Building a Life in America
Polish immigrant Henryk Pach realized his dreams through Expert Building Maintenance, Inc.
In 1991, Henryk Pach packed up all his hopes and dreams, as well as a recipe for success passed down from his father. He left his native Poland for the shores of the Land of Opportunity.
He wasn’t sure how that move would manifest itself, but he knew that in the United States, hopes and dreams meant something as long one had the will to pursue them.
Pach had the will.
Today, 30 years later, he is the President of Expert Building Maintenance, Inc. (EBM), which he founded as, in his words, “a sweaty, power-washing startup” in 2001. In 2021, EBM has evolved into a full-fledged general contracting firm servicing the greater Chicagoland area but with a vision in crystal clear view to expand into neighboring Midwest states as well as the East Coast.
The company specializes in medical office and dialysis renovations; office space buildouts; nursing home and multi-unit residential renovations; post-acute and health care facilities; and commercial tenant improvements.
Henryk says, “It’s a family business that takes care of its clients in a personal way.”
“We pride ourselves on our ability to go above and beyond for our clients,” comments Artur Pach, Henryk’s son. “EBM isn’t a rigid machine, rather, it’s a dynamic company looking to provide creative construction solutions to anything that comes our way. You can expect there to always be someone to answer and/or return your communications promptly, as well as provide regular updates.”
That has been the company’s mantra: A business built on relationships. Henryk would tell you, that is not trite or used with little meaning. It is literally everything for EBM.
In fact, the company likely wouldn’t exist without it.
His Roots are in Work
EBM is indeed family operated in every sense of the word. All three of Henryk’s sons work in the business.
“I try to involve them,” says Henryk. “They all have better ideas than I do.” Artur, age 21, is a college student but busy in the business as well. “Artur has great ideas,” says Henryk. “I rely on him. He makes good decisions.” While Henryk spent six weeks in Europe, Artur oversaw the company’s big jobs, met with the clients and handled the bank payouts.
Krzyszeof, 20, is involved doing a variety of responsibilities and Robert, 17, is in the office every day, learning the business from the ground up.
If the sons want to continue the business after Henryk retires, that’s fine with the patriarch, who says he sees “great thing happening” if they did.
Henryk arrived with no English language skills, but it mattered not a bit. He went right to work, explaining that he arrived in October 1991 and was paying rent in December. He studied English and eventually enrolled as a full-time student at National Louis University in Chicago.
While there, he also worked full time. His days began at the crack of dawn and continued into the wee hours for his job as a night custodian. He slept when he could, he says, usually three or four hours a night. During his last year in college, he was a project manager for a company with 68 people working under him.
Despite the workload, Henryk finished his studies in four years.
“I came here with motivation,” he says. “I did not take anything for granted. I had to work hard. I didn’t have a lot of privileges. I had to work for them. But it was also satisfying.”
“When you come here from a country like Poland,” he continues, “even though it was 1991, it was getting better there, but still we were taught the opportunities here were better. You are full of energy and motivation. You are not going to waste anything. You just have to do it.”
To this day, he carries with him the mindset of his father, who instilled in him to always be on time, if not early, and that whatever you’re doing, do it right, even if you don’t like the job.
“That’s what my father taught me,” he says.
With a degree in hand, Henryk’s life began to bloom, but that didn’t happen overnight.
He went to work as a manager of a Chicago parking garage. Just a job to make ends meet, right? Not exactly. When he started EBM as a power-washing company, the manager of that parking garage was his first client.
The same boss soon made a move, too. He quit his job at the parking garage and went into managing condos.
As it so happened, EBM had begun to evolve into a professional building maintenance company. That same boss again became one of the company’s first clients as EBM started providing maintenance services for condos.
To EBM, good relationships make good business. To Henryk, clients are not a number or paperwork in a file cabinet. They are part of a team that is building something great for their business and customers.
Henryk believes that life’s events have led the company to where it is today.
“Everything is connected,” he says. “My philosophy is to never burn any bridges. Everything I’ve done has led to something else.”
An Eye on the Future
Henryk says the company still does work with customers who have been clients for more than 15 years.
Today, the core of EBM’s business is general construction. Since earning its first big contract in 2017, the company has slowly evolved and even specializes in the medical field.
Henryk says that EBM has completed renovations of about 30 skilled nursing facilities in Illinois for Symphony Care Network. However, jobs have included building out doctors’ offices and dialysis centers, too.
The company employs five team members on the general construction side and four on the maintenance side. Henryk says that remaining close to its maintenance roots is still a priority for the company.
As Henryk eyes his expansion dreams to gain a bigger foothold out of state, he wants to grow conservatively.
Getting too big, he says, might compromise the mission of the company.
“It’s a family business that takes care of our clients in a personal way,” he says. “Each of my employees is proud of what they do. All are excellently well trained with a great work ethic.”
Henryk shows that hard work, determination and respect for others is a formula for success. He truly epitomizes an American dream come true.