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Matt Burow

Catalyst Construction

Location: Milwaukee, WI
Founded: 2004
Industry: Construction

Matt Burow demonstrates leadership through the simple acts of listening and setting the right example.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak,” said Burow, the CEO of Catalyst Construction. “I have learned over time to be slow to speak and quick to listen. The group’s IQ is larger than any one person or leader.

“My goal is to lead by example by focusing my interactions on providing more for the person you’re working for or with. This then inspires others and creates a ripple effect so that everyone is working towards any goal with the same purpose. By adding value to others, you’ll be a leader in anything you do.”

Burow graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and started work at a construction firm, but he quickly realized there was a more efficient way to operate than the traditional construction management model. In 2004, he launched Catalyst Construction in Milwaukee. It’s a pure construction management company with no construction workforce, ensuring competitive bids for all work to avoid conflicting interests.

“As a construction management firm, structures may be the most obvious fruit of our labor, but we take just as much pride in the relationships we’ve built with our clients, vendors and subcontractors,” the company said. “This philosophy ensures you receive the most competitive bids, fosters a more creative and collaborative atmosphere and allows for a better building experience all the way around.”

Today, 90% of Catalyst’s work comes from repeat and referral clients, and the business has offices in Neenah, Milwaukee and South Dakota, with more than 100 field and office workers. It has developed a reputation for being Wisconsin’s largest church and school builder. In the coming years, Catalyst aims to grow by 5% to 10% per year and expand its efforts outside the Midwest.

Last year, Burow chose to make Catalyst 100% employee-owned through an ESOP. He also created the Catalyst Leadership Academy to act as a mini-course that mentors, develops and supports future leaders within Catalyst. These 20+ participatns from various departments and locations get dedicated one-on-one time with Burow and other Catalyst executives to offer feedback, ask questions, fine-tune their individual skills, educate themselves and attend professional workshops.

“Matt’s investment in the future of the employees is a true testament to his dedication to others,” Burow’s team said. “Not only does he think about his employees’ financial future, but he always invests in their development.”

Presented by:

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Honoree Fun fact

One of the first employees Matt hired at Catalyst, Jeff Wheeler (who still works there today), was his former RA while at MSOE. 

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