Joseph Skender, chairman of the board of directors at Chicago-based Skender, has announced his retirement and will take on the title of chairman emeritus at the design-build-manufacturing firm. Mark Skender will remain CEO and Cheryl Skender will continue as chair and president of Skender Foundation.
“There’s no way I could’ve imagined what this company would become when my father and I started the company decades ago,” said Joseph Skender. “I’ve always thought that as you’re climbing a ladder you shouldn’t look down. However, I am taking a moment to stop and be thankful for the journey that went into making Skender what it is today. It’s been an amazing ride.”
Joseph Skender graduated from DePaul University in 1980 and joined the small carpentry company his father, Joseph Skender, Sr., started in 1955. Through most of the 1980s, the firm’s work focused on remodeling projects managed by less than 10 employees. Near the end of the decade, the firm undertook two major projects, a mixed-use residential building in Mount Prospect, Illinois, and its first senior housing project for the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. As the projects grew in scope, Joseph Skender put the tools down and transitioned into a strategic leadership role.
In the early 2000s, Skender broke $30 million in revenues, established itself as the contractor of choice in the senior housing market and opened an office in downtown Chicago. By the end of the decade, the firm had achieved more than $100 million in revenues, consolidated its offices to Chicago’s Loop and diversified its offerings across sectors including healthcare, public projects, retail and corporate interiors to continue company growth even in an economic downturn. Last year, Skender innovated further, moving toward vertical integration which includes construction, design and building component manufacturing functions.
“Our people and our passion for quality have stayed consistent as the company has radically changed,” said Joseph Skender. “I’m most proud of the opportunities we’ve created for people, both inside and outside the organization. We are dedicated to continued employee education and training, and have always been generous to those in our community. Establishing the Skender Foundation, which strengthens the reach of our charitable giving, impacts the lives around us in ways we can never fully grasp.”