Central Illinois Business Magazine
COVER STORY          August 2017

Forty years

Broeren Russo building with integrity


Story: Bridget Broihahn

Photo: Allyson Sanborn

"We can't wait to come to work tomorrow," John Russo said. He and Stuart Broeren haven been constructing buildings for 40 years.

Broeren and Russo have an extensive history. One could say that have built quite a relationship, along with many buildings they have constructed in the years as Broeren Russo Builders, Inc. Broeren is the president and Russo is the executive vice president of the company that has been providing premier general contracting and construction management services.

They have a passion for quality building. They approach every project with the idea that they can enhance the community with their builds. And if 40 years seems like a long time, well, their relationship actually goes back a lot longer than that.

"I have known John Russo since second grade at St. Matthews's grade school," Broeren said. "We attended grade school, junior high and high school together."

On the weekends they would work for Broeren's dad, Wayne Broeren, at Thompson Lumber. They were two young boys who, even though they were having fun, they were also learning a trade and creating an investment into the future.

"We were in junior high school. It kept us busy and out of trouble," Russo said.

Even back then, these young boys loved working hard and completing projects together as a couple of up and coming carpenters.

"In high school, we built our first house," Russo said.

"We remained close friends through college. We've been through marriage, divorce, kids, death, sickness, injury, stupid actions, successes, happiness and failures...life," Broeren said.

After college, Broeren stayed in town and Russo went up north.

"I started the business in 1977 with my father who was the other 25 percent shareholder," Broeren said.

"I built high rises in Chicago," Russo said.

The two kept in touch, however, because their friendship was built on a solid foundation.

"John was working for a large international firm, when I had a project in Champaign that needed his expertise: The Trade Centre building on Neil and Kirby in Champaign where Wolfram Research is (headquartered) and the hotel across the alley. That was in 1988. We never looked back from there," Broeren said.

They have a large list of satisfied customers, too. In fact, the various subcontractors in and around the area are also very complimentary when referring to the company. Broeren Russo has built a solid relationship with the community that is honest, fair, and filled with integrity. They have built in many community sectors.

"We started out building homes, some multi- family and light commercial. We have done hospitals, manufacturing, clean rooms, warehousing, industrial plants, commercial, retail, office, and even a waste water treatment plant, Broeren said.

Some recent completed projects also include: Pickwick Coffee Company, Hamilton Walkers' restaurant, The Hub, Mahomet-Seymour High School library and auditorium, 512 Green Street, The Tower in Third, JW Eater Junior High School, Skyline Tower, Chez Family Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education, Alpha Gamma Delta fraternity, Healey Place Apartments, the West Quad, UIUC Golf Facility, Countryside School, Stephens Family YMCA, UI Conference Center, Parkland College Applied Technology Center and much, much more.

They both agree they wanted to be involved in the tough and challenging projects.

"Some examples are: Memorial Stadium, Virginia Theatre, St. Patrick's church. They are very fulfilling," Broeren said.

Current projects include: UI Ice Arena, Henry Administration Building, the "Suites on Third" street in Champaign, Christie Clinic and Middletown Prairie Elementary Edition in Mahomet, where last week they raised the walls of a gymnasium that will also serve as an emergency community shelter.

There are those that say Broeren Russo does have a distinct style. Their builds speak for themselves.

"We are just the builder. We have to give credit to the architects," Russo quickly said.

Broeren agreed.

"We are not architects. We build what they come up with, and we do have many clients who utilize our expertise in advising them on what will meet their goals and objectives and not break the bank," he said.

So what is included in the future proverbial blue print for Broeren Russo?

"We have an outstanding group of young leaders who have been with us for many years. They have been taking on more responsibility each year and will take over the operations of the company," Broeren said.

"Yes, we have really brilliant and talented people that possess a great skillsets and vast knowledge of the latest technology. All in all, we have great people," Russo said.

Are these two still inspired by construction, or have the years taken some of the zest away?

"Stu and I love construction and are very passionate about what we do. We are very fortunate to have great staff who share our passion and dedication to provide the best possible construction solutions. We can't wait to come to work tomorrow," Russo said.

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