Case Studies

Superior Masonry Builders Inc.

Honoring Family, Integrity and the Industry

The work of Superior Masonry Builders Inc. (Superior) is prevalent in southwest Wisconsin. Additionally, many of the region’s buildings were constructed by the union contractor; an institution in the area and industry since 1959. From its headquarters in Butler, Wis., Superior completes masonry and concrete work on commercial, industrial and institutional buildings.

The family-owned business is currently under second-generation ownership and will soon be passed into the hands of the third generation. Co-founded by Richard Kemp, Superior is now run by his son, Mark Kemp, CEO and owner, and will eventually be run by Mark’s son, Brian Kemp, president. However, all employees are considered part of the Superior family, and all actively take part in giving back to the industry that it considers home.

The Best of the Best

The crux of Superior’s philosophy is to deliver a quality product at a reasonable price, and in doing so, no job is too big or small. Working for general contractors, construction managers and design-build firms, Superior has built up a long list of repeat clientele in southwest Wisconsin over the past 55 years in business.

The success that the company experiences today is thanks to its high-quality employees and certified tradesmen, according to Mark, who is immensely proud of his team. “They are responsible for the values and integrity that we bring to our work,” he says. Mark notes that the size of the team depends on seasonal work, as the company maintains between 50 and 100 employees.

When the economic downturn struck the industry, Superior was forced to hunker down; however, Superior was able to weather the storm. “We’ve been fortunate,” says Mark. Downsizing enabled the company to streamline and maximize its operation, as well. “We kept the best of the best and our production increased,” he continues. “Everyone gives 110 percent around here.”

Committed to the Industry

With a steady flow of work today, Superior is able to keep its employees, all of whom are treated to comprehensive benefits packages, have access to state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Superior’s employees are also given the opportunity to establish deep roots in the industry through membership in various trade organizations, including the Masonry Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the Mason Contractors Association of Milwaukee (MCAM), Associated General Contractors (AGC), American Concrete Institute (ACI) and Wisconsin Masonry Alliance (WMA).

Mark himself serves as president of WMA and is a past president of MCAM. Today, he is chairman of the MCAA; he is a board member of Allied Construction Employers Association and has also served as president, as well as Milwaukee Industry Safety Council and International Masonry Institute. Due to numerous duties assumed in the industry, Mark often relies on Brian to oversee operations.

Ever-devoted to the industry, Superior also runs various apprenticeship programs and encourages innovation and participation from its employees. In order to support these numerous activities and a high work load, executive leadership is continually reinvesting in the company.

Of utmost importance is maintaining a committed team at Superior that shows honor, integrity and discipline in the workplace. “The belief at Superior is that every project is a part of us,” explains Mark. “By taking ownership in all our work, Superior realizes its goal to deliver excellence in workmanship, service and safety.” Mark goes on to note that the company’s superintendents have OSHA 30-hour training, and foreman, OSHA 10-hour.

Successful Completions

Superior completed work on The Mayfair Town Collection, Wauwatosa’s new 270,000-square-foot retail center in 2013, which will be completed in 2014. The adaptive reuse project included the renovation of an existing warehouse, which, according to Mark, was extremely interesting.

“The project was well-scheduled and highly organized, as well,” he details. Superior was responsible for masonry and concrete, working in tandem with several trades on the partial demolition and reconstruction of the warehouse.

Along with Mayfair, Superior recently completed an addition to Franklin High School and the new construction of an ALDI grocery store distribution center. In the past, Superior has done masonry and concrete work on The Milwaukee Center, Town Bank, Bayshore Mall, Marcus Theater (a 21-screen theater complex) and parking garage decks. Thanks to its diligent and competent tradesman, Superior has garnered repeat Excellence in Masonry awards.

In the future, Superior will be working on several apartment buildings. “We did three apartment buildings in downtown Milwaukee, 80 to 150 units each, in 2013,” says Mark. “We expect many more to come.”

Integrity and Responsibility

Leading up to Mark’s ownership of Superior was a decade of brick washing, hands-on concrete work and steady movement up the corporate ladder. After joining Superior in 1976, Mark first ran the concrete division, then the masonry division and in 1982 he became president and CEO. He believes that this range of experience has been essential to his ability to effectively connect the office and the field as a leader.

Likewise, as the third generation leader, Brian began his career in construction as a yard man and labored in the field during high school and college summers. Now, as president, Brian benefits from his experience and understands what it takes to complete quality work in the field. Completing quality work is the cornerstone of Superior, a company with high values and integrity, wholly appreciated in the industry.

General Contractor Tri-North Builders has been relying on Superior since 1984. In a glowing reference, the company’s spokesperson says, “In the many years we have worked together there has always been a pride in workmanship, a commitment to meeting the schedule and an attitude of cooperation.” Such a reputation will continue at Superior Masonry Builders Inc. under third-generation family ownership and perhaps many more generations to come.

Published on: August 5, 2014


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