A Passion for Construction
BuildPro Construction Services turns visions into reality
For BuildPro Construction Services (BuildPro), the most important qualities in a prospective employee are empathy and passion. “Beyond basic qualifications, we search for team members who have an energy about what they do,” says Chief Operating Officer David Slater. “I can teach someone how to write a proposal. I can’t teach someone to have a passion for their work and a deep level of caring for others.”
These soft skills are what set the company apart, according to David. “We love what we do at BuildPro and are excited about our projects and about working with our clients.”
Headquartered in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, BuildPro is a full-service general contractor that provides new construction, design-build, renovation and construction management services to commercial customers. With projects ranging in size from $100,000 to multimillion-dollar developments, the family-owned business works with developers and investors on multifamily residences, hotels, outdoor shopping malls and other commercial buildings.
“It’s exciting to drive by a building that you know you built—to see the fruits of your labor. That’s what makes this industry great,” David says.
BuildPro’s office in New Jersey serves clients throughout the state, as well as parts of Pennsylvania and Connecticut. A new office in Houston meets the needs of customers in Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. Additionally, the company operates throughout Europe. “We offer employees lots of opportunities for growth and even the chance to work in other locations and countries,” David says.
One Point of Contact
With estimating and purchasing experts on staff, BuildPro meets the needs of its customers. “We have a deep level of industry knowledge and a diverse team with years of industry experience—from former architects to former tradespeople,” David says.
The company thrives on helping clients from the inception of a project idea. “We like to get involved early on. An investor might come to us with an initial concept for a building. We take that vision, help to search out and acquire property, obtain the necessary approvals, work with the design team and provide value engineering services to ensure the project is within a client’s budget,” David says.
While BuildPro has a team of experts working hard behind the scenes, there is one point of contact for every single project—David himself. “Clients don’t have to worry about who’s working on what days. Whatever the day, whatever the time, I’m here for my clients.”
“Whatever the time” truly means 24/7, according to David. “I had a client call me on a Sunday night this week. Every client has my cellphone and knows they can reach me whenever there’s a question.”
David is involved in a project from the very beginning. “Before we quote on any project, I want to meet with the client first. Whether the contract is for $100,000 or $100 million, a customer should feel completely comfortable with us before handing over a dime.”
And David and Managing Member Richard Osika stay involved throughout the project, until the keys are delivered. “It’s important clients have that continuity,” he says. “You don’t meet with us once and then don’t see us until the end. We’re deeply involved through all aspects of a job, and clients know they can trust us.”
Earning trust comes with developing a relationship with each client. “We are very close with our clients,” David says. Client dinners are a frequent occurrence at David’s house. “I have clients over for dinner once or twice a week. They become like family to us. I’ve been invited to their weddings and other special events. Projects aren’t just a business transaction to us. We want clients to feel like they know and can trust us.”
More than 85% of BuildPro’s business comes through word-of-mouth. “Both myself and Richard are in our 30s and have years ahead of us in this industry. We are passionate about providing exemplary customer service and making sure every single customer has a great experience with BuildPro. Our goal is for every client to become a repeat client,” David says.
All in the Family
Richard’s father, Walter, established BuildPro 32 years ago in Poland. Soon after starting the business, Richard’s family came to the United States. “Walter would commute back and forth to Poland to serve existing clients there, while growing his business in the U.S.,” David says.
Richard grew up in the industry, training and learning the business side by side with his father. Approximately a decade ago, Richard took the reins of BuildPro, increasing the company’s volume of work both in New Jersey and in Poland.
David met Richard while working at a building supply company eight years ago. “Richard was my No. 1 customer,” David says. The two discovered a synergy and soon joined forces. “I remember us looking at each other and saying that it makes too much sense. We had to work together.”
The two have worked to grow BuildPro and in 2019 opened a Houston office. “Richard had wanted to expand the company into a new market and saw that Texas was booming,” David says.
BuildPro credits The Blue Book Network for easing the transition to a new geographic region. “Blue Book has been a phenomenal partner. When we first entered the market, they’d vet and set up meetings with subcontractors in Houston. They assisted greatly,” he says.
Clients have welcomed the company with open arms. “We have experienced such Southern hospitality. I think clients appreciate the Northeast hustle that we bring to projects, as well as our reputation for quality work. The Texas market is a great fit for BuildPro,” David says. “We are always growing and expanding. It’s an exciting place to work,” he adds.
Managing the Moving Parts
With up to 40 projects a year, BuildPro stays busy. Among its noteworthy clients is Valvoline. The company recently managed construction of a 6,000-square-foot Valvoline service center in Austin and expects to have additional service centers in the pipeline soon. “These are new construction projects,” David notes. The center features several service bays, underground storage space and office facilities. To meet the needs of the fast-paced project, the company worked closely with Valvoline’s team of experts, with David making on-site visits weekly. “The deadline was critical on this project. We delivered the project on time and on budget. The client was very happy,” he says.
Another project in the works is a 250,000-square-foot, 10-story multifamily residence in Jersey City. “This is a multimillion-dollar project with a lot of moving parts. We’re working in one of the busiest cities in the state,” David says. The apartment building will feature an all-glass façade, high-end luxury finishes, underground parking and a rooftop terrace.
Also in New Jersey, BuildPro brought new life to an outdoor shopping mall, located in Middlesex County. “We renovated the façade of the entire strip mall, as well as provided interior fit-outs for tenant spaces,” David says. Team members helped the client select quality plumbing and other fixtures. “The size, scope and complexity of this project made it very interesting to work on,” he says.
A Culture Built on Relationships
Coming from the sales world, David learned early on of Richard’s hands-on approach to relationships. “Richard never wanted me to send him a ton of emails. He wants you to pick up the phone or grab coffee and talk. It’s become a defining characteristic of our corporate culture.”
BuildPro fosters employee relationships by putting in face time as a team, whether ice skating, bowling or even throwing axes. “We get together about once a month. When you spend 40 or 50 hours a week with people, you want to feel comfortable around them and make sure you have a good working environment,” David says.
According to David, BuildPro has very little turnover, with new employees joining the company on the recommendation of team members. “Employees know this is a good place to work and recommend friends they know,” he says.
The company makes new employees feel at home from day one. “We’ll get a cake on their first day in the office. We want to make that person feel special and to know they are a priority for us.
BuildPro is a family-owned business, and they operate like a family, David says. “Employees, subcontractors and clients become part of our family here. It’s what makes this company special.”
With more than 20 years in the communications industry, Susan Diemont-Conwell works with companies, nonprofits and individuals to produce stories and publications that move and inspire.