Just a Minute with Craig Coursin, President, MSI General Corp.

Company address: P.O. Box 7, Oconomowoc, WI  53066

Company Web site: www.msigeneral.com

Industry: Fully integrated single source design-build, architecture and construction

Number of employees: 55

Company’s annual revenues: $40 million to $50 million

Your education: B.S. in architecture, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning

Family: Wife, Lisa; children Adam, Ashley and Sara.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year? 

“We concentrated on performance. We continued to serve our customers at a very high level, and we have a culture of FUN.  I think the key to MSI General’s success is having great people on the front lines, and sharing the experience with the owner. Design and construction is a fun, active process. We listen to their needs and provide them with great pre-construction and design services, and follow through to the construction completion.  We also continuously improve our systems and ask everybody to contribute to that process.”

What’s new at your company? 

“Well, since I have only been here four months, I would say it’s me. Dirk Debbink moved into the chairman’s seat, and I began as the new president on June 1. That said, we have a number of new initiatives we are actively working on. We continue to incorporate ‘Green Architecture,’ like natural landscape, bio-swales and building energy-saving devices, as a standard within our specifications on all projects. Our people are becoming LEED-certified, and we are in conversation with all of our clients about how to continue advancing this as a standard way to do business.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“Yes, we are looking to hire a structural engineer, an estimator (front end buy-out project manager), a superintendent and potentially a project manager. On the capital side, we will be expanding our office space to accommodate a new design area to give us more flexibility in the office.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Building our customer base and delivering an excellent product to our customer is our main goal and our main challenge.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“I think there are two, ‘Sustainability’ or ‘Green Architecture,’ and BIM (building information modeling). Both have become very important to both the clients and the industry. BIM gives an owner a great deal of useful information on their building that they can access immediately electronically. Right now, the way BIM is being used just scratches the surface, and the focus is on how it can help the design and construction team. In the long term it will become an owner’s tool.” 

Do you have a business mantra?

“Single source responsibility.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I would say there are several local business heroes. Tim Hoeksema at Midwest Airlines for standing his ground and believing in his core values, Tim Sullivan at Bucyrus International Inc. for having the courage to expand the company (I had the pleasure of working with him on that project), and Dennis Kuester at M & I Bank who is one of the hardest-working nice guys I have ever met.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“Follow your heart, be honest no matter what and do the right thing.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“Multiple golfing fiascos, but the one that sticks in my mind is hitting my drive 90 degrees in the wrong direction, hitting the tee marker, and watching it hit behind me on the adjacent green while that foursome was putting. Everyone was on the ground laughing after that one.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Hanging out with my wife, family and friends. My biggest hobby right now is playing in a newly formed classic rock band called Alter Ego. It’s a nice diversion – as my kids are all getting old and leaving for college.”

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