15 February 2024

Get to Know Clune Regional Leadership – Phoenix

When Clune leadership began the process of establishing a permanent presence in Phoenix, they turned to the dynamic duo of Jeremy Stanek and Adam Wojack to take the lead. For over 15 years, Jeremy and Adam had built some of Clune’s largest and most complex projects in Chicago, and now they’ve brought their talents to Arizona.

Clune is thrilled to launch our seventh and newest office and we’re excited to give you a glimpse into the Executive Vice Presidents’ experience, lessons learned, and their favorite things about this new home base.

What made you choose a career in construction and how did you end up starting with Clune?

Jeremy: Growing up, my dad always had me help with various construction projects, from building sheds and decks, to working on the basement. I really took a liking to building things. Before college, I spent a summer working for a friend’s dad who owned a carpentry company. Then I went off to college and studied engineering. And about a year in, I realized that wasn’t the right path for me.  Some of my friends were in construction management, and it caught my interest. It offered me a path that I already enjoyed, and with fewer science-oriented classes! So, I made the switch, transitioning from engineering to construction and construction management.

Adam: I have a similar story. I began my journey in construction by sweeping houses in my neighborhood as a kid and helping with labor tasks. Throughout high school and college, I took on small carpentry jobs, and after earning a business degree, I worked in that field for a year before realizing my passion for construction. I joined a custom home builder, working on high-end homes and condos in Chicago. I eventually landed at Clune, where I’ve been for 18 years, starting as an Assistant Superintendent. I worked my way up alongside Jeremy, who started as an Intern. Over the years, we progressed from field and office roles to now managing the Phoenix office together.

How were you selected to relocate to Phoenix and lead the charge on establishing Clune’s permanent presence in the region?

Adam: Well, I think I was probably the catalyst for that. Knowing that we’ve been growing nationally, I went to Dave Hall (Clune’s CEO), and told him that if there was an opportunity to be involved in an office startup somewhere, to consider me in the running to head it up. A few weeks later, he called me into his office and said, “Remember that conversation we had? We’re thinking of planting our flag in Phoenix”. And it made sense. We already had a ton of existing work out there, and I had helped with some of that work sporadically over the years for data centers and other national clients. Despite the initial positivity, the reality of starting an office from scratch, really hit.  I insisted on bringing Jeremy along, recognizing he had played a crucial role in my success here at Clune.

Jeremy: Dave approached me unexpectedly one day and told me there was an opportunity out in Phoenix, and that Adam was on board. He said that since the two of us had worked so well together, it just made sense for us to do it together. Despite initial hesitation from family because of our ties to Chicago, we decided we should at least check out the opportunity. After visiting Phoenix, we felt positively about the choice, and by the end of that month, the decision was made. We flew the kids out the next month to show them their new home.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far while growing the Phoenix office?

Adam: Culture is crucial, and our experiences in Chicago, learning from industry legends and skilled trade partners, have shaped our values. Emphasizing a positive work culture is so important to us. We hire people and work with trade partners who align with the Clune Way. We will give you all the tools to be successful, but the key is finding individuals who align with our core values. We searched for those who are excited about opportunities, willing to tackle challenges, and committed to the energy of starting a new office. When we find the right cultural fit, everything else falls into place, from trade partners and clients to employees.

What makes the Phoenix market unique, and how has Clune achieved success thus far?

Jeremy: Geographically, it’s very spread out down here. It’s not centralized like it is in Chicago, which has a downtown business district where Clune does a big chunk of our work. Phoenix’s work spans the vast metro area, often in the suburban and desert pockets. Going from job to job, sometimes we’re traveling over 100 miles in a day. Navigating this expansive area, along with establishing new trade partner relationships, requires sort of a trial-and-error mindset. The key is to communicate our goals clearly and deliver a quality project within an agreed timeframe for mutual productivity and long-term relationships.

Adam: Coming from almost two decades of experience in Chicago, Jeremy and I have built partnerships with the trades, growing with them over the years. In Phoenix, we faced the challenge of starting fresh and working to establish trust with trade partners who hadn’t worked with us yet. Working with national trade partners has helped us overcome this challenge. The past 18 months have been a whirlwind of accomplishments—51 megawatts of work, over 300,000 square feet of tenant jobs, 95,000 square feet of sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs), and 340,000 square feet of base building projects. The puzzle pieces are falling into place as our staff and trade partners are embracing our vision, and we’re hitting full stride.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Phoenix?

Jeremy: My kids are in sports, so I help coach my son’s baseball team and get to see my daughter play softball all the time. It’s pretty much every day of the week with tournaments and practice, but it’s so fun. Being able to be at those things and watch them grow and develop as individuals has been a blast. The teamwork within both of those sports and seeing how it all folds into their lives is so great for all of us to watch.

Adam: My kids are a bit older, at 14 and 18, so we just love to go around and explore the state. There is such a dynamic geography here. It can be wintertime, and you will be sitting outside with shorts on, but you can drive two hours away and go skiing or snowboarding. You can go up to Flagstaff or Prescott and see all these interesting cultures and beautiful landscapes. Down South is wine country, and it’s typically 20 degrees cooler. We love to eat, so we’re constantly exploring, checking out new places and getting acclimated with the Valley. I think it’s really about embracing and absorbing as much as Phoenix and Arizona has to offer.

What do you miss the most about Chicago? The least?

Adam: For me, it’s the social network. We lived our whole life in Chicago; our friends and family are all in Chicago. It takes years to develop those relationships, and a large majority never leave. But, what’s nice about Phoenix is that it’s a destination. So, when it’s 10 degrees below zero and snowing in Chicago, my people are quick to hop on a flight and come here.

Jeremy: I mean, honestly, I like the cold. It didn’t bother me! But I definitely don’t miss the higher cost of living in Chicago. You move out here, and you see a whole different side of things.

Adam: I do not miss the inconsistent weather. I mean, with my son playing baseball, I don’t ever look at the weather because it’s the same everyday here. But in Chicago, it can be a beautiful day one day, and sleeting the next. Here, you know what you get every day. You can make plans months in advance and not have to worry. Weather-wise, nothing really interrupts your plans here.

Jeremy: Yeah, I agree. I do miss fall, though. The changing leaves, the campfires… I miss all of that.

What do you guys see for the future of Clune and Phoenix?

Adam: Good, slow, organic growth is what we’re looking for. In the past 18 months, we focused on developing teams and relationships before taking on too many opportunities. The best business development you can do is turn over a positive, under-budget project that everyone is happy about. Catherine Wetta also recently joined us as the Director of Business Development to spearhead our outreach efforts. She has been a veteran out here for nearly two decades and will help us establish our presence in various industry organizations, showcasing what Clune can do.

Jeremy: We want to grow the right way. Our focus is on attracting individuals who align with our core values, work ethic, and passion for the job. Part of that is developing our teams and making sure they have the right skill set to perform well. Like we’ve said, we’re going to take on projects where we feel like we’re going to deliver a quality product and will lead to further opportunities. Eventually, we want to explore other market sectors and opportunities. Builders are builders. We believe we can bring our proven service and value to untapped areas, potentially opening up new sectors locally or nationwide.




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