Peter Schwabe Inc.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: John Carioti
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
While many general contracting companies are capable of delivering projects on time and on budget, Peter Schwabe Inc. (PSI) takes it to the next level, offering value-added services ranging from strategic planning to in-depth schematic estimating, preconstruction service and design-build, fully turnkey solutions on a national level.
Since 1927, the Wisconsin-based commercial contractor has been building longstanding relationships with some of the country’s most well-recognized organizations, such as Sear’s and McDonald’s.
Going the Distance for Clients, Local or National
“PSI was established in 1927 by Peter Schwabe,” shares Jeff Neumann, vice president and general manager of PSI. “The company started out as a small remodeling and carpentry business and over the years, we have transitioned into large-scale projects.”
Neumann explains that PSI has worked all over the country, in 43 states. However, even after 87 years in business and nationwide expansion, PSI remains in the Schwabe family. “In the 1960s, Dan Schwabe, Peter’s son, and Bud Barrette, Peter’s son-in-law, joined the company and assumed ownership,” adds Neumann. “Dan is now our CEO and Bud has since retired.”
From PSI’s home base in Brookfield, Wis., the company serves big-name clients from coast to coast. “PSI has expanded into new geographic areas for more than 25 years,” says Neumann. “Our offices are driven by our clients’ needs and requirements.”
PSI will go just about anywhere for a customer. The firm has opened offices in Illinois, Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota and Pennsylvania over the years in an effort to better serve clients. “With PSI as a construction partner, you can rely on us to do what it takes to get the job done, regionally, nationally or locally,” adds Neumann.
Longstanding Relationships Built on Trusted Construction
Geographical expansion has not only allowed PSI to take on sizable jobs in the banking, heath care, industrial manufacturing, religious institution, municipalities and retail sectors, but has also made way for key relationships. “We started our longstanding relationship with McDonald’s back in 1969 and it’s been a steady one for more than 40 years,” reveals Neumann. “The restaurant sector is a big focus for us, but we are especially skilled with implementing programs across the country.”
Over the course of PSI’s 40-yearlong relationship with McDonald’s, the company has delivered 2,000 projects throughout 43 states, including the restaurant giant’s 24,000-square-foot flagship store in the heart of Chicago. Additionally, as a trusted partner, McDonald’s called on PSI to take the lead on the company’s 50th anniversary iconic restaurant.
PSI broke ground on the high-profile project in August 2004. As one of McDonald’s most significant undertakings in its history, the project consisted of more than 2,700 cubic yards of concrete, 125 tons of rebar, a signature golden arch weighing in at more than 42 tons and 62 feet tall, complex structural glass and exterior wall paneling and a dining area floor imported from Italy.
“All in all, we finished the job in six months, from the time demolition was initiated to the project’s completion,” notes Neumann. “If the complexities of the job were not enough, we were also working in winter conditions in Chicago.”
PSI has also been selected by McDonald’s Corporation to join a team on the Maverick project. “This initiative covers Rockford proper McOpCo restaurants,” reveals Neumann. “We’ve worked with engineers, architects and owners to deliver extensive remodels, refreshes and rebuilds for 11 stores in the area.”
With bright, shiny, futuristic show places, the new stores feature a double drive through area, exterior revamps, new color screen displays and ordering systems. “We’ve taken a major role in the driver’s seat, along with architects and engineers, from scoping and zoning to final CDS documents,” explains Neumann. “The average overhaul takes two and a half months, and these stores never closed during the remodel. We’ve completed a year’s worth of work in nine months while saving McOpCo a considerable amount of money.”
PSI has also been an influential partner in the Ronald McDonald House charity programs throughout the country. “We helped construct the original Ronald McDonald House in Wauwatosa, Wis., and we were recently awarded a $9 million contract for the new 76,000-square-foot expansion, including parking structure,” reveals Neumann.
The plans for the more modern Ronald McDonald House include 33 guest rooms for families of hospitalized children receiving treatment at the Milwaukee Children’s Hospital, bringing the total number of rooms up to 71. The project also includes a new parking structure, as well as common areas, such as study rooms, five new kitchens for home-cooked meals, as well as music therapy and fitness facilities to help families relax and manage stress.
The People to Pull it Off
At the end of the day, managing large-scale, national projects takes the right people, and Neumann says PSI has just the right mix. “We have some of the best people in the business,” he shares. “Their years of experience in the business, some with tenure in the firm spanning 20 to 40-plus years, says it all. Everyone on the team works well together and throughout the years our corporate structure has remained very family-oriented.”
Keeping this cooperative mindset and focusing on long-term relationships has been the cornerstone of PSI’s success. Peter Schwabe Inc. continues to build on 90 years of partnerships with clients large and small, with the dedication to providing exceptional service on each and every project.
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