This article originally appeared in Chicago Architects.
Seated on Lake Michigan in Illinois, Chicago is among the largest cities in the United States. It is known for its bold architecture and skyscrapers and its museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, which houses notable Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.
This list features some of the best commercial contractors constructing well-known structures in and around Chicago. These firms are capable of performing any type of work, including the construction of the architecturally appealing facades that distinguish the Chicago skyline and gutting down to skeletal works and providing major renovations.
Leopardo Companies has grown from a small family business in 1977 to a nationally renowned general contractor, working with Fortune 100 companies and constructing high-end projects. It works with clients in Illinois, Florida, and California on aviation, education, community, federal, health care, historical, hospitality, industrial, office, residential, retail, senior living, science, and technology projects.
Because of its remarkable work portfolio, Leopardo Companies has been named one of the 2018 Top Contractors in America by the Engineering News-Record and the Building Design + Construction.
Mike Leopardo has worked in the construction industry for 30 years, helping to develop Leopardo from a small family-owned business to one of the nation’s top general contractors. Mike is responsible for the overall business strategy and benchmarks affecting Leopardo’s offices, hundreds of employees and job sites, various service offerings, and all of its markets as president and CEO. He graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in construction technology engineering and previously served on the Board of Trustees for the Jane Addams Hull-House, one of Chicago’s largest and oldest not-for-profit social service agencies.
Pepper Construction, led by Stan Pepper, believes that the future of construction is focused on innovation, sustainable development, fortitude, and performance. As a result, the firm’s practice has centered on expanding its services and delving into every aspect of the construction process. Many of its works reflect this approach. Lean construction, MEP coordination, quality and safety management, virtual design and construction, and other delivery methods that use environmental technologies and sustainable practices are among the many services offered by the firm.
Pepper Construction also ranks as the third-largest contractor in the Midwest, the nation’s 64th largest contractor, and the sixth-largest contractor in the Midwest. Its expertise is acknowledged throughout the Midwest, having offices in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Its works have also been featured by publications like ENR, USGlass Magazine, Bisnow, Building Design + Construction, Construction Dive, The Business Journal, Clarksville Now, Chicago Tribune, and REJournals.
McShane Construction, founded over 35 years ago, is proud to have established a reputation as a leader in the construction of high-quality facilities. Because its clients are diverse, it offers a diverse set of contracting options and collaborates with them to find the best solutions for their projects. This ensures that the company is a good fit for its clients’ business needs and organizational cultures.
McShane Construction specializes in multifamily, industrial, commercial, health, fitness, and institutional construction. The company’s commitment to sustainable construction benefits the communities it operates. It enhances supply chain management, boosts operational efficiencies, and creates environments that foster creativity.
McShane is an awardee of multiple awards, including the 2021 ENR Top Southwest Contractors, 2021 PCI Design Award for Best Multifamily Building, and 2021 Outstand For-Profit Real Estate Development Award. It also holds affiliations with the Associated Builders and Contractors and consists of LEED-accredited professionals.
Collaboration, simplicity, and efficiency are the characteristics that have helped Skender Construction become one of the region’s most favored general contracting firms. Throughout its six decades of practice, the firm has depended on its loyal team of industry professionals, partnered with leading architectural firms in the country, and collaborated with the most proficient developers in the industry. As a result, it has developed some of Illinois’ most transformative landmarks. Its completed works come from various complex and demanding industries, such as health care, lab sciences, higher education, senior living, affordable housing, retail, multifamily, and hospitality.
Justin Brown heads the company as its president and CEO. As president and CEO, Justin Brown is in charge of the company. Brown supervises the company’s strategic growth, which includes expanding its services to include preconstruction, planning, design-build, project management, sustainability, and consulting expertise. The firm’s extensive construction background and its active role in the industry as a member of the AGC, NAIOP, and USGBC enabled it to formulate a comprehensive delivery method that incorporates cutting-edge design and construction technologies. This results in an advanced, cost-effective, and highly efficient building practice that can produce large-scale developments for the most sophisticated and demanding clients.
Established in 1891, family-owned and operated, Bulley & Andrews (B&A) is one of the region’s most accomplished construction firms. B&A is dedicated to providing professional services to projects that improve people’s lives and help organizations grow in quantifiable and meaningful ways.
Bulley & Andrews is rooted in the simplicity of a time when construction practices relied on horses, ropes, and pulleys. It maintains its ties to tradition while remaining at the forefront of innovation and best practices in the field of construction. The company is well-known for its sophisticated approach to construction, which utilizes technology and a solution-driven mindset to deliver projects that live up to expectations. The firm, which represents a diverse portfolio of clients, is dedicated to creating and restoring unique structures and numerous properties that define and serve their respective owners.
Novak Construction, headquartered in Chicago, provides preconstruction, general construction, and construction management services across the country. As a licensed general contractor, the company has completed a myriad of construction projects in Illinois and over 30 other states. It has long-standing relationships with some of the biggest names in retail, including Target, Walmart, Costco, and Whole Foods, as a testament to its consistently dependable, high-quality services. The company generates more than $250 million in annual revenue, with a large portion of that coming from repeat customers. Aside from its strong commercial clientele, the firm is also responsible for some of Chicago’s most valuable multifamily properties.
Novak Construction is an ARE Gold Award of Excellence awardee and holds memberships with organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council. Its works have also been featured by the media, including Block Club Chicago, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Tribune, and The Real Deal.
