Creating a New Industry With Purpose
August 20, 2023
Photo credit: Blox
With a background in architecture and a strong commitment to community development, Laura G. Donald, Chief Operating Officer at Blox, saw potential in what others merely saw as a vacant and dilapidated structure located in one of the nation’s most dangerous cities after dark. Recognizing the inherent potential of the structure with a beautiful skeleton and one million square feet of naturally lit space, Laura led her company to lease a small area in the massive facility with an eye towards one day filling the structure with bustling manufacturing operations. Today, the company owns and occupies the entire 50-acre facility and is on track to exceed $200 million in revenue out of the campus in 2023 and has initiated by way of a non-profit redevelopment of the surrounding community to help rebuild what was once a thriving community.
Blox currently operates twelve manufacturing lines dedicated to the production of volumetric building modules that are shipped and assembled on project sites across the nation to create healthcare structures such as Free-standing Emergency Departments, Primary Care Clinics, Behavioral Care and Rehabilitative Hospitals. The company utilizes a vertically integrated delivery model known as DesignManufactureConstruct™ which brings designers, manufacturers, and installers together under a single roof in a way that supports collaboration and innovative problem solving to produce buildings with higher quality, faster and more efficiently than traditional methods. Laura attributes the company’s ongoing success to the strategic partnerships formed with world-class clients, the company’s DMC product delivery and the strength of the company’s culture.
With her extensive experience in the architecture and construction industry (having worked on numerous award-winning projects), Laura brings a unique perspective and valuable insight for the new approach to manufacturing buildings at Blox. Her strategic decision-making has been crucial in expanding Blox’s manufacturing operation and accommodating the growing demand for modular healthcare facilities. She has built a strong and effective operational team, envisioned innovative solutions, and driven the company toward achieving its goals. Her ability to see untapped potential in the world around her and challenge industry norms has helped the company revolutionize how modular healthcare facilities are delivered to some of the nation’s largest companies and healthcare systems including HCA Healthcare, Universal Health Services Inc, Walmart Health.
The steadfast leader strongly advocates diversity and inclusion in the workplace. By fostering a workforce that exceeds industry averages in terms of minority and female representation, she has created an environment where everyone can feel valued and have equal opportunities to thrive. This commitment to inclusivity has enhanced the skills of Blox's workforce and contributed to the company's overall success. By fostering a culture of respect, collaboration and continuous growth, she supports an environment that encourages innovation and empowers employees to make meaningful contributions.
Laura endeavors to be a good role model and lead by example, demonstrating positive leadership qualities. Though her drive to make things better, unwavering determination, passion for innovation, and commitment to continuous learning, she seeks to inspire other team members. By embodying the values of the company, she strives daily to demonstrate a high standard for leadership that may serve as encouragement for others as they develop as leaders in the company.
Beyond her professional achievements, Laura is deeply committed to community service. Her involvement and support of organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and the Bessemer Redevelopment Corporation demonstrates her dedication to community development. By actively contributing to community housing construction and redevelopment efforts, she has strengthened the connection between Blox and the communities it serves.
Under Laura’s leadership, Blox has experienced exceptional growth expanding its workforce from 15 to over 600 employees while sustaining a 65% Compounded Annual Growth Rate year-after-year. Her strength as a visionary leader, strategic thinker, advocate for diversity and inclusion, and community development have served Blox well. Laura’s unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation have shaped the company's team and culture, helping position BLOX as a pioneering force in the construction industry.
Blox’s goal in the next five years is to increase the rate of production for the volumetric module lines from a single module each day to a module every hour which will drive an increase in company revenue from $200 million to over $1 billion. To achieve this growth, Blox’s team of architects, engineers, manufacturers and installers have embraced recent advances in generative technologies and machine learning in addition to advances in automation and robotics to create an employee friendly, technology enabled workplace that delivers the high-quality products with speed and predictability. Laura is confident that the Blox team, undergirded by newest technologies, will continue to advance their mission to make things that strengthen clients, enhance communities, and advance innovation while delivering buildings twice as good, twice as fast, and with twice the value of those made by anyone anywhere. The company aims to accomplish this mission while fostering a workplace culture of fun and enjoyment.
To learn more about Blox and the DesignManufactureConstruct™ approach or to learn how you can be a part of the growing DMC ecosystem, go to www.bloxbuilt.com.