Builders Plus Construction CEO Chris Callen was in Illinois this week, but not to visit one of his company’s job sites.
“This is more of a research trip,” he said.
Builders Plus, a concrete subcontractor, grew with the help of new technology, and its second generation of leadership plans to follow that same forward-looking course. Indeed, the company is now developing technology of its own.
Chris Callen’s father, Hal, started the company in 1985. Callen took over as CEO in 2014.
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This year, Builders Plus started a new division called GRIT, which helps clients virtually simulate projects with the goal of improving productivity and uncovering potential problems.
“We created that so we can offer that outside our walls and be able to provide more than just concrete subcontracting services,” Callen said.
When Builders Plus moved to new headquarters downtown, it also created a workspace there for startups, called GroundWork. It’s part of Chris Callen’s effort to keep the company on the cutting edge of his industry.
Q: Best business advice you have received:
A: “I had a mentor in college who told me a company is nothing without its people.”
Q: Best business advice you wish you’d followed:
A: “… Lean in to your differences, be unique, be yourself, and respect those around you, but don’t necessarily feel like you have to fit in.”
Q: What sets your company apart?
A: I think technology is a huge aspect. And we’re much more engaged in our community.”
Q: Why do you prefer to run your own business as opposed to working for someone else?
A: “I love the creative aspect. I also love being able to throw myself into what I’m doing and not think of it as a job but more of a calling.”
Q: What’s your company’s next goal?
A: “I think the goal would be to start turning some of the R&D projects into operations, transferring the things we’ve learned over the last couple of years and actually start putting it in the hands of those on the jobsite.”
Name of business: Builders Plus Construction
Year founded: 1985
Owners: Hal and Donna Callen
Address: 1520 E. Douglas, Suite 100