A Plymouth construction company is getting attention for its workplace culture and business growth in the face of adversity. Bauer Design Build weathered the recession and has come out stronger than ever. Now its company president has been named TwinWest's 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year.
"I love helping people and seeing their dreams come true. I love building things, and I love sitting down with a client and working with the designers and figuring out what it is that they need," said Mike Bauer, president of Bauer Build Design.
Bauer feels grateful to be leading the 12-year-old company that's responsible for hundreds of different buildings in the metro area. Bauer Design Build projects include everything from Omni Brewing Co. in Maple Grove to an end-of-life care center in Buffalo.
Bauer has good reason to feel proud about the growth of his company. When he started the business in 2005, little did he know a major recession was just a few years away. When the downturn hit in 2008, Bauer was able to keep operations going despite operating one year in the red.
"2009 was actually the only year we operated in the red as a company. I'm pretty proud to say we didn't lay anybody off, we kept everybody busy. I actually took zero salary that year," said Bauer.
Now a company of 35 people, and a business that's on track to do more than $100 million in business this year, Bauer positioned his company for growth during the recession and even started hiring. He's quick to credit the team of people who make this company work.
"I think that's part of our success is that it isn't just about finding the deal. It's helping others out."
That company culture and community involvement are key reasons area business leaders recently picked Bauer for the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce's 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year award.
"The culture is definitely from the top down. He exhibits it himself, but also you can see it in all of his team members," said TwinWest President Shannon Full. "That whole culture of integrity, and they speak about it, but they don't just talk about it. They really do, walk the walk."
Bauer is proud of the company and its buildings, but he's most proud of the culture that's been created by doing the right thing.
"Not one of my employees will ever tell you or anybody else that that's not in my job description," said Bauer. "We're always there to help them, even if there's not a job in there for us. I think what goes around, comes around."
Alexandra Renslo reporting
May 22, 2017