Issue: December 2006
Building A Legacy
A solid foundation has helped the Ozanne Construction Co. grow for 50 years and into the next generation.
Dominic Ozanne practically grew up with a tool belt around his waist. After all, construction is in the Ozanne family’s blood.
“I was always exposed to construction as a little boy,” Ozanne recalls. “There were always tools around the house. You can’t escape it.”
That early exposure paid off. Today, Ozanne, 53, is president and CEO of Ozanne Construction Co. The company is one of the oldest construction companies in Cleveland, and is one of the first black-owned construction companies.
With roots in southwest Louisiana, the Ozannes have a long history of working in the trade industry.
“[We] were one of the founding families of New Orleans in the 1700s,” says Ozanne. But when Ozanne’s father, Leroy, left the Navy in the 1950s, he decided to move the family to Cleveland. He took a job as a Cleveland building inspector before deciding to start his own contracting business in 1956.
“I was 3 years old when [my father] started the company in the basement,” recalls Ozanne. “In the beginning I was at my dad’s shoulder growing up.”
Over the years, Ozanne’s interests shifted as he attended Boston University and earned a law degree from Harvard Law School. But in 1980, he returned to his father’s company. He took over as president and CEO in 1990.
Today, celebrating its 50th year in business, Ozanne oversees a staff of 45 employees and continues to be a leader in the construction business. The firm provides a range of construction services from general contracting to consulting and project management. The company has enjoyed particular success with Ohio schools, correctional facilities, military bases and sports arenas — in particular, projects at Cleveland Browns Stadium and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ administrative offices. Additionally, Ozanne has worked on projects around the country, most notably Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, the world’s busiest airport.
“We’ve gotten some pretty good jobs over the years,” says Ozanne. “We’ve managed to keep good relationships with the owners we’ve worked with, and that’s always a highlight. We’ve got some good friends and good relationships out there.”
Ozanne sees Northeast Ohio’s slumped economy as one of the biggest challenges to his business.
“A rising tide lifts all boats, and certainly there are going to be more jobs,” he says, citing the lucrative job markets in California and Florida. “I wish Northern Ohio was growing like those areas.”
Conversely, Ozanne has his sights set on projects in the New Orleans area. “To return home to work, that would be nice,” he says.
As Ozanne looks ahead to the next 50 years, he simply wants to carry on in the same way his father grew the company.
“We just want to keep growing and continue at a slow, steady growth,” he says. “We’ve been blessed. We’ve been very fortunate to be able to say we’ve been around this long. We couldn’t be more pleased with where we are. No one has worked harder.”
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