Ben Warriner didn’t have any family history in construction, but it was always an interest of his since he can remember. Warriner went to the University of Illinois for Civil Engineering with an emphasis on Construction Management and then right into the commercial construction world when he graduated.
There is a lot of satisfaction that comes with taking a concept and seeing it through to a finished product,” said Warriner, executive vice president/partner at Morgan/Harbour Construction. “The process to get there requires a lot of different people with different backgrounds coming together to pool their skill sets into making the project a reality. That process of getting from A to B is always different. No one deal is the same. No one day is the same for that matter. There is certainly nothing boring about what we do.”
Warriner noted that he’s very excited about the opportunities Morgan/Harbour has been afforded for the coming year.
“It’s a very diverse mix of projects,” he said. “We are doing several high end tenant build out projects in the suburbs and Chicago, an event venue in Chicago, a couple ground-up industrial warehouse projects, a medical office building, a waste transfer station, and looking at another airport hangar out of state. The industry as a whole has a lot of momentum coming off last year and I look for that to continue in 2015. As a company, we are looking at one of our best years to date, and the year is just starting.”
Reflecting back on 2014, the biggest lesson Warriner said he learned is that customer service really does pay off.
“Rather than making customer service an incidental part of our business, we made it the core value with which we are based,” he said. “Even through the recession we stayed true to those fundamentals. It can still be pretty painful to get a deal done even in an improving market.”
“There is a lot of effort helping our clients chase deals that never came to fruition,” Warriner continued. “But you stick with it, keep coming up with different approaches and value add ideas and eventually you see results both for our clients and us in terms of construction projects. That mentality has paid off for us and will continue to be our main driver in the years to come.”
So how does Warriner find the balance between work and the things that keep him sane? He said it’s all about perspective. “At the end of the day, as crazy as things may have been with your work, you need to remember what is truly important.”
His greatest accomplishment outside of working in commercial real estate is undoubtedly his loved ones! “My family first and foremost. But after that, I have to say it has been a great accomplishment to help get Morgan/Harbour where it is today.”
Favorite movie of the moment? “Not sure it is a favorite, but I thought the Interview was pretty good. At least James Franco’s character.”
After 15 years in the construction industry, if Warriner could give himself advice as he was just starting in the industry, he’d say this, “Learn under fire. There is no such thing as a perfect plan. The most important thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and never make the same mistake twice.”