Norcon, Inc. is a mid-sized construction management company based in Chicago. Norcon was founded in 1999 by seasoned builders Jeff Jozwiak and Charles Norwesh as a leader in today’s progressive construction industry. Its extensive project portfolio includes commercial, retail, educational, pharmaceutical, hospitality, religious, and high-end residential projects. Although most of the firm’s work is in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, Norcon has reached more than a dozen states to complete projects for clients.
Norcon manages the entire construction process, from the preliminary preconstruction phase to the completion. It is a member of the United States Green Building Council and recently completed the construction of its office building, which achieved LEED Gold status and was certified by the SERF (Society of Environmentally Responsible Facilities). In 2006, Norcon was the construction management company chosen in Chicago to build for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Berglund Construction is a family-owned company that uses innovation and operational excellence to solve real-time construction problems. Fred Berglund, a third-generation leader, has decades of experience in the construction industry. His ties to Illinois and Indiana aided him in breaking into and then thriving in the business in both states. The firm’s portfolio includes a diverse range of hotel and hospitality renovation/construction projects.
Berglund Construction has been in business for 110 years and has restored many of the Midwest’s landmarks and historic buildings, including architecturally significant campuses like the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Berglund has also received national recognition, including the Construction Excellence Award from the United States General Services Administration and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Preservation Award.
McHugh Construction, one of Chicago’s most prominent general contracting firms, is responsible for constructing seven of the city’s ten tallest skyscrapers. Its remarkable portfolio of large developments highlights its green building practices, and 80 percent of its works are accredited by the various LEED certifications offered by the USGBC. It has completed civic and cultural, commercial, education, government, healthcare, hospitality, industrial, religious, residential, retail, and gaming developments for clients in Chicago, Downtown Chicago, Champaign; Indiana, Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
McHugh Construction was founded in 1897 and is now under its fourth generation of ownership. Its century-plus experience has permitted it to establish long-term relationships with developers and investors, and 80% of its past and present projects come from repeat businesses.
The firm is also honored to have its works featured by press members, like Construction Dive, REJournals, Urbanize LA, REBusinessOnline, Chicago Sun-Times, The Business Journals, and Multihousing News.
Since its inception in 2002, UJAMAA Construction has provided owners with high-quality, expedited general contracting and construction management services. It has extensive experience in commercial, retail, higher education, multifamily housing, and medical facility construction.
UJAMAA’s mission is to give back to the community without sacrificing quality or increasing costs. The firm strives to bring diversity into the workplace and provide employment opportunities to the underserved while maintaining a balance of corporate governance and social responsibility. This effective strategy enables the company to continue attracting and retaining the trust and respect of high-quality clients.
Jimmy Akintode created UJAMAA Construction to build a company that provides outstanding construction services while also being socially accountable. Under his leadership, UJAMAA has grown significantly and is now the city of Chicago’s premier diversity construction firm.
Helios Construction Services is a Chicago-based commercial general contractor and construction management firm. It uses the best people, processes, and technology to deliver high-quality, low-cost projects. The firm’s responsive, forthcoming, and agile decision-makers are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to improve construction. It has completed projects in various industries throughout the United States, including retail, hospitality, mixed-use, multifamily, office, industrial, and education.
Aash Desai, the company’s principal and founder, has 15 years of experience in the real estate and construction industries, having previously worked as a project manager and preconstruction manager for a large global construction management firm and as the vice president of development for a national real estate development firm. He actively manages Helios’ overall business strategy and project direction. His experience working with a wide range of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, private developers, start-up businesses, and institutions, enables him to serve as a construction manager and an adviser to the company’s clients.
As a vertically integrated development and construction firm, the places and spaces Focus creates reflect the work of its multidisciplinary teams driven to achieve success. Focus, based in Chicago, Illinois, is responsible for notable developments worth more than $2.14 billion in the Chicago market. Since expanding to provide third-party general contracting services, the firm’s construction division has completed over $650 million in real estate projects. These projects range from small multifamily communities in historic districts to high-density, mixed-use redevelopments in vibrant downtowns.
Focus has worked hard since 1993 to identify, meet, and exceed its clients’ expectations. It provides exemplary craftsmanship, relentless service, and deep appreciation for quality architecture. The company has an impeccable track record, ascertained by its comprehensive portfolio of completed projects in communities such as Chicago, Evanston, Forest Park, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Oak Park, Wheaton, and Winnetka.
Focus is the recipient of the 2017 ULI Vision Award for The Parker, the 2017 Agent’s Choice Award for Best New Development of the Year, and the 2016 Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago Crystal Key Award for Circa 922.
Development Solutions, Inc. (DSI) is a Chicago-based commercial general contractor. Since 1992, DSI has provided quality construction services to its clients, and it has experience in all types of construction, including office, industrial, retail, education, banking, and health care facility projects. Daniel Mazeiro, the firm’s principal, has roots in architecture, commercial real estate, and construction management. He founded the firm on three fundamental principles: confront every project from the client’s perspective, deliver on promises, and provide unrivaled customer service.
Daniel, who has a background in architecture and urban design, brings a keen artistic sensibility and precision to every DSI project. Daniel has led a carefully selected team of professionals to complete highly acclaimed projects throughout the Chicago region throughout the company’s history. He is in charge of all project management and field operations.
Today, DSI has an excellent reputation and sustained growth, with repeat and referral clients accounting for more than 80% of its business. DSI is a privately held company that prioritizes people and has grown by recruiting fervent, knowledgeable professionals who deliver results.
This article originally appeared in Chicago Architects, click here to read more.