Fulfilling People’s Wants…and Needs
Chapple’s President Broadens Meaning of ‘Shelter’ Through Charity Work
Peter Fazio Jr. applies his planning and construction skills to meet some people’s wants as well as other people’s basic survival needs. A new home here, a new business location there…and even a homeless shelter just down the road.
Fazio is the new President of Chapple Design Build, which, since 1949, has delivered integrated construction services resulting in built structures throughout the six-county Chicago metro area and beyond.
In his spare time, Fazio and others volunteer with the shelter Lazarus House, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing emergency assistance and long-term alternatives to homeless persons and those less fortunate in the Tri-Cities and Fox Valley area, west of Chicago. He assists with any structural concerns for the organization, serving hundreds of people a year, but he puts his heart, mind and soul into the charitable cause by helping in other ways, too.
“It’s very rewarding and a privilege to serve people in need,” he says.
Fazio was first introduced to the shelter in 2006 when his parish priest asked him to step up to provide expertise during a renovation project at the shelter. He met the inspiring founder of the shelter, Darlene Marcusson, and his innate positive spirit and newly acquired passion for the ministry kept him connected.
“Peter became a member of our board of directors in February 2007 and since that time, he has continued to bring to the table his vision for developing support for Lazarus House,” says Liz Eakins, Executive Director of the shelter. Besides renovation work, Fazio has taken on other tasks as needed, like public relations and fundraising activities.
Two attributes that make him a good match for Lazarus House are his relationship-building ability and his diverse skills in the building trades. Caring for a homeless shelter can require both. They also match the general expertise of Chapple, which specializes in project management and design-build turnkey capabilities.
Building a Reputation
The head of Chapple got his start as the co-owner of a plumbing and heating subcontracting business. In 2013, he switched gears to become a manufacturer’s representative of designer kitchen and bath products. He racked up a total of 30 years in the construction industry. Then, one of his client companies was Chapple, which was under the leadership of Phil Abbinanti at the time. Abbinanti was nearing retirement, but had become acquainted with Fazio, valuing his skills in both construction and leadership. Abbinanti took Fazio to lunch and hinted at the prospect of Fazio taking over.
The opportunity thrilled Fazio. He knew of Chapple’s nearly seven-decade history in the region and its excellent reputation.
In 2015, Fazio started with Chapple as a marketing consultant. From there, with Abbinanti’s support, he acquired the company and assumed ownership in January 2017. In his first year at Chapple, Fazio led efforts resulting in $4 million in revenue. He expects to quadruple that in 2018 due to an improved U.S. economy, his effort to diversify the company (by adding roofing and renovation capabilities), his marketing focus and a little thing he calls “luck.”
A Hand Up
It’s those who are, for varying reasons, down on their “luck” who come to Lazarus House for help. Fazio likes the shelter’s philosophy of offering a hand up and not just a handout—providing services to help people get back on their feet and stay there.
Lazarus House provided 16,570 nights of service to shelter guests while also serving 49,710 meals last year. Plus, it provides a case worker for those needing other assistance to help them transition back into healthy and safe self-sufficiency. It partners with about 50 social service agencies in the region to offer rent assistance, food and clothing, medical and mental attention, job search and housing opportunities, and low- or no-cost counseling, including addiction recovery efforts. Besides volunteering his time, Fazio, as fundraising chairperson, was instrumental in launching an annual, social media-based, fundraising appeal that has raised over $25,000 so far. The campaign is called “The Huge Hand Up.”
Lazarus House doesn’t fit the usual entries in any construction company’s portfolio, including Chapple’s. Located in Wayne, Illinois, Chapple has guided the work to build industrial, commercial, office, recreational and religious facilities in its long history.
Chapple operates as a single design-build source for all of a client’s facility construction needs. Fazio says that by coordinating directly with its project design team, the company of 10 employees combines the design and build functions to maximize communication, minimize confusion, and put an entire project on the fast track to completion while ultimately saving the customer money using value engineering.
No small aspect of that is Chapple’s legacy with Butler Manufacturing™—the world’s leader in pre-engineered building solutions. Chapple has become somewhat of a pioneer in incorporating pre-engineered building solutions into its business planning from the very start. It was only the second company to become a “Butler Builder,” a title now earned by 1,400 companies. In mid-2017, Chapple achieved the distinction of becoming a “95 Million Dollar Builder” from Butler Manufacturing.
“Peter brings an interesting dynamic, he’s very much a people person [and] all about relationship-selling,” says J.T. Barber, Butler Manufacturing’s Area Sales Manager for the Chicago region.
Current projects include Chapple’s work to build a 30,000-square-foot hangar for Hawthorne Global Aviation Services at Chicago Executive Airport, Wheeling, Illinois. The hangar, which includes a passenger lounge and offices, is a $5.5 million project.
Other recent projects include the $3.2 million, 80,000-square-foot, two-story Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center fieldhouse at Northern Illinois University, a $2.2 million, two-story brick-and-mortar addition for Independence Tube in Bedford Park, Illinois, and a 42,000-square-foot addition at Olympic Steel in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Eakins says Fazio’s hard work pays off for Lazarus House just as much it does in the private sector. “We benefit from his expertise in the design-build industry, as he is a key adviser to the board on our new project,” she notes.
Lazarus has recently acquired a large building near its two existing structures—which it previously leased for its emergency shelter—that will allow for housing its complete facility in one space. Once renovated, the new facility will include the living quarters, administrative and outreach office space, the Women & Children’s Day Center, a new laundry facility, learning areas and a new outdoor play area for children.
“Reaching out beyond the demands of owning his own business allows Peter to fully experience what it means to be a part of his community,” Eakins says.
Fazio is integral to the progress of Lazarus House. And the larger community knows it. Last year, the manager from the local Starbucks formally recognized his efforts with an honor through the corporation’s “Give Good” campaign. It was a surprise award ceremony that Fazio says he will never forget.
Upon entering the store one morning, he noticed his wife and daughter, sister and neighbors already there enjoying their coffee. Then, two of his employees walked in to order coffee.
At the appointed time, all of the Starbucks employees marched, to the sound of a drum, from their stations and surrounded him. With the assistance of the Starbucks district manager, also present, the employees presented a surprised and appreciative Fazio with a certificate recognizing his many years of commitment to Lazarus House and those it serves. In addition, he was awarded $500 to benefit his charity.
“I didn’t need the recognition, but if it brings attention to Lazarus House and the subject of homelessness, that’s OK,” the service-oriented construction professional says.