Former President of the Mason Contractors Association of America and the Associated General Contractors of America, Ernest Grotsky possesses decades of experience as an entrepreneur, construction manager, and general contractor. I recently had the chance to talk with him about his career.
Q: What was your first leadership role in the construction industry?
A: I served as President at G&W Masonry Systems in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1970s. Most of my work at that time came from government, industrial, and commercial projects. Many of our projects were small, but several were worth more than $1 million dollars.
Q: And what came next?
A: I formed a second company, Construction Systems of the Palm Beaches, in 1982 and began contracting in Florida. As owner and Manager, I continued to take small contracts but also won some larger ones, with some worth as much as $5 million. We had several major clients, including Bloomingdale’s, General Electric, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nationwide Insurance.
Q: what kind of work did you focus on?
A: We did a lot of work in concrete. That portion of the business alone had 8 major pieces of equipment and more than 16 employees. We poured an average of 200 to 600 cubic yards of concrete every day.
Q: I notice you went back to school in the 1990s. Tell me more about that, please?
A: Yes, I decided I needed a degree in 1997. I completed my Associate of Science in Architectural Construction Technology in 1999 and am partway through a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management at North Carolina A&T State University. I’ve also taken courses through The Ohio State University and Franklin University, and earned a Certificate in Construction Law and Labor Relations from Pepperdine University.
Q: What was your most recent position?
A: From 2006 to 2008, I had the opportunity to serve as a Senior Project Manager for CB Richard Ellis. I developed dozens of projects and worked directly with government agencies, general contractors, and clients. One of my biggest priorities there was to make sure that I documented every phase of construction to show that we were meeting milestones and adhering to our contracts.