“I realized that if I struck it out on my own, I would do what it takes to make it successful,” Jeff Jozwiak (BSE CE ’87) said of co-founding Chicago-based general contractor Norcon, Inc. Since its founding in 1999, Norcon has grown to manage about $65 million of work a year.
As an entrepreneur, Jozwiak recognizes the importance of keeping up with a rapidly changing world and intense competition. “You have to stay ahead of it and continue to innovate,” he said.
His team is prepared to take on a new challenge at short notice. A few years ago they were asked to build a home on the television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The proposition came four weeks before construction was set to begin and they had five days to build it. “The key is to set up the leadership and organization structure immediately and then prepare and actively manage a comprehensive schedule.”
All efforts and materials were 100 percent donated for Extreme Makeover. The experience set the tone for Norcon to continue to be involved helping families in need. Norcon continues to volunteer with Habitat and Jozwiak has been on the board of the local Windy City Habitat for Humanity chapter for two years. “It feels good to put a deserving family into a new home.”
Jozwiak’s advice to students is to take internships that offer field exposure. He says at Norcon they like to see hands-on construction experience on the resumes of potential project managers. “Being involved in executing the work creates a great base to draw on in the future,” he adds.
In his limited free time, Jozwiak enjoys skiing, running and playing golf with his family.
On his favorite experience at U-M, Jozwiak said “Football Saturdays were the best.”