When it first opened its doors in 1973 in Chicago, Krusinski Construction Company (KCC) was serving the regional Chicagoland area with two members on its staff, including founder, Joe Krusinski. Today, the now Oak Brook, Illinois-based firm is celebrating its forty-fifth anniversary with a staff of seasoned professionals and projects throughout the country—from Connecticut to California.
However, the earlier years weren’t necessarily the easiest upon having launched the firm, which had been solely focused on speculative industrial product. The recession during the mid-’70s brought spiked interest rates and an oil embargo, causing a short supply-line of construction materials. For Krusinski, that meant having to reassess a plan to diversify into other markets in order to continue operations and growth.
KCC expanded to build-to-suit manufacturing, retail and commercial construction—a period that Krusinski said was a very good thing for the business, as it delved into broader markets and formed new client relationships. And while the recessions come with the cyclical nature of the business, Krusinski said the business would not have been successful if it weren’t for its loyal clients and KCC’s solid financial stability.
“Thanks to our valued repeat customers, we’ve gone through recessions in the marketplace extremely well,” Krusinski said. “And as a company, we’ve been profitable every year we’ve been in business, although not without some sacrifices, but it’s a true testament of our ability to deal with all the challenges in our marketplace and maintain our financial strength and prompt payment to our trade partners.”
KCC persevered through the early years and quickly expanded its portfolio, which included taking on new ventures with its clients. In 1993, that called for its first out-of-state project in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, where KCC’s project team completed an office/distribution center for MG Scientific.
Having worked as the project manager on the job 25 years ago, current KCC vice president, Mike Metz, said working conditions weren’t necessarily pleasant.
“The most memorable part of that project was how windy it was,” he explained. “They call WISPARK the Bermuda Triangle because the wind comes off Lake Michigan and we were constantly getting 30 to 40 mph gusts of wind but if you drove a half mile in either direction, it was calm.”
From Lake Michigan winds to the Southern California dry weather, Metz has seen KCC expand its work in 13 states across the country in the 27 years that he’s been with the firm. He and the rest of the leadership team put an emphasis on KCC’s core values and strive to continuously enhance its culture, innovations and experience, while constantly looking for opportunities to expand its team and portfolio. This includes major projects underway in the healthcare, senior living and multifamily residential sectors.
With the competitive nature of the industry being one of today’s inevitable challenges, it’s critical to stand out from other construction firms but it’s equally as important to stay true to your values. Krusinski attributes the firm’s teamwork, communication and professionalism for its continuous ability to provide a high level of service that has helped retain numerous longstanding clients that have been working with the company since its early years.
“People think of us as general contractors,” Krusinski said. “But because of our relationship with our clients, they get us involved with the process early on and trust us to help them make informed business decisions, like an internal construction department.”
Cultivating these types of relationships with its clients is especially important for KCC, as the company is always looking ahead at ways to better serve its current and future clients. This includes new innovative construction systems and technology, all of which are in the plans for the next 45-plus years to come. Krusinski said the firm has executed a well-planned succession strategy that is all part of its desire to be around for generations to come.
“We consider the ownership team and our dedicated construction staff a business-family, not a family-business,” Krusinski said. “Everyone here is a co-steward of our company, uniquely focused on client satisfaction and responsive service to continue our tradition of long-term business relationships and creating partnerships with those we proudly serve.”