Building A Legacy
Commercially focused, woman-owned construction firm knows no boundaries
After 27 years in business, Tracy Stacy, founder and owner of a multimillion-dollar general contracting and construction management firm, has broken every stereotype of a woman-owned construction business. Yes, she does residential. No, that’s not her main focus. In fact, Absolute Construction Enterprises’ civic and private commercial work has seen exponential growth year after year—with major projects ranging from city halls, fire stations and museums to churches, retail and any other business imaginable. The company has grown from a small garage office in the 90s to a 16,000-sq. ft./8-acre facility with a current ability to construct projects of $20 million value and up.
Tracy founded the company in 1990 and she remains the sole owner of Absolute Construction; she is now joined by her husband Jeff—a product of five generations of carpenters—who brings with him years of construction management experience. Two of their sons, Zachariah and Jacob, are part of the team, having recently acquired journeyman status in carpentry. Rounding off the “A” team are Bob Burdick and Mike Wiedenbeck (Officers).
Regarding the challenges she has faced, Tracy explains, “As a woman-owned business, people tend to think I only do small projects or houses. I want to shatter that myth. We can do $50 million a year or more in great commercial projects. I don’t think there’s any other woman doing that in this state as a full-service G.C.” Among some of her most recent, notable projects are the impressive Civil War Museum in Kenosha, a fire station in Pewaukee as well as Muskego Town Hall.
As to her background, when Tracy was starting out, she notes, “Girls didn’t go to college for construction so I went to UW Milwaukee School of Architecture with a focus in civil engineering and urban planning. I interned with a local architectural firm, then moved quickly into my own design firm. It didn’t take very long.” From there, Tracy began doing general contractor work and overseeing projects for customers. The company grew larger and larger. She incorporated in 1990 and hasn’t looked back.
Tracy credits much of the company’s success to a driving ideology centered around an unparalleled can-do attitude, quality, service and experience. Their team, in fact, has great diversity in their collective expertise and credentials—they can handle public facilities, private museums, churches, factories or just about any type of specialty commercial project. And if they don’t have the experience on hand, they will find the right subcontractor who does. Tracy says, “We really try to give the customer what they want, what they’re hoping for.“
Tracy explains that they are constantly educating their staff in one way or another to gain new certifications or qualifications so they can better service any customer. Even if they’ve never encountered a project requiring a particular skill, they want to be ready should they run into any situation down the road.
A Legacy of Service
Perhaps the most critical piece of Absolute Construction’s continued success is their adherence to a “legacy company” philosophy. No matter what project they do, Tracy asserts, “we want the building to last long past the people who build it. We want our children and grandchildren to be proud of the work we’ve done.” Tracy is confident that when the time comes to pass the baton to her own children someday, the legacy of quality will endure.
Passing along that sense of pride holds true for the staff as well. Tracy wants everyone on her team to always walk away from a project with a feeling of accomplishment. And they obviously do. This is a family business in every sense of the term, with very low turnover. Absolute Construction offers apprenticeship and other learning opportunities to team members’ children and other relatives, including apprenticeships, internships and other employment, not to mention 4-year training programs for all new staff to learn their trade professionally and to end up with a journeyman’s card—all paid for by the company.
As for giving back, Tracy personally helps people who want to start a small business by assisting with paperwork and offering advice. Additionally, the company, which serves southeastern Wisconsin, sponsors local art and music endeavors in order to make the city more of a community. When you put all the pieces together, there is no doubt that Absolute Construction’s legacy will live on for a long time to come.