January 17, 2022

Haskell Adapts to Meet the Healthcare Industry’s Unique Needs

Vast and varied expertise and a flexible approach to serving clients create value and build longstanding relationships. 


Taking a holistic approach to projects is a hallmark of Haskell’s work, even if the result of that thought process has led down some unorthodox paths. Nowhere is this more true than in its healthcare practice, where Haskell has embraced flexibility and adaptability to serve its clients better.

“As an impartial and trusted advisor to our clients, it is critical that we have more tools to offer them than a hammer,” said Frank Mangin, President of Haskell’s Design & Consulting Services Group. “We’ve been able to help our clients over the years by addressing their challenges with solutions that not only involve the bricks-and-mortar world but also the kind of creative operational solutions that are often less expensive and more effective.”

In an industry that can be classified as traditional, intentional and measured in its approach to facility planning and construction, Haskell has deployed a blend of innovation and experience to craft solutions that meet clients where they are.

While the company prides itself on an integrated design-build approach to project delivery across numerous industries, it has taken a different approach to support the needs of its healthcare clients.

It all begins with understanding what they need.

Meeting clients where they are

Many large healthcare systems have ample in-house resources to manage procurement, planning and construction. So, while Haskell can provide its design-build approach, it also has cultivated three distinct areas of service offerings to best meet the healthcare market’s unique demands.

In 2014, Haskell acquired FreemanWhite, an acclaimed healthcare design firm with a history dating back more than 125 years, and established it as a subsidiary to provide a deep level of expertise and experience to clients seeking design and planning support. Haskell also acquired Catalyst, a healthcare consultancy that gave the division a strategic counsel and operational consulting practice focused on empowering healthcare providers. In late 2021, the Catalyst brand was aligned under the parent brand, becoming the Haskell Healthcare Consulting Division.

The two work independently or in concert with Haskell Healthcare Construction, which possesses a deep well of industry expertise building complex medical facilities. This three-pronged approach enables Haskell Healthcare to offer a diverse collection of practical solutions.

“For us, it really depends on how our clients want their services,” said Kevin Meek, Vice President and Division Leader of Healthcare Consulting at Haskell. “We have the ability to go to market in various ways, including as an integrated team or as standalone ones that provide the needed services for our clients.”

This flexibility not only satisfies a client’s immediate need but also creates opportunities for Haskell to add value to specific projects strategically. For instance, a consulting project with a particular client through Consulting Services can form relationships that benefit future design or construction work.

Given the importance of flexibility in this environment, Chris Morales, President of Haskell Healthcare Design, said the company had embraced three distinct models for project delivery in the healthcare space.

The first, design-bid-build, adheres to the traditional approach favored by many larger healthcare systems. This model employs one of Haskell’s service offerings overseeing a portion of a project.

The second is the design-build model, in which Haskell provides planning, design and construction services in an integrated model from concept through project delivery.

And the third, design-and-build, blends Haskell’s design-build success with the traditional model, enabling the company to honor individual contracts for various portions of a project and provide the client with the added value of a more integrated approach.

“With design-and-build, there are opportunities where our services might be procured separately, but we’re able to be successful in leveraging the full continuum of our service offerings,” Morales said. “That leads to an opportunity where we may provide the client with an enhanced level of service consistent with their unique needs, circumstances, and business objectives.”

A unique perspective

This breadth of services, coupled with a deep well of knowledge, gives Haskell Healthcare a unique advantage in a crowded marketplace. The acquisition of FreemanWhite and Catalyst positioned the company as an experienced, trusted advisor for its clients.

Morales said this level of expertise, encompassing more than 100 professionals featuring varied and diverse skill sets, helps Haskell stand out from the crowd.

“The largest differentiator is that we have the capability to address all levels of service along the continuum of planning and construction for a particular client,” said Mark Allnutt, Division Leader for Haskell Healthcare Construction. “Most clients in their project planning and procurement process will have very clear procurement objectives. Depending on where they are, they may select services ranging from strategy through full implementation.”

Haskell’s ability to bring a diverse set of perspectives, knowledge and expertise to bear across the client journey also enables it to provide added value. With a client base that stretches across the country, it can bring best practices to the table, sharing meaningful experiences from a West Coast project to enhance one in South Florida.

As such, Haskell stays ahead of the curve throughout the gradual evolution of the broader American healthcare market as it begins to tilt gradually toward adopting more integrated approaches to project delivery. This means factors such as speed to market, cost savings and operational efficiencies are becoming increasingly important for clients.

“We have the greatest opportunity as client advisors and advocates,” Morales said. “The one thing Haskell is very supportive of is the notion that we don’t bring a one-size-fits-all solution to any particular client. Haskell is happy to engage with a client where that client’s needs are and where we can serve them and provide that advisory capability.”

For example, Allnutt cited a renovation project for Labor, Delivery and Recovery rooms for Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida. The project initially was slated for completion in October, but the client communicated a need for the facility to be finished sooner. Despite a two-week shutdown because of COVID-19, the Haskell team was able to not only meet the accelerated timeline but finish a full two weeks ahead of schedule.

Having the ability to flex up its capacity to serve and deliver work for projects is crucial, particularly given the market’s ongoing evolution.

Understanding what comes next

Few industries were affected more significantly by the pandemic than healthcare. In the early days of the outbreak in the U.S., most systems halted elective procedures and nonessential services, creating revenue shortfalls.

Recognizing the challenges, Haskell focused on anticipating what would come next. For instance, while healthcare providers might have had limited control over revenues, they did have control over expenses and could consider solutions to maximize existing opportunities.

As such, healthcare systems sought to seek operational efficiencies. Strategic planning is key to managing potential disruptions, such as decreased patient volume or an exploding demand for telemedicine, and taking advantage of opportunities, such as leveraging technology in the patient experience or using data collection and analysis to identify expense savings.

That isn’t to say the industry won’t need more bricks-and-mortar projects. But these capital investments likely will come in the form of intricate, specialty care facilities that serve necessary in-patient procedures and life-saving interventions.

That’s where Haskell is positioned well by its vast and varied experience.

“Building a medical office building is not the same thing as building a critical-care tower, and Haskell is not a medical office building developer,” Allnutt said. “We have the planning, design, engineering and construction resources to do the most complex healthcare expansions, and you can see that in projects that we’re engaged in now.”

What won’t change will be the industry’s commitment to bettering its patients’ lives, and the leaders of Haskell’s healthcare practice understand the gravity of that mission.

“Everything we do has meaning,” Meek said. “It’s not building a condo, and it’s not building a warehouse or a factory. We are working on a place that literally changes people’s lives – children are born, and people survive cancer. It’s rewarding work that I’m proud of.”

Contact the Healthcare professionals at Haskell discuss solutions to your system’s challenges.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

Related News & Insights

Subscribe to News & Insights