Third generation owner sells Selzer-Ornst construction company

Construction executive takes over operations


Robert Ornst, Jr., the third generation owner of Wauwatosa-based construction company Selzer-Ornst Co., has sold the firm to a former executive with Gilbane Building Company.

Ornst Jr.

Matthew Tadisch left his role as a project executive at Gilbane in May, and purchased the 89-year-old company on June 1.

Ornst will remain with the company for the next several months to oversee the transition.

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“Over the last few years, I started wondering what I was going to do,” Ornst said. “We didn’t have a succession family member and I was either going to have to liquidate or sell, and then I was introduced to Matt who was looking for an opportunity.”

The two talked for several months before deciding to move forward with the deal.


Ornst, 61, has worked at the business since he was 14 years old.

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He said Monday he is not quite sure yet what he will do when he no longer goes to the office, but he knows he made the right decision with Tadisch.

“I am very confident and happy with what Matt is doing and will feel good when I do leave,” Ornst said.

As for Tadisch, he plans on getting acquainted with the firm’s 40-50 employees, all of whom he will retain. And then wants to grow the existing business.

Tadisch plans on keeping the Selzer-Ornst name.

“I always had a goal in the back of my mind of having ownership in an organization and I am just blessed to be part of one with the history this one has,” Tadisch said. “The way Selzer-Ornst has impacted the Milwaukee skyline; this seemed like a no-brainer.”

The company is currently working on a 238-space, four-story parking structure for the Pritzlaff Building near downtown Milwaukee and several tenant improvement projects in downtown office buildings.

Previous projects include the MillerCoors tour center and training center, the Ambassador Hotel lobby, the Brass Light Gallery and White Stone Station development in Menomonee Falls.

“I look forward to taking this opportunity to continue the fine traditions of Selzer-Ornst Construction Company into its 90th year and beyond,” Tadisch said. “We have an outstanding history of construction excellence and exceptional talent at this company and we will continue to offer the commitment, quality and value that Selzer-Ornst Construction Company is known for.”

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