For many people, deciding whether to go into the family business isn’t easy. Then again, most people can’t claim to belong to the Schmidt family that has given its name to C.G. Schmidt — one of the largest and best-known contractors in Wisconsin. For Brad Schmidt, a member of the fifth generation of Schmidts to work at the company, the decision hardly required a second thought.
“It was always something I was interested in, starting from an early age when I’d be going to work with my dad on Saturdays and seeing the whole construction industry from the inside,” said Schmidt, who completed a degree in civil engineering at Marquette University in 2012.
“There was never a time, to be honest, that I wanted to do something different than what I’m doing now.”
Like many people in construction, Schmidt said he was drawn to the industry by the special kind of satisfaction it brings. When all of his hard work is done — and no matter how difficult it turns out to be and how many unforeseen complications there are — he knows he’ll always have a tangible project to point to in the end.
“To start at nothing and to be a part of that process, a lot of people don’t understand what’s involved in building a structure that the owner is going to be happy with,” Schmidt said.
At 30, Schmidt already has some big projects on his resume. None is bigger than the 32-story, $450 million Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons Project, whose construction C.G. Schmidt oversaw in a partnership with Gilbane Building Co.
Schmidt said he was involved in the Tower and Commons project from the beginning and stayed on until crews were crossing off the last items from their punch lists. An assistant project manager, Schmidt found himself overseeing $136 million worth of work related to mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as food service and elevators.
“I had to make sure everybody was coordinated amongst themselves,” he said. “It was a little daunting at first. But once I got into the details, it became a lot more comfortable.”
The Towers and Common project is not the only big job Schmidt has had a hand in. He also worked on a $28 million surgical and cardiovascular addition for Aspirus Wausau Hospital and the $27 million Rock Haven Nursing Home in Janesville.
Schmidt’s dedication to his job has not gone unnoticed.
“Seeing Brad evolve over the years has truly been a pleasure,” said Dan Davis, senior vice president at C.G. Schmidt. “He always acts on behalf of the client and does what is right for the project.”