A Capital New Home for the KA Madison Team
Photos above: Ribbon cutting for the KA Madison team’s new office at 151 E. Wilson St; Rendering of LaCrosse Center.
With its beautiful new office space overlooking Lake Monona and just a short walk to the State Capitol, Kraus-Anderson’s Wisconsin team looks like it’s arrived. Yet if you ask Tom Roepke, after operating for almost two decades in the state, it’s just getting started.
“There’s still so much opportunity for us to grow here,” says Vice President and Director of Operations Tom Roepke. Here’s a look at the future from Tom’s perspective.
You recently moved into a beautiful new office space just a few blocks from the State Capitol in downtown Madison. Talk about the strategy behind the move.
TOM ROEPKE, VP/ DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS: We wanted to have a true presence in Madison with an environment that supports employee acquisition and retention. We really wanted to provide our team an environment that was highly functional, leverages technology, and provides a mix of collaborative and independent work spaces.
What does the new environment provide to your employees and guests?
TOM ROEPKE: A landmark presence downtown, and an unparalleled gathering/entertainment/social space.
This move is the latest milestone in our ongoing commitment to our clients in Wisconsin. Talk about some of those primary markets and clients and how they’ve helped shape our path in this region.
TOM ROEPKE: To date, I feel that our largest impacts have been in the healthcare and retail market sectors. The inpatient and outpatient healthcare facilities we have completed for Gundersen Health System have had the largest impact here in Wisconsin. As an example our recently completed Tomah Clinic project adjacent to Tomah’s new hospital is such a tremendous resource to that region and local community. It will improve people’s lives and service that area for years to come.
I also feel that our work in the world of retail is a differentiator for us, and definitely has an ongoing impact on so many people. From the sheer number of people that casually stroll through one of the three Cabela’s stores Kraus-Anderson built here in Wisconsin, to the outdoor enthusiasts we meet that tell us they always make a stop at the remodeled Scheels store in Eau Claire whenever they’re in the area, and to the construction professionals and DIY’ers that shop at Menards and Lowe’s throughout the state. Also of mention is the work we have done for automotive dealerships owned by Wilde Automotive, Home Run Auto, and the latest project we are completing for new-to-the-market Lupient family of dealerships. These projects employee hundreds of people throughout the state and generate millions of dollars of revenue into our local and state economy.
Tom, you’ve led this office since 2005. What, for you, has changed about working in this region?
TOM ROEPKE: I think what has changed the most is the variety of projects we look at each year. Our team has continued to grow and mature in our industry and markets we serve.
What has been consistent?
TOM ROEPKE: Our clients to a large degree. We are so grateful for the number of repeat clients we have. There is nothing better than when one or more of our team members serves as a trusted advisor to our clients. We are fortunate to provide services to our clients that truly add value to their businesses. Our clients are experts in their industries, and we often asked provide a very dynamic list of services they oftentimes could not provide themselves.
Why do you have a passion for this market and this region?
TOM ROEPKE: I am most passionate about the opportunities our team has to build enduring relationships and really deliver for our clients. One of our teams completed a very intrusive project for Wilde Automotive Group a couple of years ago. The project at one time or another would impact every department of their high volume, highly efficient Toyota dealership. At one point, our contact and I discussed the operational challenges that would be faced during the project, and noted that if our team could successfully deliver, there wouldn’t be a future project they would ever do without us.
Photo: Room & Board, Skokie, IL
In recent years, the KAWI office has refocused its efforts toward growth in terms of geography as well as market sectors. Talk about that effort.
We have continued to expand our internal expertise to align with Kraus-Anderson’s core markets: Healthcare, K-12, Housing, and Municipal. From a geographic standpoint, our Madison office is really focused on building local relationships and projects. One really great example of this is the office buildout we recently completed for Strang Architects. We appreciate the opportunity, and trust they put in us to deliver their new office. As an architect and Owner, they have such a trained eye for details, so making their vision a reality was an added win.
Walk us through some of the amenities of your new space.
TOM ROEPKE: Location, Location, Location! The increased number of meeting rooms, collaborative spaces, heated structured parking; and our kitchen/break area has an awesome patio and one of the best views of lake Monona on the isthmus. The custom shuffleboard table is an added bonus.
What are your clients and employees saying?
TOM ROEPKE: They love it, It’s amazing, and we are so fortunate!
Talk about some of the economic development distinctions of the area and clients you serve, particularly in the SE Wisconsin area.
TOM ROEPKE: We reside in a capital, college, and progressive city. Madison is a regional economic driver. We have amazing healthcare, technology, and bio-tech industries.
How are you addressing these opportunities?
TOM ROEPKE: We continue leveraging our people and new technologies to deliver best-in-class, pre-construction and construction services to our clients. As a firm that primarily provides construction management services, our teams focus on the project as whole and our owners. Not having to focus the majority of our efforts on self-performing labor, coordination, and production each day as our primary financial driver, allows our team the ability to see the forest though the trees, and really focus on results for our owners. Don’t get me wrong. We greatly appreciate our many highly qualified trade and general contractor partners, and we couldn’t deliver projects without them. We just feel our organizational strengths are better focused elsewhere.
Talk about the growth and expertise of your staff. How is KA positioning itself for success in a tight talent market?
TOM ROEPKE: We added three new office team members-Mark Breidel, Project Manager with expertise in hospitality; Jen Mason, Project Manager with expertise in K-12 and retail; and Weston Gumbert, Summer Project Engineer Intern now Project Engineer.
Mark and Jen joined our team as referrals from current team members. We are adding good people with expertise in areas we need to have and grooming new young talent.
Photo: Gundersen Tomah Clinic
What’s on the horizon?
TOM ROEPKE: We will be finishing up Scheels (Eden Prairie), Mercyhealth East Clinic remodel, Lupient Infiniti new facility, Verizon building addition (New Berlin), and Gresham Schools addition and remodel. We also just broke ground on a major expansion and renovation to LaCrosse Center that will be completed in phases in 2020 and into 2021. We’re also excited to be working with Racine Honda. And we are scouting locations and talent for the launch of a new KA Construction office in Milwaukee. More to come on that!