BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Bob Simi

Bob Simi, vice president for business development for Milwaukee at Miron Construction Co. Inc.
Company address: Milwaukee office is at 10700 Research Dr., Ste. 100, Wauwatosa. Corporate office is located in Neenah.
Website: www.miron-construction.com
Industry: Commercial construction
Number of employees: Six at the Milwaukee office, but just over 1,200 total company-wide
Family: Wife: Claudine Simi, commercial banker at BMO Harris; twin eight-year-old boys
 
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“I’ve worked to maintain a laser focus on our core business of providing superior construction management services at a very competitive market rate. The Lambeau Field expansion was an excellent example. After meeting or exceeding the Packers’ goals for their $145 million Phase I Expansion of the north and south end zones, the Packers hired us for the next phase, the complete renovation of the Lambeau Field atrium.”

What’s new at your company?
“Volume is up. We are anticipating having what may be a record year for revenue. We continue to do more and more work not only in Milwaukee but throughout the nation. Biofuels and food and beverage and other industrial work seem to be the first sectors rebounding. While we’ve seen an uptick in several markets, those seem to be leading the way.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“Yes. We are actively hiring project managers and field personnel to keep up with the demand, as well as support personnel. We made a very unique hire recently in our human resources department with someone whose sole function is to assist employees with charting out their personal and professional lives and helping them get there. I have never worked for a company that allocated resources to such a position.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Keeping up with continued demand for our services with the rebounding economy. A lot of the pent-up demand for facilities is hitting the marketplace and the capital is starting to loosen.”
 
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“We are the leaders in sustainability in Wisconsin with more LEED projects built and more LEED accredited professionals certified than other construction firms. Clients continue to demand sustainable solutions, and a high level of sustainability is expected in projects these days. Probably the biggest demand as of late is clients seeking services related to, but in addition to, core construction services. So we partner on several occasions with people in the real estate, design and finance markets to provide a comprehensive suite of services. Our clients want what all of us consumers want: our products and services ‘easier, better and for a lower cost.’”

Do you have a business mantra?
“‘No one cares about what you care about until they know that you care about them.’ I wish I could footnote or accurately cite that quote, but I do not know where I got it from.”
 
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“Anyone who has been successful in business because of his or her integrity, not despite it. My friends in the private sector who come to mind are Jon Baranko, the chief equity officer of Wells Fargo, and Jay Mack, the president of Town Bank. On the public/non-profit side – my friend Mike Lovell, the chancellor of UWM, as well as Chukuka Enwemeka, the dean of the UWM College of Health Sciences. They are all high-integrity guys and very successful from a family and professional standpoint.”

What was the best advice you ever received? 
“Live by the Golden Rule: treat others as you would have them treat you.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career? 
“I almost forgot the Top Secret communications gear right before I left on a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea when I was in the Marine Corps. It wasn’t funny then, but my fellow Marine Corps officers always remind me of it and we get a laugh…or at least they do.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“I like to spend as much time with my family doing anything or nothing.”

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