Metro Construction is in business to do quality work, but with every opportunity, their team looks for ways their services and efforts can lead to a better Memphis.
It starts at the top, where owner and CEO Joe Savage is involved in causes associated with fighting Multiple Sclerosis. And Metro Vice President Jeff Savage is the president of The Phoenix Club, an organization that supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis. The company itself also takes on work that can have a lasting effect in Memphis, from the construction of schools to memorials for the community’s fallen firefighters and police officers.
“Every company is in business to make a profit and our involvement in projects has two levels,” Joe Savage said. “When we do construction we get paid to do it. But on the personal side – Jeff’s involvement in The Phoenix Club and my wife and I in MS – that takes it to another level for us. We really enjoy that and want to use our business and those profits as a way to invest back into our community and to help others. We don’t make a big deal out of it. It’s just something that we do.”
Joe Savage continued, "We bring our expertise as contractors to help projects get completed in a timely way and keeps them on budget, which helps the client. We then make it a special point to use our expertise and resources to get involved with and help organizations that better the community, as well."
Metro Construction started in 1981 when Joe Savage formed it. Raised in a family of contractors, Savage saw a strong example at home where the family contracting business was operated.
“On my kitchen table every Thursday night after dinner was payroll for my father and his brothers’ business they ran out of our home,” Joe Savage said.
Joe and his brothers were known as Savage Brothers, a company they started in 1973. They also formed other construction-related companies, including Metro. The brothers all individually took over the companies eventually, and Joe took over Metro in 1983.
That idea of family continues today at Metro Construction where Joe is joined by his sons.
Metro Construction focused on interior specialties in the early days. It soon transitioned to a general contractor focus after a lodging remodel. Through the years, Metro Construction has been involved in a range of projects, including renovations of the Peabody Hotel, redevelopment of the Peabody Place Historic Block and construction of the Fire Museum of Memphis. They’re currently involved with expansion work at Graceland.
That work at the Fire Museum of Memphis and the memorial built there connects Metro Construction to a similar project they hope gets underway in the near future, the Memphis Police-Shelby County Sheriff Fallen Officer Memorial that’s currently in the planning and fundraising stages.
Joe Savage said the memorials have special meaning for him. His recently deceased father served in World War II where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was captured by the Germans.
“They nearly starved him to death,” he said of his father's experience as a POW. “When he said freedom wasn’t free, he knew what he was talking about."
“These two memorials are very important for us to get in there and use our expertise to get them completed. We want to be respectful to what they are...memorials to those who have served us.”
The memorial will go near the Memphis Police Department's Headquarters at Poplar Avenue and Main Street. But more than just a memorial wall to fallen Memphis Police officers, it also will include fallen Shelby County Sheriff’s officers.
Jeff Savage said they are excited about what the memorial will mean for the community once it’s completed.
“I think there is a two-sided aspect to these projects for us,” he said. “Yes, we want the projects to be done and done right, but there also is pride in being able to use our expertise to bring these projects to fruition for the community, and that’s what we want to do.”
Metro Construction also finds itself as a general contractor on education projects with charter schools. The company has its ninth charter school under construction now. Many of those opportunities came about through personal referrals and as a result of testimonials from other projects.
“That’s a rewarding side for us,” Jeff Savage said. “It’s rewarding to see the schools have real staying power and know their focus is helping the youth in our city. Our true ambition for the business is to get the job done right, but it’s rewarding to meet deadlines, knowing your helping a new school open.”
Metro Construction last year renovated the former Dunn Elementary School to make way for Memphis College Prep, which relocated from its original home in the Uptown area before the start of the current school year. That transformation of a former school is in contrast to its current school project, new construction of a 40,000-square-foot building for Memphis Rise Academy.
On a personal level, Jeff Savage’s focus with The Phoenix Club keeps him busy with that organization’s mission to support the work of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis. The organization is preparing for the annual Harbor Town 5K in June, which raised $60,000 last year.
And in April the club will spend a day in Como, Mississippi, at Camp Phoenix preparing the property for a summer of camps for the Boys & Girls Clubs youth. Other events include a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in June, a Fight Night in August and a career fair in November for high school juniors and seniors.
When it comes to mentoring youth and young adults, “Our goal is to show them how to go from the ground floor up to the very top, and to support them along that journey,” Jeff Savage said. “You don’t have to be a millionaire to make a difference in your family or our community. We feel strongly that the first big step is to just be there to help them, to show up and be ready to share your time and love.”