Issue: July 2005 Issue
Marous Brothers Construction's 25 years in business proves finding the right people is the secret to longevity.
Adelbert "Chip" Marous was all of 19 years old when he and his brother, Scott, 21, started Marous Brothers Construction Inc. in Willoughby.
The duo started in 1980 as carpenters, primarily for the residential market. They charged $1,000 for their first job. The firm's most recent contract was for $60 million.
This month, Marous Brothers celebrates its 25th year in business, and is the inaugural member of Inside Business' Birthday Club, honoring milestone anniversaries in Northeast Ohio companies.
From two employees to more than 500, the Marous brothers have learned that choosing the right employees, and trusting them with their company's reputation, is the most challenging and the most important step in creating business with longevity.
"Over 25 years a lot has changed, but it's amazing how much hasn't," says Chip. "One thing that hasn't changed is the loyalty we have to our people and they have for us."
Marous Brothers' first commercial project was as carpentry subcontractors on a small apartment building in Mentor in 1981, and the projects grew in size from there. In 1995, the firm made the critical jump from subcontracting to general contracting with the renovation of the Central YMCA in downtown Cleveland.
With the firm growing and brother Ken Marous joining in 1997, a more defined business structure became crucial to the growth. Marous Brothers reorganized into small business units, concentrating on its contracting trades, design/build projects, interiors and special projects.
"Structure is very important," Chip says. "If you don't have a good structure, you can't keep growing year after year."
Marous Brothers is annually responsible for more than 800,000 man-hours of labor. With that many workers on different job sites, a loss in productivity would be deadly for its firm's bottom line and reputation. In 1999, Marous Brothers designed a "Total Quality Management" program to define the role of each employee and how they should perform their duties. The exhaustive analysis also included creating a series of manuals to define processes and procedures for every construction project.
"A lot of companies put in a TQM program to increase quality," Chip says. "That was never our problem. We wanted to maintain the quality. That's something we live and breathe here."
Even with defined roles and clear procedures, the Marous brothers know they can't do everything themselves and must delegate responsibilities and trust their employees.
"We realized that we had a major opportunity to grow, but we had to be able to let go and let our people help us run this business," Marous says. "At first it was tough, but a lot of times in business, you are forced to delegate because you have so much on your table. When you have the right people, it makes it much easier."
If your company is celebrating a major anniversary this year and would like to be in IB's Birthday Club, contact Associate Editor Morgan Lewis Jr. at (216) 771-2833, Ext. 179 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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