Real Estate Awards: Zernco Inc.

By Abigail Beckman, Wichita Business Journal

Zernco, Inc. is making proactive moves to increase business by recruiting qualified craftsmen.

President and CEO Ashley Thill says the company is leading the way in workforce development through offering training from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

That training is available to Zernco employees as well as those who work for other area contractors.

“The construction workforce has historically come from families whose lives were spent in the industry,” Thill says. “Grandfathers and fathers passed on their knowledge and skill set to sons and daughters who carried this expertise into the workforce.”

Thill believes that in order to change the future, you have to reach the next generation.

“We are actively involved in grade schools, high schools, technical colleges, and four-year colleges exposing them to the lucrative and exciting professions awaiting students who choose construction as their career path,” she explains.

Zernco focuses on commercial properties with about 60 percent of business coming from new construction and 40 percent from remodels and maintenance, Thill says.

Past and future commercial projects include restaurants, convenience stores, hotels, and retail properties.

“As a general contractor, we have seen the demand for new construction raise significantly over the past three years,” Thill says.

That demand, she says, comes from both long-time and new clients in ventures that have helped changed the landscape of areas in the Midwest to the East Coast.

According to Scott Marko, vice president of development for Zernco, the company added several new clients in 2016 who own and operate more than 1,500 restaurants.

“This has helped us continue to solidify our reputation as one of the top general contractors in the restaurant and convenience store markets,” Marko says.

Marko says Zernco has worked on building infrastructure the past two years in order to take on these clients and the increased workload.

“This has us primed for some significant but very manageable growth in 2017,” he says.

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