Events both big and small have happened over the last fifty years, and many of the businesses that were founded fifty years ago have adjusted. The coming of new technology, techniques, and ways of life ensure that businesses are pushed to adapt to the ever-changing world. One such company is Bukacek Construction, founded in 1963 by the private owner Jim Bukacek.
The company first came to life in Racine, Wisconsin as a general contracting firm that went to work building houses. Over the years, it has evolved to meet shifting client needs and those of its skilled employees.
As time went on, the work began to shift to more commercial and industrial markets, and in1976, Jim’s son Nick had joined the company as a professional engineer. The company’s influence in the Midwest continued to spread as it poured more resources into commercial and industrial construction, and in the early nineties, Nick bought the company from his father.
This ushered in one of the biggest challenges faced by Bukacek Construction, which was turning the privately-owned company into one that was owned by its employees.
“That transformation from a single-entity, privately-owned company into an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) was a challenge but it worked out for those employed at Bukacek,” said Bukacek Construction Director of Project Development Vince Milewski.
The company had to seriously evaluate its employee capability during this complex period of transition. This started in 2001, and it should come as no surprise that Bukacek Construction is still run as an employee-owned company that values long-term commitments to both its employees and its clients.
People who care deeply about the company’s success are at the reins, ensuring the client’s needs are precisely met. Staff take on a myriad of jobs that range from a day’s work to several months of both planning and execution for projects that can reach up to $30 million.
“One of the biggest keys to our company has been becoming an ESOP, so that creates an ownership team which is larger than just two or three key individuals in a company, and I think that makes the difference, as it allows us all to act like owners as we perform our job, because we are. So we very much have a stake in the game and want to make sure we’re successful and do a great job for our clients,” said Vince.
Today, Bukacek Construction serves the Midwest through purely commercial and industrial construction projects, constructing factories, warehouses, distribution centers, and more. These can be offices, such as the work done for Johnson Credit Union, or retail build-outs for restaurants. The company has also worked closely with the Racine Unified School District and occasionally within the healthcare industry. Recently, it completed large jobs for Roland Machinery Company and Kriete Truck Center, two companies found in Racine County.
“We create an environment where we build trust through our processes and build a long-term customer base,” said Vince.
Bukacek employs cement masons, rough and finish carpenters, and building laborers to round out the traditional trades and contractor work that is done in house. Project managers and administrative personnel make up the office side, along with Vince Milewski being the staff architect. Other specialists such as painters, drywallers, flooring experts, electricians, and plumbers are contracted, employing local businesses as part of the company’s major projects.
Bukacek is proud to have strong ties to the local community where it originated. These ties cover supporting a variety of charities, local advisement, and employment for people who live in and around Racine County.
Bukacek Construction supports local charities like the Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization (HALO), which attempts to give homeless people a true second chance and not just a roof over their head for one or two nights. It is heavily involved in Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC) which represents all businesses in the community, big or small, to ensure everyone gets a voice and help the community thrive on local business. The company also has ties to the Racine Prairie School and acts as an adviser to the mayor for downtown planning and growth.
“Maintaining our own base crews of tradespeople represents a commitment on our behalf to the local Racine and Milwaukee area. We provide a good living to those trades, and we take pride in doing our own work because we understand the scheduling, the quality, and the costs that have to be met. So we’re very proud of the fact that we’re more than a paper general, which many contractors are in today’s world,” said Vince.
Many modern contractors get bids from sub-contractors and take the lowest bid but lack the knowledge held by the owners and operators of Bukacek Construction. The people at Bukacek have the experience to assess the time and cost of a job, and the company employs people who know how to work safely, all the procedures, and how to put together a quality building.
Bukacek Construction is well-known is southeastern Wisconsin but has also not been afraid to venture forth to other surrounding areas like Illinois, Nebraska, Michigan, and Minnesota. With 2019 in full swing, the company aims to further increase its sales volume, increasing the value of the company for its employees.
One of the many ways it intends to entice new clients is through its recent partnership with Varco Pruden. As a supplier of Varco Pruden, Bukacek will be able to add computer-designed metal buildings and steel construction to the existing construction offerings.
Bukacek Construction fully intends to continue offering the same quality work for which it has become known. From its early days to the bustling employee-owned company of today, it has worked hard to maintain a legacy of quality and trust that has seen it through to this level of success.