Janke General Contractors Inc.
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Brandon Bagley
- Estimated reading time: 3 mins
When Steve Janke saw a void in the municipal and federal recreational construction market in Wisconsin, he decided to seize the opportunity and started Janke General Contractors Inc. “I was working for another contractor doing underground utilities at the time,” recalls Janke. “I noticed that on many recreational projects there would only be one bidder. The company I was working for wasn’t interested in bidding on them so I decided to start my own company.” Since Janke founded the company in 2000 Janke General Contractors has provided consulting, engineering and design-build services to local and state government, municipalities and private agencies throughout the Midwest.
With up to 45 employees, Janke General Contractors specializes in the recreational sector and has completed multiple projects such as boat ramps, walking trails, boardwalks, pedestrian bridges, golf courses and restoration work. While the company has established itself in a niche market, Janke General Contractors excels in the industry due to its diversity. With a fabrication division the company is able to create decorative railings for its projects while also acting as a subcontractor for others. “We also do sheet pile and pile driving,” says Janke. “We have cranes and other equipment which allows us to a lot of work on dams for other contractors.”
A multitalented team
The company’s diversity has proven to be a major benefit for the company as it has helped Janke General Contractors to not only survive the recession but to actually thrive during the economic downturn. “We actually had record-setting years in annual revenue during the recession,” says Janke. “We’ve increased our revenue by approximately 90 percent every year since 2005.”
Venturing out of Wisconsin, Janke General Contractors recently completed a boardwalk for the town of Roseville, Minnesota. The design-build project was in the downtown area and caught the eye of the town of Chaska, Minnesota. “After seeing it the town decided to incorporate our design into the boardwalk,” says Janke.
Janke General Contractors has won many awards for its bridge work. Recognized projects include a pedestrian bridge in Fox Point, Wisconsin, which crosses a major gorge as well as a park in Sherwood. The recognition that the company has received has established Janke General Contractors as a leading firm in the recreational sector of the Midwest construction industry. “We often receive calls from engineers now letting us know that a certain job is coming up and they would like us to bid on it,” says Janke. “They also sometimes call us seeking advice on certain projects.”
While Janke General Contractors maintains the ability to self-perform a majority of its own work, the company will turn to its solid network of subcontractors on occasion for aspects such as asphalt and concrete. “We have our own concrete crew but sometimes they are booked up and we’ll have to sub that out,” Janke explains. “With my background in utility work we’re also able to do our own sewer and water main work as well.”
Janke has been in the construction industry for more than 30 years. Growing up in surrounded by construction, Janke began working with his uncle when he was 16 years old.
The quality of his employees is one measure that Janke uses to gauge the success of his company. “We look for qualified, dedicated people,” says Janke. “Our employees care as much as I do about the quality of the project keeping clients happy.” Janke General Contractors looks to establish long-term relationships with all of its clients. “We have clients that we have completed five or six different projects for.”
Having quality employees whose main concern is satisfying customers with a quality product has been the key factor to the level of success that Janke General Contractors has achieved in a relatively short time span. “It’s great to drive down the road and see a structure and know that not only did we build that, but it also won awards,” says Janke. “The fact that we continue to grow each year gives me a lot of pride.”
As the company continues to grow, Janke General Contractors will be expanding into new markets. “We’re looking into road building,” says Janke. While the company currently provides some roadwork services, Janke says he would like to start doing it on a larger scale. “We have the equipment and the knowledge so there’s no reason we can’t be successful at it.”
While the company enters new markets, providing a quality product and service to its valued clients will remain the top priority for Janke General Contractors Inc.
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