Frank Rewold and Son Inc.
Frank Rewold is the third-generation owner of Frank Rewold and Son Inc. (FRS), a family-owned custom construction business headquartered in Rochester, Mich., and active within a two-hour radius of the city. Current president and CEO of the company, Frank has been with the business since 1973. He is named for his grandfather, who founded the company in 1918. The elder Frank started the business alone as a groundskeeper at the estate of Matilda Dodge Wilson, the widow of John Francis Dodge, of the Dodge Motor Car Company in Detroit and cofounder of Michigan State University’s Oakland campus (which sits on the site of the same estate).
The elder Frank’s son and the younger Frank’s father, Roy Rewold, started working in the trade in the early 1930s, cleaning up jobsites with his dad, and he took over FRS when his father passed away in the 1970s. Roy handed the business to his son in 2009, though he is still involved with the company and acts as chairman. Still operating as one of the oldest contracting companies in Michigan, FRS currently employs 45, including the younger Frank’s son Jason.
Custom Construction Projects
FRS isn’t your average contractor. “We specialize in unusual, custom, commercial projects,” says Frank. “We’ve done country clubs, libraries; we’ve added to and renovated thousands of square feet at the Palace of Auburn Hills through numerous projects; we’ve done amphitheaters. We go the extra mile to turn out quality, unusual projects.” Most recently, Frank says the business has been involved with new construction and renovations with area churches, libraries, and higher education construction projects.
The company is primarily a construction manager (over 80 percent of FRS work is as a CM), providing careful value engineering, a commitment to quality craftsmanship and unparalleled customer service. Subcontractors perform nearly all of the labor, and FRS has built a network of the area’s most skilled and most reliable subs. “About five percent is performed in-house,” Frank expands. “Supporting local business is important around here.” Aside from subcontractors, Frank seeks out local suppliers as often as possible to participate in the exciting developments FRS helms.
“We’re always working on cool projects,” says Frank. For example, FRS is working with Cranbrook, a private educational institution in Bloomfield Hills. “We’re working on a really complex museum project,” explains Frank. “There are a lot of specifications for humidity, specialized storage, et cetera.”
The Cranbrook campus has been one of Frank’s favorite projects, but he says FRS’s renovation work at the 13,000-seat DTE Energy Music Theatre has been the most memorable for him. “It’s a huge outdoor amphitheater,” he says. “It’s very popular and well-known. A lot of big name acts come through here when they tour in the summer.” The project involved some tough scheduling, but Frank says FRS pulled it off with grace, and the company’s success there opened up long-term relationships that led the owners of the Palace of Auburn Hills (where the Detroit Pistons play) to hire his business for renovations at the sports and entertainment complex.
The U.S. Green Building Council has catalyzed a movement toward sustainable building over the last few years and FRS is getting in on the green building boom, especially in regards to geothermal installations. Frank obtained his LEED Green Associate certification in 2010, and he says there are several additional people who work in the company with LEED certification, which is becoming increasingly beneficial.
FRS has completed several LEED-certified buildings. “It’s becoming more and more prevalent,” says Frank. “There are additional costs involved, but the program does a lot of good.” With the development of more efficient and less expensive technology, the company can expect to see an increase in business as costs decrease for green products. “People want to do the right thing,” explains Frank. “But if there is a $10,000 expense attached, probably not.”
FRS is always working to find ways in incorporate both innovation and cost-effective technologies in the type of projects that garner repeat clients, which help bolster a company through the type of economic instability the country has seen in recent years. The team at FRS has managed to stay busy throughout the recession, though Frank says the region has experienced a major slump in business. “The automotive manufacturing industry was hit pretty badly,” he explains, noting how this left much of the economy around Detroit stagnant. “We did have to do some downsizing, but we’ve gotten lean and mean, so when everything comes back around, we’re positioned for success.”
Frank has seen some improvements already, and the company is working from the home front to pick up appropriately sized contracts. Very few businesses can fill the FRS niche. “We’re looking for interesting projects with owners who appreciate what we do,” says Frank. The custom building business is complicated, but Frank and his team have built an impressive portfolio and a stockpile of experience that have made FRS one of the top custom contractors in the Midwest.
FRS makes construction a memorable experience. The team is highly organized and project owners have lauded the management team for communication and style. Many of FRS’s projects have received awards for sustainable elements. Leading the company through its 10th decade, Frank and the team prioritize safety and integrity above all else, passing these values along to the fourth proud generation at Frank Rewold and Son Inc.
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