Q&A with Jim Ciesla, President & CEO at Brinkman Construction
By Liz Gibbons
Jim has been in the construction industry for 21 years. Prior to moving to Colorado, he spent seven years working for a national design-build development and construction company in Phoenix, Ariz., where he managed development and construction projects from initial design concepts through construction completion. He has been with Brinkman Construction for the company’s 13-year-history and is an original owner.
Facts About Jim:
- Jim graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University.
- Growing up, Jim wanted to join the Air Force to become a fighter jet pilot.
- Jim grew up outside of Chicago and is an avid Cubs, Bears, and Notre Dame fan.
- Jim’s favorite vacation spot is Kauai, Hawaii.
What has been your biggest success thus far in your career?
Being part of the team that transitioned Brinkman Construction to a 100 percent employee-owned company. Now company performance has taken on a whole new meaning. Success for the company means shared success for our employee owners. This has allowed us to create a greater impact on our families and our communities.
What is the best advice you have received?
First, listen more than you speak. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Second, relationships are a two-way street. You need to navigate relationships more as partnerships with give-and-take interactions. This is applicable to everyone you work with. Clients, subcontractors, and coworkers.
What advice do you have for the next generation of leaders?
Be patient. I was taught early in my career to take the time to enjoy what I was doing rather than being overly anxious to move on to the next stage. More often than not, there is a path to what you want, and your leaders will help you get there. It’s not instant and you need to build your skills and experiences along the way.
How do you feel Brinkman Construction’s culture has been affected by your significant growth in the last five years?
We have been very intentional and strategic about preserving our culture as we grow. Double-digit growth year-over-year is generally perceived as hard to manage, but we have found success in having people who know what they are doing, and they are dedicated to the company. We find our culture has been enhanced by continuing to make the right hires who embrace growth.
What are some characteristics of the Brinkman team that you are proud of?
Whether in our offices or on our job sites, we have a grit and tenacity to provide exceptional outcomes for our clients. We have exceptionally talented people who believe in what they do, and I believe we have the right people in the right roles, so leadership is really just there to guide, steer and provide opportunities.
Your company recently went through a rebrand, what motivated the timing of the rebrand?
In 2016, we transitioned into a new era of leadership and became 100 percent employee owned. We saw an opportunity to create a brand that represented a new era of leadership for our company. We’ve come a long way since our founding, and we wanted our brand to reflect who we are today and where we’re headed in the future.
What were your main objectives for the new brand?
We wanted our visual brand to demonstrate more of our process. Our new brand with the elk in our logo displays how we take a project from start to finish – much like the elk, we work with strength, endurance and patience. Our graphic depiction of the elk also captures our attention to detail; it was crafted in a very purposeful way to mimic an architectural feel. Our new tag line, Driven to Build, serves multiple purposes like the elk. It not only encompasses the fact that we build buildings, but also that we are building careers, relationships and opportunities along the way.