A decade ago, Grand Rapids was prime for development. Once known as Furniture City, Michigan’s second-largest city was turning into a destination for medical professionals seeking work, real estate developers looking to get in on affordable rates and the beginning of what would be the lucrative beer tourism industry.
The surplus of construction projects in Grand Rapids offered a unique opportunity to naval veteran Brad Laackman, owner of Honor Construction. Laackman founded Honor to be a firm that delivered big-business results while maintaining a small-business atmosphere that put client experience front and center. This approach quickly positioned Honor as the go-to firm for mid-to-large scale commercial projects.
In Honor’s infancy, Laackman diligently worked at growing his firm’s reputable status, all while carefully nurturing a close-knit culture on the inside. To build his company’s competitive edge, Laackman knew growth had to be strategic and deliberate, even if that meant taking extra time needed to make sure each decision was the best one. Every one of Honor’s staff members were handpicked by Laackman to ensure each person perfectly fit into the role, aligned with company principles and gelled with fellow teammates.
After serving eight years in the Navy, veteran’s issues became a huge part of Laackman’s vision. Staying true to that vision, Honor actively searches out veteran employees and advises trade partners to do the same. Veterans who meet the qualifications are considered the top candidates to fill open positions. Honor also chooses to do business with other Veterans, weather is it financial or legal services, Honor works to incorporate as many Veteran’s as possible into their business. Additionally, the firm is deeply involved in local veteran causes and organizations, specifically Folds of Honor, which provides scholarships to the children and spouses of fallen soldiers. Over the past four years, Honor has helped raise thousands of dollars for Fold of Honor.
Alongside hiring the right staff members and aligning itself with veteran issues, the firm’s internal and external processes and procedures remained key during its growth stage to ensure clients received results and quality. Laackman adopted an open-book management style for both his employees and clients. Inspired by the Zingerman’s transparency model, Laackman makes a point to keep an open dialogue with employees in day-to-day communication. By knowing what the employees want out of company culture, the work environment is more positive and constructive and the culture is back-and-forth between management and employees in a way that is respectable and productive.
When working with Honor, clients know the detailed aspects of every project, as they are educated on the trade, with Honor representatives helping to navigate industry jargon. Instead of going into a construction project blind, Honor assists its clients with everything from bidding, recruiting and hiring contractors, as well as assisting with move in.
Since inception, Honor has upheld its mission to build with honor and integrity, while striving to make the industry approachable and understandable to the clients it serves. The smaller size allows Honor to be more agile and lean in pricing and structure, while still maintaining the quality its clients expect.