A man with a plan
Published: November 1, 2009
By Shelly Janke
Troy Reese has made a career of solving problems.
The Milwaukee native earned inner-city residents’ respect early in his career when he worked as a property manager to improve housing for tenants of absentee landlords. This year, Reese, president of T.L. Reese Corp., a Milwaukee-based general contracting firm, took his career to the next level when he partnered with Generation Growth Capital Inc. to buy Oak Creek-based J.F. Cook Co. Inc.
Two of J.F. Cook’s three owners were ready to retire when Reese stepped in with a solution in July that has left him running both J.F. Cook and T.L. Reese for the time being. The solution kept the more than 60-year-old J.F. Cook Co. and its 50 employees working without interruption.
Reese’s ability to find solutions where others see problems is a boon to his clients, said Brian Kobasick, one of three principal owners of Milwaukee-based Pace Architects SC.
“He’s very open with generating ideas or ways of solving problems,” Kobasick said. “A lot of contractors will come with nothing but questions. Troy will come with not only questions, but ways to solve them.”
As a result, clients need only work with Reese once before deciding to develop a long-term business relationship with him, Kobasick said.
Janet Gottfried, project manager in Marquette University’s Office of the University Architect, spent the past two summers working with Reese on the school’s Varsity Theatre renovation, she said, where Reese served as general contractor. It was critical the building retain its art deco theme as it was brought up to date, she said, a fact Reese and his crew respected.
“I thought they were very conscientious,” Gottfried said. “They were professional. They had good ideas and were problem solvers.”
The most challenging part of the renovation was the detailed paneling and trim work, she said, which Reese handled superbly.
“Because it was the renovation of an existing building, there are certain things the code prevents you from doing,” Gott-fried said.
“The devil is in the details. (Reese is) very diligent about staying with it and getting the job done.”
Reese also tends to be a positive person, Kobasick said, happy to find a solution, no matter how challenging.
“He looks beyond the limitations and tries to make things work,” he said. “And that’s the value we find working with him.”