Michael Kolakowski

Mike Kolakowski

With KBE Building Corporation since 1984, became company president in 1996, acquired the firm in 2007.

How I ended up in construction: I had planned to make it big in major league baseball or pursue a career on Wall Street, but on the day I toured Fairleigh Dickenson, I met up with a construction management professor who opened my eyes to the possibilities of a construction career – and I never looked back.

Best advice I’ve ever received … and given: Be prepared – and be better prepared than anyone else in the room.

My most memorable project: Working with actor and philanthropist Paul Newman to build his Hole in The Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, CT.  It was my first project as project manager, and in just 9 months, my team and I transformed 56 acres of dirt into a world-class summer camp that provides a free camping experiences to children with severe or life-threatening illnesses.  KBE continues to work with the Camp to this day.

What matters most to me about my work: Our employees. They are our life blood and they basically bleed KBE blue.