Passion and Purpose
JWR Construction Services, Inc.: the go-to construction guys in Florida
As soon as Dustin DuBois, Chief Operating Officer of JWR Construction Services, Inc., was old enough to hold a broom and push a wheelbarrow, he was on a construction job site with his father, Jerry. “I learned the business from the bottom up,” Dustin says.
Jerry DuBois, a general contractor, founded JWR Construction Services in 1985 with partner William J. Gallo, an architect. After spending his early years assisting his father on job sites, Dustin took a break from construction and joined the U.S. Navy right after high school. But the lure of the construction site soon drew him back into the business.
“I would be driving down the road, pass by a job site, and I could smell it. I realized how much I missed it,” says Dustin. “Building is in my blood.”
He left the Navy after five years and has been with JWR Construction Services ever since.
The company, located in Deerfield Beach, Florida, is truly a family-run business. In addition to Jerry and Dustin, Jerry’s two daughters are also involved in the business: Alisia Gilmour is the Chief Financial Officer, and Roxanne DuBois is the Contracts Administrator.
Today, the firm provides general contracting, design-build and construction management services for clients across the state of Florida. Over the years, the company’s work has included banks, food service, higher education, industrial and, most recently, affordable living communities.
Jerry and William founded the business on the principle of building strong, long-term relationships with their clients. This has led the company to do a lot of work for a few clients, explains Dustin, rather than the other way around.
Becoming the ‘Construction Guys’
Focusing on long-term relationships has allowed the JWR Construction Services team to get to know the ins and outs of their clients’ business.
“Ultimately, our goal has always been to effectively become the construction division for our clients,” explains Dustin. “Just like how people may have an accountant or an auto mechanic that they go to, we’re the construction guys.”
JWR Construction Services can help clients through every stage of a construction project, beginning with upfront design assistance. “We’re helping them work through the budget from day one and helping them get the building designed to the budget,” he says.
This approach has led to work in a variety of industries over the years, as clients bring JWR Construction Services into different projects. “We focus less on specific industries and more on taking care of our clients. That’s led to us having different niches over the years,” says Dustin.
Purposeful Projects…‘Feel Good Work’
Most recently, JWR Construction Services has begun doing work for affordable living communities after one client needed to renovate its senior housing properties.
These types of renovation projects aren’t always easy, explains Dustin. “Sixty percent of the affordable housing projects we do are rehabs, so they’re occupied buildings where we’re coming in and renovating units. They’re almost all elderly residents, and it’s not a simple process to figure out how to get the resident moved out, complete the renovation work and then get them moved back in while keeping everyone in the building safe. But it’s something we’ve become very good at.”
The key is keeping everyone in the building updated and informed on what’s going on. That’s where the team’s focus on relationship-building comes into play.
“We build good relationships with everyone in the community—including the residents—to the point where the residents are almost upset when it’s time for us to leave,” Dustin laughs. “They like seeing us there.”
And the JWR Construction Services team likes seeing the residents, too. They find working on affordable living communities meaningful because they see firsthand the positive impact their work has on the people who live there.
“At the end of the day on the social level, it’s feel-good work. We’re able to be part of substantially improving people’s quality of life, which is special.”
In addition to its work with affordable living communities, JWR Construction Services is committed to giving back to the Deerfield community by helping those in need.
This year, the company raised more than $14,000 for the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority’s Destination Graduation to help children of one-parent households each receive a new laptop at their drive-thru graduation celebration during the pandemic.
The team also applies its skills and expertise in their work with Rebuilding Together Broward County, an organization that renovates and revitalizes the homes of low-income homeowners who are elderly, veterans or individuals with disabilities.
This sense of service and philanthropy was instilled in Dustin and his sisters early on.
“As a family, we’ve always been involved heavily in the community,” says Dustin. “It should be an obvious thing for anybody to want to give back and be a part of their community where they’re able to. We’re involved in areas that are our specialty and where we feel we can make the biggest difference.”
Passion for the Industry
A real strength of the JWR Construction Services team, Dustin says, is the passion they have for their work. “A lot of it is based in appreciation for the work and the industry. Everybody here is in this business because they have a real love for the work. I don’t know if that’s true for every company.”
Part of the passion also comes from the ability to build and maintain those important long-term relationships—with fellow team members, with clients and with others they work with along the way.
“None of our projects are a one-off, and we know we’re going to be working with the same people for many years to come.”
Another aspect of the work that’s meaningful for Dustin is the ability to create something—a building, a restaurant, housing—that will remain for years to come.
“There are very few industries where you can drive down the road 30 years later and point out a building and go, ‘That’s what I put my work into,’ ” says Dustin. “I can drive down the road and see jobs that I worked on years ago, even if I was just sweeping the job site at the time because I was too young to do the construction work. They’re still there.”
Dustin compares buildings to tattoos—like tattoos, each building evokes specific memories that bring him to a certain time and place in his life.
A Childhood Dream Come True
From the moment he joined JWR Construction Services, Dustin’s intention was to help grow the business his father helped found.
“My goal when I started was to grow the footprint of the business to do work throughout the state of Florida, at minimum,” he says. “The plan is working, and it’s a product of building relationships with the right people. Now, many of our clients have projects throughout the state, and they’re taking us with them.”
As for the future, in addition to expanding geographically, Dustin hopes to also grow the size and scope of projects—a goal that’s already coming to fruition.
“We just broke ground on a building in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and our job site has a buck hoist, an elevator on the side of the building. Growing up, I was always in awe of the massive buildings that were never ours. But now our project sizes include those buildings. I’ve got a buck hoist on the job now!” He laughs. “It may seem like a simple thing, but I’m excited—it’s a childhood dream.”