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Home / 2010 Newsmakers of the Year / Constructing a reputation

Constructing a reputation

Builder of the Year

Tri-North Builders Inc.

Staff members from Tri-North Builders Inc. pose with some family members outside the company’s Fitchburg headquarters. (Photo submitted by Tri-North Builders)

Staff members from Tri-North Builders Inc. pose with some family members outside the company’s Fitchburg headquarters. (Photo submitted by Tri-North Builders)

Nearly 30 years after Tri-North Builders Inc. was founded in Madison with 10 employees, the construction management firm has grown to include offices in three other states and a total staff of 300.

But the company remains dedicated to its home base, said Bruce Olson, president of The Marcus Corp., Milwaukee.

Olson’s company has been working with Tri-North for 28 years, he said, and in that time the firm has become more than just a builder of Marcus’ theaters, hotels and resorts.

“They’ve really become close partners with us in the truest sense of the word,” Olson said. “They are very trustworthy and bid very thoroughly, so there are no surprises.”

Since the construction of Marcus’ first two theaters in 1982, Olson said Tri-North has been a construction management firm he’s able to count on.


Tri-North crews built the new headquarters for the Urban League of Greater Madison Inc. (Photo by Chris Duzynski)

“Very well-run organizations have to have a great leader and a great corporate culture, from the top,” Olson said. “Led by Tom Thayer, the company is a very well-run organization.”

While the corporate offices remain in Fitchburg, the company now has branch offices in Milwaukee, Dallas, San Francisco and Portsmouth, N.H. Projects take Tri-North staff members around the country, but the company is a strong supporter of many of the same Wisconsin-based civic and charitable organizations Marcus Corp. is a part of, Olson said.

Tri-North demonstrated its commitment to community this past year when it volunteered to help renovate a West Allis house for the family of a severely injured boy, said Gerise LaSpisa, executive director of Variety-The Children’s Charity of Wisconsin Inc., Milwaukee.


Tri-North worked with Kahler Slater Inc., Milwaukee, on the UW Health Stoughton Clinic. (Photos by Mike Rebholz)

LaSpisa initially contacted Tri-North for ideas to help the family adapt its home and was surprised when less than an hour later, the company called to say it would take on the project, she said.

“It was amazing,” LaSpisa said. “They not only stepped up to the plate but they provided inspiration and a role model for the industry and their competitors.”

The company also pushed itself during the construction of a new headquarters for the Urban League of Greater Madison Inc. The project’s owners set a goal of 22 percent minority- and women-owned business participation, but Tri-North wanted to push it even further.

The company ultimately secured 29 percent participation from minority- and women-owned businesses, a feat that matched Urban League’s goals of improving the social and economic conditions of minorities and economically disadvantaged people.

One comment

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