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The Art of Delivering Promises

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In the Midwest of the United States, on the Stateline of Wisconsin and Illinois, lies the city of Beloit. A rich and bustling city, those familiar with the area have witnessed remarkable and widespread changes over the past few years with millions of dollars of investment being put into the area. Recent renovation projects have rejuvenated the city landscape and created vibrant new spaces where community can thrive. One of the major players in this transformation is general contracting company CCI (Corporate Contractors Inc.), which for over 40 years has actively supported the growth of the Stateline area. Among other impressive projects, CCI has recently repurposed a 100-year-old coal-burning power plant into a student union and athletic center, transformed a retail center area into a school, and built a new baseball stadium home to the Beloit Sky Carp team. However, its contribution is not limited to construction work. The company is equally known for its series of outreach activities, including fundraising campaigns, volunteer projects, and donations. CCI believes in delivering promises and giving back to the community. We met with Vice President of Business Development, Kevin Day, and its Director of Business and Workforce Development, Heather Dobson, to learn more about CCI’s work.

ABC Supply Stadium – Photo by Aerial One Imaging

CCI was originally founded as an in-house construction team for ABC Supply Co, Inc. to renovate and construct service center locations throughout the country. What began as an internal department at the company developed into the standalone entity it is today through continued growth and expansion. However, it wasn’t until the 2008 recession that CCI started diversifying its portfolio of clients beyond the in-house work it had thrived on. “It’s created a lot of really exciting partnerships and opportunities for us to grow, to control our own destiny and to be strategic,” says Dobson. She joined the company in 2017, and together with Day, she works on tracking strategic development opportunities. Over the past six years, Dobson has seen CCI double in both volume and associates. After acquiring Lowell Custom Homes in 2022, a high-end custom home designer and builder based in the Lake Geneva area, the company now counts an impressive 160 employees. The acquisition was the most recent move in its strategic plan to support the company’s growth and its positive impact on the community. “Scott Lowell wanted to find a company that could carry his legacy, and culture-wise, we really align with each other because we are about quality of life here,” says Day. “It was a great acquisition. That’s an example of how we’re trying to expand our offerings, and then geographically, it moves us to the East which is an area that we’d like to grow.” With its headquarters in Beloit, an office in Delafield just outside Milwaukee, and Lowell’s office in Lake Geneva, CCI is well placed to expand its business as a commercial, industrial and residential builder in Southern Wisconsin. Day describes CCI more as a solution provider than a general contractor or a builder. “We listen well, and we meet expectations. The projects that we excel at are not the norm. They always involve some challenges. It may be budgetary, it might be design, it might be that you’re working with a hundred-year-old building. It could be a variety of different things. Being in the business as long as CCI has, we can use past experiences to benefit our customers.”

With a wide array of self-performed services, which include design, construction management, carpentry, roofing, masonry, custom fabrication, facility services, demolition, and excavation, the company offers its clients everything they need. “CCI focuses on delivering the promise,” says Dobson. “Our aim is to offer the right services and solutions by following through and delivering on what the client is hoping for. If our team isn’t the best option because of timing or location, then we will always look for the best partner for the project.” The company’s continued growth, evidenced by the range and scope of its clients and customers, is proof that not only are its promises being met but excelled. The quality and variety of CCI’s services have attracted contracts with some of the larger companies in the Stateline area. “We can provide just about anything our clients would need when it comes to the envelopes of the building and also its interior renovations,” says Day.

“We listen well, and we meet expectations.”

With over 40 years of experience, the team at CCI is not afraid to take on a challenge. In fact, as Day explains, some of its most memorable projects have involved breathing new life into previously forgotten spaces. “We have a good eye for renovation, adaptive reuse, being creative, finding out ways that we can turn some old dirty building into something that people will actually utilize and enjoy.”

The city of Beloit displays some of CCI’s most remarkable works. The Powerhouse, for example, is a recent addition to Beloit College. Previously an old, decommissioned coal power plant, the building has now been transformed into a student union and athletic center with a competition pool. This new space where students can meet up, practice sports, and express themselves in performing arts is an incredible asset to the local community. The Lincoln Academy is another remarkable project completed by CCI. The company transformed a retail center area to host an independent charter school where young learners can gain exposure to a variety of careers and explore their interests as early as kindergarten. Interesting features of this new school include a glass-walled utility room where scholars can view the color-coded workings of the mechanical system as well as working ambulance that was hoisted into an upper classroom for the scholars to learn EMS training.

Alongside renovation and construction work, CCI’s purpose-driven projects include initiatives to help and grow the local community. For Dobson, this is an integral part of what the company stands for. “We also do a lot with our non-profits in the area. It is important because we want to give something back to our community by putting in a playground or bringing a youth group in alongside us to build buddy benches for schools in the area.” This dedication to its locality is evidenced by the work completed on the ABC Stadium. Taking place during the pandemic, CCI spent 12 months working to finish the project successfully. The company saw this project as an opportunity to keep high school students engaged during such tumultuous times. To this end, it organized for the students to visit the baseball stadium during construction and interview CCI’s crew. “Our biggest focus is really on youth, veterans, and families,” says Dobson, “and our biggest single effort is our Building the Future Community event, in partnership with CareerTek and Dare to Dream. This year we had 800 people visit between volunteers and attendees. It’s to give exposure to the construction industry. So, kids were learning how to be a surveyor or sitting in equipment or understanding roofing.”

Another important initiative organized by CCI is the associate-funded Power of Us Scholarship Program, which is completely run and funded by the company’s associates. “Our associates love it,” says Dobson, “it’s just as important to them to be able to give back.” CCI’s culture of giving is also reflected in the wide variety of activities offered to its associates to promote their well-being as well as their personal and professional growth. For Dobson, ensuring the health of its team members is a cornerstone of the ethos at CCI. “We have a wellness program to help with financial wellness, mental wellness, and physical wellness. We also have a life coach on staff for our Dream Builder program to talk to our associates and their spouses and children about their life goals and what they are striving for.”

With a rich history and a wealth of experience, the company remains deeply rooted in its midwestern origin and in the community in which it has been thriving for the past 40 years. However, it is no surprise to learn that CCI has one eye on the future. As Dobson explains, the development and growth of the associates at CCI is key to the continued success of the company. With plans afoot to grow even further, Dobson believes that once its staff are fulfilled the sky is truly the limit. “We’ve had people that have moved up in the company, people that have moved sideways in the company and people that have transferred to different departments and divisions. So, we really do try to help people find what makes them happy and find a place where they really are going to thrive at CCI.”

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