Anthony Kazee got hooked on construction early in his life. His grandfather was a dump truck driver and would let Kazee ride with him.
Those rides for the Running Rebels Community Organization, which helps young Milwaukeeans live without recourse to crime and violence, brought him to Lynde and Harry Bradley Tech Trade High School in Milwaukee, where Kazee got his feet wet learning various trades. After that, he studied construction science and management at Tuskegee University in Alabama.
Kazee was the first man in his family to graduate from high school and college, thanks in part to Running Rebels.
“When you have a young person facing problems and issues as he was as a youth and go from maybe being incarcerated to graduating from college, coming back to his hometown … it’s just a great feeling,” said Victor Barnett, who runs Running Rebels.
Now a project manager and estimator for Midwest Construction & Management Services, Kazee has helped his firm gain more than $3 million worth projects for this year alone.
“(Kazee is) a driven young man,” said Barnett. “He has focus and works hard. I’m proud to know he was part of the Running Rebels.”
Kazee says his favorite part of the work is the opportunity it gives him to see final results. His first job out of college was at a firm that did mostly performed underground work. He now appreciates being able to see the fruits of his labor.
“The cool part about construction is when the project is finally finished, that’s something you’ll see forever,” Kazee said. “It’s something your kids will see, and your kids’ kids will see. It’s part of your life. You can always drive by and point out that building.”
One of the most memorable projects for Kazee came when he was at J.H. Findorff & Son and worked on Epic’s more than $500 million campus in Veron. It was the biggest project he’d ever worked on. And it wasn’t designed in a typical way.
“The designs took a lot of planning and manpower,” Kazee said. “But it made the next project that much easier.”
When the Milwaukee native is off the job, he enjoys reading and spending time with his mom and three younger sisters. He also volunteers with different organizations such as Junior Achievement and Meals on Wheels.
“I’m always trying to figure out how to volunteer,” Kazee said. “You need to give more than you take.”