Meet the Honorees

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KMI International

KMI is a professional construction consultancy service firm that services aviation/aerospace, hospitality, marine, and port, as well as themed entertainment markets across the world. They leverage their proven process to enable them to deliver exceptional projects for their clients.

Founded in: 1999

County

Orange County

Industry

Construction

Founded In

1999

John Manning

CEO

What are some major pivotal moments that got you to where you are today?

KMI International, founded in 1999 by John R. Manning and Mike Kraus, traces its origins to the successful project management of Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel. A pivotal moment occurred in 1999 when KMI undertook Project Management for Marriott Vacation Club International in St. Thomas, USVI, overseeing the Ritz Carlton Club—the brand’s first such project. Since then, KMI has maintained a strong presence in the Caribbean Islands while expanding its portfolio globally. In 2003, the company began providing Project Management services for Signature Flight, a significant venture that extended across the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. Reconnecting with Universal Studios in 2004, KMI has maintained a robust partnership, offering extension of staff and change order management. The years 2011-2013 saw KMI enter the Aerospace/Defense and Marine/Port sectors, providing Troubled Project Turnaround services for Raytheon in Taiwan and Riyadh. In 2015 and 2016-2017, KMI undertook Project Management services for Canaveral Port Authority on various projects, including the CT10 project, the largest terminal project to date. In 2017, the company adopted Entrepreneurial Operating Systems (EOS) Foundations for operational structure, and in 2021, its founders initiated an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) to support continued growth and success.

Co-founder John Manning grew up in an entrepreneurial family business that operated as far back as 1836. So, he grew up knowing he wanted to continue the family legacy, even after relocating to Florida. In his career, John witnessed various projects fail and knew there had to be a better way to deliver projects successfully, every time. They knew clients deserved a better approach to delivering these projects by assigning proven processes with experienced people and agile mindsets. The goal: to ensure quality, exceptional outcomes for client’s capital investments in facilities.  

At KMI, we help clients manage their construction projects, from concept to completion. We start by identifying your budget and project goals through our extensive estimating process, providing cost clarity and potential alternatives for savings. From there we manage projects to success by acting as an extension of the client, keeping schedules on course and projects out of the “money pit” category, thus providing a means for higher return on investment.

At KMI, we believe in providing Agile Project Leadership by Credentialed Experts, thus creating Trusted Partnerships with Clients.

The foundation of our experience is guided by bedrock core values held by our credentialed industry experts. The heart of KMI’s projects’ success is our employee-owners walking the talk contained within our 5 core values:

  1. Do the right thing
  2. Always be professional
  3. Work as a team
  4. Maintain accountability
  5. Project confidence in relationships

We not only live and breathe these core values, but we also seek to consistently recognize individuals within KMI who are continuously abiding by and delivering services through these core values. It is more than just a marketing message. It is our inner wiring and core foundation of what is KMI.

Enhancing our company culture is the fact that we are an ESOP, Employee Stock Ownership Program. Broad-based ownership creates alignment up and down the company. Employee-owners benefit from increased respect, trust, and job stability. It really is a win-win for companies and employees. The accountability culture that having an owners’ stake in something creates is matched by none that we have seen before.

Our ability to properly estimate a project from concept to completion and manage the project as Owners Representative across the globe sets us apart from many of our competitors. Our track record controlling project delivery, cost, and quality results in exceptional outcomes for our clients. Further our ability to assess and then turn around a troubled project allows us to help our clients in almost any circumstance. Having worked on diverse projects across the globe, we have established longstanding vendor partnerships and gained extensive experience monitoring trends in supply chain and materials acquisition. This knowledge enables the KMI team to anticipate costs and scheduling issues, providing our clients with more accurate timelines, budgets, and greater value for their dollar. KMI’s cost estimators, project managers and project controls specialists can be integrated within our clients’ teams on mega projects to provide cost guidance, budget alternatives, and third-party contractors change order reviews, ensuring budgets are supported and clients have peace of mind. KMI’s team of cost estimators and schedulers from various specialties such as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP); structural; theming, show set and ride, and more.

The key to building a long-lasting company is to develop a strong team of people. I have focused on practicing servant-leadership for many years which has helped KMI keep employees for the long run some since 2000. While there have been times when we lost some key team members, I refocused my efforts to use EOS practices to grow a stronger connected team that believes in shared core values. Further to this we chose to go the route of an ESOP with the focus on developing an “Ownership Mentality” within KMI.

I have been blessed throughout my life with great mentors. Starting with my father who fostered in me the entrepreneurial spirit. Then through working with many great leaders in the Project Management profession who gave me more support. Finding EOS then learning the EOS process and applying those principles have been key to getting the company to where it is now.

Our focus is to continue to expand and double or more in size by growing not only in Florida but globally. We are currently pursuing work across the United States and in the Middle East as our experience in themed entertainment cost estimating has pulled clients to us who need our expertise. The ongoing growth of our ESOP is starting to pull some great talent that will only fuel our growth in multiple areas as good employees want to Owners.

There are many moments I am very proud of as a Founding Owner. Currently, it is seeing a great team embracing the concept of Employee Stock Ownership (ESOP). Opening up many of the great projects we have worked on alongside our clients is always an exciting moment to see the fruits of the collective teams’ efforts bring to life a great project. Being an Honoree by GrowFL is an extremely proud moment for not only myself but the leadership of KMI.

What does it mean to you (and to your team) to be selected as a GrowFL FLCTW Honoree?

Phenomenal. Being recognized by others is key and means so much when you are leading the team to do more for our clients. The opportunities we see the award providing KMI are only now beginning to come to us.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank for getting you to where you are now?

First and foremost, KMI’s employee-owners. Followed closely by many of our clients. We also would not be here without the great advice and facilitation provided by John Ward our EOS Implementor.

What is your advice for aspiring or fellow business owners?

Look into a system that would help build a great team and provide stable growth guidance. While there are many individuals out there that offer and provide advice, as well as many great books, you need a system that all can understand and rally behind like EOS. EOS offers an organized and systematic approach to ensure great communication and that all your team will work together in alignment. Nothing is achieved in this world completely by yourself, building a great team is critical hence the adoption of the EOS system was critical for KMI.

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February 15, 2024 | Hard Rock Live - Orlando, FL
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