Building Trust Since 1910’ is not simply a slogan at Camosy Construction; it is the guiding principle by which the owners and general management operate the business, and it has carried the company to great success. It is a full-service construction management company, with a significant focus on public sector work.
Camosy was founded by construction carpenter and surveyor Dominic Camosy in 1910. For forty years, the company prospered while designing and building homes and commercial facilities. In the 1950s, the company expanded its work to include governmental, educational, ecclesiastical, healthcare and industrial sector work. In the 1960s, Camosy raised the bar for construction contractors in the area by becoming among the first to employ college educated project managers and full-time estimators and purchasing agents to professionally manage the construction process and by installing a mainframe computer for electronic data processing.
Over the years, Camosy has won many industry awards and honors. It was named nine times by Engineering News-Record Magazine (ENR) as one of the top four hundred contractors in the nation. Today, the company is in its third generation of family ownership with over one hundred years of service to the community.
Camosy believes that the secret to its success is in building and maintaining trusting relationships with both clients and employees. Camosy is unique in the construction industry in that it has a very high retention rate. Virtually all of the senior staff – project managers, project coordinators and field superintendents – have been with Camosy for over twenty-five years.
Many of them have been with the company for their entire careers. As a result, they have cultivated longstanding, deep relationships that translate into an unparalleled team-based expertise that is turned over to the clients. This loyalty has resulted in something that makes it stand out in the construction management marketplace: project management teams that have worked with each other for decades.
“I consider myself a relative newcomer to Camosy,” says John Bosman, quality control manager. “Let me put that in perspective. I’ve been here for ten years, and other than two others, I’ve been here the shortest amount of time of anyone in the firm.”
Camosy builds and strengthens relationships that continue to develop a strong reputation for the company. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that all of its project managers are Certified Professional Constructors (CPC), an accreditation of the American Institute of Constructors. The CPC is the highest level of qualification bestowed by the institute, and the designation adds further reassurance to potential and existing clients.
The CPC certification is rare in the field of construction project management, and Camosy requires all of its project managers to be CPC certified. The company believes that having the right, experienced people in the right positions makes all the difference, and it has those with more experience teach younger, newer construction professionals, thereby always progressing the workforce and building a better, more efficient operation with every opportunity.
Camosy splits its project teams based upon the cost of the project; projects under one million dollars go to one team, while projects costing over one million go under the management of a separate team designated for high-cost operations. This individualized service is vital to its success.
Camosy has contributed to several significant projects over the years. One of these is the Brookside Care Center.
The Brookside Care Center skilled nursing facility is a 19.7 million dollar two-phase project. The first phase involved the construction of two linked buildings: a one-story community-based residential facility and a two-story rehabilitation facility which together added 68,000 square feet to the campus. The second phase, which is currently underway at the time of this writing, is a substantial remodeling of the existing facility. The project is due for completion in early summer of 2018.
The Kenosha Unified School District project, which includes multiple sites at a total cost of over sixteen million dollars, is another recent project. This includes several athletic fields, football athletic turf and multiple school building improvements. This project is currently in its second phase, with an estimated completion date of August 2017. Camosy does the vast majority of its work in the summer season to meet deadlines before the start of the school year. It is currently ahead of schedule.
The Brookside and Kenosha projects are managed by the same project manager and estimator. The team manages the massive workload with ease, thanks to their vast knowledge and experience.
A third notable project is the Wheeling Park’s District Community Recreation Center expansion and renovation project, which is in the pre-construction phase. Ground is expected to break in the spring of 2018, with an estimated completion date of the spring or summer of 2019, at a total cost of sixteen million dollars.
Camosy is proud of all of its projects, and these three examples are just a sample of the exciting work that it is doing.
As a full-service construction management firm with a spotless reputation, the firm receives many opportunities. Its greatest challenge is finding enough qualified professionals to handle the workload. “Perhaps our biggest challenge right now has to be finding people who want to be in the construction industry, in particular, young people, to get them to work in the trades,” says Bosman.
“It appears that, for better or worse, it’s dying to a great degree, and it’s hard finding people who respect what it takes to be a skilled craftsman going into the trades. The focus on ‘you have to have a college education to get a decent job’ has caused people to look down on the tradesmen as being somehow less intelligent and less competent, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
Bosman believes that learning a skilled trade is a different kind of education with no less merit than any other. “Some of the smartest people I know are tradesmen who every day have to solve problems that the average college graduate couldn’t even begin to understand how to get to that solution. They have this unique blend of book smarts and practical knowledge that allows them to solve problems in the field in a matter of minutes,” says Bosman.
Camosy has taken this opportunity to become engaged in the community, and some members of the organization are partnering with Kenosha County schools to engage students, speak to them about their career interests and to educate them on the field of construction management. Construction project management is an industry with a capacity for explosive growth, and the opportunities to learn and expand are practically limitless.
Camosy has a remarkably low turnover and knows how to identify, train and retain talented people who can help make the firm excel. Management believes that the employees and their attitude are unique in the industry. Working at the company is not simply a job; it is a blend of career and lifestyle. Clients feel this commitment at every step in the project. This makes them a firm of choice for top companies all across Wisconsin.
The first job Camosy did for Carthage College was in the 1950s, and it still does a great deal of college work more than sixty years later. It has been building projects for Kenosha School District since the 1960s. “Those kinds of relationships speak about our culture and how we have built that with our clients over many years,” says Bosman. Camosy’s commitment to long-lasting, trusting relationships will keep it at the top of the list for years to come.
John Camosy, company president, explains how it all began. “One of my first jobs after I graduated, it was a big job in the late 1980s, early 1990s for the village of Palatine. We did a public works facility for them. It was a very successful project even though it was competitively bid. We had a great relationship with them. When the village decided to go down the road of a construction manager, the same guy that ran the job for the village in the late eighties early nineties was the one who was leading the RFP (request for proposal) process for the Palatine police station.”
“So we interviewed for it and were successful. We finished the job on schedule and substantially under budget and that allowed them to build the Palatine town hall, and they negotiated that job with us because of the past relationship,” says John. “Build a relationship, do a good job, and the rewards come in other ways than just squeezing the last nickel out of the job. You get a client for decades.”