Steve Ciuni has taken some risks during his career. Back in 1992, he and three other colleagues purchased the assets of Drake Construction Co. from the original founders, but three years later, Ciuni made one of the biggest financial risks of his life by purchasing the shares of one of the other owners who had decided to leave the company. Nine years later, Drake Construction’s president decided to retire, so Ciuni stepped up to the plate. At this junction in the business, he decided again to take a risk and change the company’s business focus.
While the construction company had previously focused on work in the open-bid market, he decided to focus on negotiated, client-relationship-based work. This strategy would allow the business to work with quality sub-contractors and focus on providing the highest level of quality to its customers, but the strategy also proved challenging as it limited the company’s client base in the Cleveland area, which wasn’t expanding. However, Ciuni was determined to build a business based on trust, honesty and strong relationships.
He also had to explain to his partners and employees that the new approach was risky and would take nearly two years to recognize the benefits.
Ciuni first met with every employee to explain the new philosophy that every person he or she interacts with as an employee of Drake Construction must be treated the way that person wanted to be treated. He also never wanted to hear the phrase, “It’s not personal it’s just business,” as he wouldn’t accept that mentality, and it wouldn’t help the business in its new direction.
Three years later, he’s seeing real results and the risks Ciuni took throughout the years have certainly paid off for Drake Construction.
“The strategy has paid off in what we do,”
Ciuni says. “Today, we do not have any outstanding receivables, our old debts are paid off, our repeat business has increased, and we are receiving projects on a referral basis.”
HOW TO REACH: Drake Construction Co., (216) 664-6500 or www.drakeconstructionco.com