Neiman Marcus’ Remarkable Turnaround

2023 brought one of my most cherished experiences—collaborating with Neiman Marcus at their headquarters. This project wasn’t just another assignment but a journey with an organization compelled to reinvent itself in the face of unprecedented challenges. 

Neiman Marcus, grappling with the fallout of COVID-19, navigated through bankruptcy and the complexities of a rapidly changing work environment. Their struggle epitomized the modern pressures businesses face today.

Excellence in Collaboration

What made this project memorable was the level of excellence and commitment from every party involved. Witnessing Neiman Marcus’ resilience and dedication was inspiring. Our role as contractors went beyond mere construction; we were part of a larger transformation narrative. The collaboration between our team, the architectural experts, and the client was seamless, creating a rare synergy in our field.

A Testament to Successful Partnerships

This project is a testament to what can be achieved with the right blend of planning, integration, and teamwork. Every aspect, from the initial design discussions to the final execution, was marked by a shared vision of excellence. For us, being a part of such a successful story was an honor and a learning experience. It reinforced our belief in the power of collaboration, resilience, and the ability to adapt in the face of adversity.

Celebrating Shared Success

As we reflect on this project, it’s not just about the physical space we helped create; it’s about the journey of overcoming challenges and emerging stronger. Neiman Marcus’ story, interwoven with our own, reminds us of the impact we can have when we work together toward a common goal. These kinds of partnerships and projects fuel our passion and drive us to continue delivering excellence in all we do at Gordon Highlander.

Greg Gordon’s Sabbatical Adventure: Charting New Paths for Leadership and Legacy

This summer marked a significant chapter for our leader, Greg Gordon, as he embarked on a sabbatical, not just for rest, but for a purpose-driven adventure. Greg set out with a unique and ambitious goal: to gift his sons a graduation present unlike any other—his time and a shared journey through the Inside Passage as the captain of his ship. This expedition was not just a getaway but a conduit for bonding, learning, and imparting life lessons.

Linking Past Experiences with Future Generations

Greg’s journey is deeply rooted in his own life story. Having once ventured to Alaska as a college dropout to work on a fishing boat, he saw this trip as an opportunity to share this part of his life with his sons. 

He aimed to demonstrate the value of different life paths, highlighting that while his journey was filled with challenges, his sons could carve out their own, perhaps smoother, routes. This was Greg’s way of showing that one’s past does not dictate the future, but it can provide valuable lessons.

Embracing Challenges and Adventure as a Family

The expedition through the Inside Passage was more than navigating geographic territories; it was about exploring life’s metaphorical currents. The journey tested their limits, proving to be one of the most challenging endeavors Greg had undertaken. Yet, these challenges also culminated in one of the most rewarding experiences, echoing the ethos of Gordon Highlander—that embracing and overcoming challenges leads to growth and fulfillment.

Reflecting Gordon Highlander’s Values in Personal Endeavors

Greg’s sabbatical adventure with his sons reflects the core principles of Gordon Highlander as a company. Just as he navigated the uncharted waters with his family, he leads Gordon Highlander with the same spirit of adventure, resilience, and the willingness to embrace the unknown. 

This personal journey underscores the values he instills in his company: the importance of strong bonds, the courage to face challenges, and the pursuit of meaningful, fulfilling endeavors. Greg’s journey is a testament to how personal experiences shape professional philosophies, reinforcing the belief that the greatest challenges often lead to extraordinary achievements in life and business.

Stitching Success: Gordon Highlander’s Journey of Growth and Creative Leadership

We faced a significant moment of transition when Greg took a sabbatical. This period was marked by intense planning and strategic foresight, ensuring the business was robust enough to thrive in his absence. 

The success of this phase wasn’t just a testament to Greg’s leadership but also highlighted the strength and capability of the Gordon Highlander team. It showcased the company’s resilience and effective systems, ensuring continuous growth and stability.

Gordon Highlander Team 
 - construction industry trends

Achieving Unanticipated Heights

Growth is a central theme in our story, often leading the company to achieve more than initially anticipated. This journey surpassed expectations through innovation, adaptability, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Navigating uncertain times and coming out stronger reflects its commitment to continuous improvement and creative problem-solving.

Adapting to Evolving Market Needs

Gordon Highlander recognizes the need for flexibility and creativity in an ever-changing business landscape, particularly in the office market. The company is actively addressing the new dynamics of work environments, focusing on aspects like employee wellness and adapting spaces to suit evolving needs. 

The challenges in the market, such as obsolete buildings and the regulatory pressures in banking, are seen not as obstacles but as opportunities for innovation. Gordon Highlander’s approach to these challenges is holistic, involving not just construction solutions but also considering the human element in every project.

Cultivating Relationships and Building a Community

At Gordon Highlander, success is attributed to the clients and the strong network of vendors, subcontractors, and partners. This emphasis on nurturing relationships is pivotal to the company’s operations. These partnerships’ careful and thoughtful stitching demonstrates everyone’s dedication to collaborative success and community building.

A Commitment to People and Excellence

The ethos of Gordon Highlander extends beyond constructing buildings; it’s about constructing relationships, careers, and communities. We pride ourselves on being excellent builders and building people, nurturing talent, and fostering a culture of support and growth. 

This holistic approach to business, emphasizing professional projects and personal development, sets us apart as a company constructing spaces and shaping a better future for its team and the communities it serves.


In conclusion, our journey through strategic planning, surpassing growth expectations, adapting to market changes, and fostering solid relationships exemplifies a model of resilience and innovation in the construction industry. The company’s success story goes beyond its physical projects; it lies in its ability to build a strong, cohesive community of clients, partners, and a team that thrives on creativity and collaboration. 

This ethos, deeply ingrained in every aspect of its operations, positions Gordon Highlander as a leader in building spaces and a visionary in building futures. With a commitment to excellence and a forward-looking approach, the company stands as a beacon of progress and a testament to the power of collective effort and visionary leadership in navigating the dynamic landscapes of modern business.

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Gordon Highlander Team - construction industry trends

About Gordon Highlander

Gordon Highlander, headquartered in Texas, is a premier general contractor focusing on design-build and partially- and fully-engineered construction solutions. With decades of legacy, we have delivered millions of square feet across diverse commercial and industrial sectors. Our expertise extends to major Texan markets, including Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.