Each year, Midwest Real Estate News honors the top CRE professionals in the Midwest in its Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame issue. This year, we are running those profiles online, too, in the hopes that you will learn what it takes to succeed in the competitive world of commercial real estate.
Today, we are highlighting the career of John Reilly, president of Peak Construction in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Taking the right approach: Active in the construction and CRE industry for more than 25 years, John Reilly is known for his pragmatic yet inventive approach to modern design-build, and the ability to cultivate and sustain a culture of integrity and inventiveness that leads to award-winning projects at Peak Construction Company.
“Most of our opportunities and challenges in design and construction are ‘one-of-a-kind.’ Therefore, most of our solutions are also ‘one-of-a-kind,'” Reilly told us. “Being a thinker and problem-solver at heart, the ‘one-of-a-kind’ aspect of this business, whether applied to projects, people, or Peak itself plays right into my sweet spot.”
All state: Reilly is a long-time Illinois guy, graduating from Lombard’s Montini Catholic High School, earning a bachelor’s degree in architectural studies from the University of Illinois, then a simultaneous master’s degree in architecture and science/civil engineering from the University of Illinois.
A long, varied career: Reilly started his career as a project engineer at Chicago’s McClier Corporation, where he worked on high-profile projects like the Brookfield Zoo, Shedd Aquarium, Barilla Pasta, the New York Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. He became a leader in the Newspaper/Media Strategic Business Unit, and found his expertise niche in project details, which would translate to his successful leadership of various multi-million dollar projects at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital while at Power Construction Company, his next career stop.
After 14 years in the industry, Reilly accepted a position as vice president at Peak, and has been with the firm for 11 years, five as president.
Finding a home: Reilly found a home at Peak, where he embraces the firm’s “Do the Right Thing” mantra. John’s operational guidance has helped grow Peak into an $80 million nationwide design-build firm. His drive to dissect the details has helped him lead well-known projects at Peak, including Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital projects, the Chicago Marriott Naperville Marriott’s 2012 opening, the Evanston Hyatt House and the Marriott Resident Inn in Bolingbrook, Illinois.
Sought-after opinions: Chicago’s real estate publications frequently call on Reilly for opinions, and he authors many of Peak’s thought-leadership pieces.
“By playing to my strengths of patience, diligence, fortitude, and prudence, I have been able to gain the respect of my peers,” he said. “Leading by example. Taking no ill-conceived shortcuts. Being comfortable with discomfort.”
Trophy case: Reilly has cleaned up at Engineering News-Record, with wins including ENR Midwest Best Projects (Manufacturing) – 2017; ENR Midwest Top Contractor 2015, 2016, 2017; Midwest Real Estate News Best of the Best Construction Companies – 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017; ENR Midwest Best Projects Award of Merit (Manufacturing) – 2014, plus the National Association of Industrial & Office Properties Chicago General Contractor of the Year – 2012, 2013.