Count on Consistency with A-1 Expeditors
Nancy Long comes from a background in customer service. As she built her career, she continued to notice something was missing from the customer service experience. The missing ingredient? Consistency. She felt it often was lost in the equation. "I wanted to have my own business instead of working for a large corporation," Long recalls.
Her career began in cable television in Indianapolis. Originally with American Cablevision (now Brighthouse), Long later went to Comcast before moving to publishing, where she ran call centers. In September 2001, her dream came true when she formed A-1 Expeditors Commercial & Residential Building Permit and Variance Service.
The Permit and Variance Process
True to its name, A-1 Expeditors, Inc. staff works directly with all municipal permitting/building departments within Central Indiana and throughout the nation to obtain necessary city/county approvals to legalize construction projects. The A-1 staff is well informed of the necessary steps and documents required to help streamline and expedite the permitting process. "Our goal is to efficiently ensure that construction projects are compliant within a property's jurisdiction, while saving our customers time," says Long, who serves as the company's President.
A-1 offers a single point of contact and accountability, which eliminates the confusion often associated with the permit process. While also providing savings and efficiencies along the way, Long says, "our work includes consulting with architects, engineers and sign companies on the code that a specific project will face in a certain municipality, which can often have unique local requirements," she notes. "In the end, our knowledge of the requirements and process results in saving trips to the permit office, ultimately shortening the timeline of the entire project."
Permit types include a myriad of construction-related authorizations, including structural, drainage, driveway, electrical, heating and cooling, improvement location, plumbing, right of way, sewer lateral connection, sign and wrecking permits. A-1 also can assist with obtaining septic and well permits from county health departments.
"In some cases, our customers may have an issue with a project and the building code won't allow them to do what they want, so we help them navigate the system to apply for a variance," she says. Simply stated, the variance process becomes important if an individual or group proposes to install or build anything that is not within a city or town's ordinance. In that case, the entity would be asking to vary from the existing ordinance.
More specifically, a variance of development standards petition is necessary when a property owner wants to build something that does not meet the standards of the applicable zoning ordinance related to dimensional criteria such as lot size, frontage, access, height, size, setback, parking, loading and open space.
In some cases, a variance of use or rezoning petition is necessary when a property owner wants to use a property in a way not permitted in the applicable zoning district. Examples of other land use petitions include hospital and park districts, modification of commitments, rezoning, legal non-conforming use, regional center approvals, certificates of appropriateness in a historic preservation district and other special uses and exceptions.
Lean and Effective
With a staff of just five employees, A-1 Expeditors has experience in permitting at both the local and state level. "I've worked very carefully to put the right people in place," Long notes. "All of our employees had a background in permitting and/or variances prior to being hired. We operate like a well-oiled machine."
Long's numerous clients are a tribute to her work ethic and success. She says, "I tell my customers, "˜Your project will be completed the first time and every time, all with the greatest respect, loyalty and integrity.'" Most of A-1's business comes through referral.
One of A-1's steady clients is F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co., Inc. Long says they are now at a point of working so well together, communication is handled mostly via email. Wilhelm Project Manager TJ Streeval echoes the sentiment, saying, "Nancy and her staff at A-1 Expeditors are top-notch. Their expertise in permitting is an invaluable resource critical to the successful completion of projects. They are always happy to help and get us the information we need on the front end of projects to help us avoid issues down the line. I couldn't imagine an easier process for permitting. With a few emails to A-1 Expeditors, our permits are ready to pick up when we need them."
Milan Stojkovic, Project Manager with Keystone Construction, offers a similar viewpoint about working with Long and her staff. "Nancy and A-1 Expeditors are a real pleasure to work with," he says. "They make a complicated permitting process look easy. They are always available, quick on their response and offer solutions to all my permitting needs. Working with Nancy is easy and effective. When I turn in a project to her, I have all the confidence that it is in the right hands and that my permits are on their way."
Reliable and Accountable
Long and A-1 Expeditors hold an excellent reputation in the greater Indianapolis construction community, with over 25 years' experience assisting clients in all types of variances and land use petitions. A-1 works with a number of public entities and has assisted the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library with several variance projects. One recent project was for the Irvington Library, where A-1 obtained the permits to relocate the library's contents into modular units during the building project remodel.
The A-1 Expeditors staff researches each project thoroughly, handling all the necessary processes from start to finish. "While no one can guarantee a favorable outcome, we do everything in our power to investigate each aspect of our client's petition in a timely manner," says Long. Each project is unique, however, the average time frame for processing petitions is six to eight weeks. The rezoning process is longer and can take up to four months to complete. "We provide customers regular updates, no matter what the process or situation."
A graduate of Indiana University, Long is a member of several professional organizations, including Indiana Sub-Contractors, National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the Builders Association of Greater Indiana (BAGI). She also has maintained city and state certifications as a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) for over 10 years.
"Nancy has been extremely reliable over many years," says Franklin W. Duck, Project Executive with Shiel Sexton Company, an A-1 longtime customer. "We count on Nancy's expertise to guide us smoothly through the local permitting process on a wide variety of projects. There is always a passion and high energy output from Nancy when she is involved with our projects."