How Brad Dannegger found his niche in ARCO/Murray National Construction Company

At age 30, Bradley J. Dannegger approached the owners of ARCO/Murray National Construction Company and asked to open a Chicago office of the firm. He had already worked at the St. Louis and Florida offices, and the owners recognized that he was a rising star, so they support his plan.
The result was a substantial decrease in pay for Dannegger as well as an increase in risk.  But his hard work, perseverance and his top talent has grown the Chicago office into one of the most successful in the ARCO/Murray family.
He continued to grow ARCO through the recent recession by focusing on complicated, niche construction projects with Fortune 2000 companies – for example, clean-rooms and laundry services for hospitals and hotels. The market is large, the construction is complicated, and few competitors are in the market. Staying away from construction that only requires “four walls and a roof” has helped differentiate his company from the competition and drive repeat business.
Dannegger sets high expectations for himself and his team, but he leads with an inclusive style — realizing that less experienced employees need coaching and encouragement. He faced challenges in the first couple of years trying to find the right talent to build his team. Starting in 2005, he focused on hiring the brightest students from the best engineering schools. When interviewing, he began focusing more on a candidate’s potential rather than experience. These new hires came onboard with no bad working habits and an eagerness to learn every aspect of the construction business.
In client relationships, Dannegger has always strived to form a strong partnership. As a design/build firm, ARCO is present at the earliest stages of the project until the building is complete.
Subcontractors and vendor relationships are just as important. Each year, ARCO honors its top 10 vendors in an annual ceremony to celebrate the year and their hard work.
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