There is a pause, but not a long one. Adelbert “Chip” Marous Jr., president of Marous Brothers Construction, confesses that if there were one type of project he would like to tackle, one that he has not done before, it would be to design/build a high-rise building from the ground up.
Marous founded his company in 1980 with his brother, Scott. Another brother, Ken, joined the family business in 1997.
Marous’ slight hesitation in answering occurred only because his company, headquartered in Willoughby for more than 35 years, has pretty much done it all. The list of projects would fill its own city — office and government buildings, banks, sports facilities, retail including car dealerships, gaming venues, medical facilities, industrial, hospitality, educational, religious and cultural facilities, as well as multi-family housing. And it’s not just the variety of projects, but the complete services the company provides, including design/build, construction management services, site services, carpentry and interior finishes and historic rehabs.
“Historic restorations are very near and dear to our hearts,” says Marous. “We do a lot all over the country. They are very difficult and very complicated. As a company we don't just take on easy projects. If you look at our history, you’ll see we have always taken on projects other companies decide to pass on. We don’t shy away from the risks.”
That included the construction of the 5-acre, $25 million African Elephant Crossing for Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2011 that features two outdoor elephant yards and a deep-water swim channel. It was the largest elephant exhibit in the country and the first LEED Gold certified animal exhibit, serving as a model for elephant habitat and care for zoos nationwide. Marous also can name-drop additional impressive new construction and restoration projects: Jacobs Field, Quicken Loans Arena, Central YMCA and the Arcade in downtown Cleveland, plus hundreds more, including the most recent award-winning, design/build project in Cleveland, the Westin.
“A lot of contractors are just brokers. We’re not. We consider [ourselves] to be true builders. We’re throwbacks to the 1950s and 1960s when you did it all. And that’s important,” says Marous.
Marous credits his family and his 400-plus employees for his confidence and the success of the company. He knows both groups have his back. As president, Marous oversees all facets of every project. Brother Scott, chief operations officer, is hands-on in the field, and Ken is vice president and leader of the site group.
“We are very fortunate. We bring different personalities and talents to the table. What we do really well is capitalize on each other’s strengths and shore up each others’ weaknesses,” says Marous. “Our whole company is structured that way. We have a lot of difficult challenges, but different levels of talent to meet them.”
It’s possible to flip through a family photo album to understand the bedrock of the strong Marous family relationships. Six Marous kids grew up in a three-bedroom home with one and half baths in Lake County. Three boys and three girls shared bedrooms, which might have created some tense sibling moments, but also fostered a closeness. Marous (who has six offspring of his own) says his parents instilled in their children values and ideals they still possess today.
And, he believes, they have passed these down to a second generation of the family, one that is affectionately called G2. No one is required to go into the construction business, but Marous says the tight family environment created a natural progression that overlapped into work. Today, three of Marous’ sons and Scott’s two sons have important roles in the company’s businesses. (And behind that generation, 26 grandkids.)
“Our sons started at the bottom. We told them that they wouldn’t get instant respect, that they had to earn it. Just because their last name was Marous didn’t mean they had it easy. They had to go through different parts of the business so they could understand different components,” says Marous, adding it was also important G2 got to closely know the company’s clients, contractors and employees.
“There is always that generational difference. That’s especially true when someone starts a company with nothing, like my brothers and I, and then watch it grow to an impressive size. The first generation has a different experience than the second generation. And that’s where good communication about where we have been and where we are headed is so important.”
Marous says employees are treated like “extended family.” He is proud to have the most creative, brilliant and hard-working individuals in the industry work for Marous Brothers Construction, and that they understand and live out the company’s mission and core values every day. He is also proud of his lifelong Willoughby connection and the support his company and his community share.
“We are a success because of our people,” says Marous. “We built our company on how we were raised — quality, quality and quality relationships — and the understanding that we need to take care of our clients.”