SLOWDOWN, Omaha, NE – Bob Carlisle and his wife, Ashley, hit the dance floor early, paving the way for Nancy and Tim Benson to show off their own smooth two-step moves.
The official party for MCL Construction’s 30th anniversary was kicking into high gear last Thursday as the Carlisles and Bensons took to the floor, heeding the siren call of a party band known as “4 On The Floor.”
It was around this time that Paul Beller – the company’s very own ‘Tamborine Man’ - made his move.
Beller climbed on stage and shook his bells as the band plowed through a medley of hits, including the classic “Billie Jean.”
He may not have had Michael Jackson’s sense of timing, but what Beller lacked in choreography, this company vice president made up for it in his unabashed joy and enthusiasm of the music. Let’s just say Elaine Benes of “Seinfeld” fame would have been proud. (You can see the video at the end of this story.)
It was a time to reflect on the past, while staying focused on the future.
“It’s been a fun 30 years. There’s been a lot of ups and downs but more ups than downs,” said Bob Carlisle, one of the company’s original owners and a man whom everyone agrees was instrumental in the company’s success.
Carlisle spoke for a few minutes before he hit the dance floor, showering his appreciation on all the employees who have and still work for his company.
It is the men and women on the frontlines who have helped to make MCL the success it is today, said Carlisle. MCL Construction is one company that doesn’t cycle through employees. “We have the greatest group of employees. We have 50 employees out of 156 people who have been with us for more than 10 years,” Carlisle said.
Carlisle then called the company’s past and its future to the stage in the form of Jim Meyers and Tony Fucinaro.
Meyers is the retired estimator who convinced Carlisle to join him as a co-owner in a new construction venture. At the time, the two men worked for Hicks Construction and figured they could make more money on their own.
Fucinaro is the heir apparent to Carlisle, although Carlisle says he isn’t leaving “anytime soon.”
With Meyers by his side, Carlisle called him the best numbers guy in the business. “You will never ever ever EVER – in our industry – meet a better estimator.”
As for Fucinaro, Carlisle predicted the senior vice president was going to help the company reach new heights.
“This is the guy who is going to take us to the next level,’ said Carlisle. “All my employees, get on board, because it’s going to be a heck of a ride.”
Carlisle wasn’t the only one who had high hopes and praise for the company. Several people in the audience said they were amazed at MCL’s rapid growth.
The company’s first job when it started in 1987 was a $500 gig to build an enclosure over an air conditioner. Flash forward to today, and MCL has built numerous multi-million dollar projects, including Methodist Women’s Hospital.
Mike McGlade, an old friend of Carlisle, said he always knew MCL Construction would be successful, but even McGlade seemed a little surprised at the company’s rapid rise to become one of Omaha’s most recognizable and trusted construction companies. “It’s been quite a run for them,” said McGlade.
Greg Boulay, a former accountant who worked with the company in its early days, said Meyers and Carlisle made the perfect team. “They complimented each other very well” said Boulay. “It was a great combination of an older guy with ‘been there, done that’ experience and a younger guy with endless energy and optimism.”
“What they’ve been able to do is pretty unprecedented in this industry,” Boulay added.
The amazing part of MCL Construction’s success, one partygoer said, is that they’ve managed to succeed without going full-on “corporate.”
“We work with a lot of construction companies,” said Dave Jesse, an insurance broker with Harry Koch Co., “And, I’ve said this a lot (about MCL). They’re a big little company.”
“They do a lot of work, a lot of big jobs, but they’re still a small family company. It doesn’t have that corporate feel,” said Jesse.
Jesse is right. If you want proof, look no further than Beller.
I ask you this: “Is there another company in Omaha who has a vice president/Tamborine Man on staff, ready to shake his booty and get the party started?”
Nope, I thought not.
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