Veteran-Owned Construction Management Company Runs Full Speed Ahead—With 'Honor' at the Helm
The decision by Brad Laackman to name his construction management company “Honor” was not one that was taken lightly. It was made with the understanding that with that name came a responsibility to live up to everything the word implies.
Honor Construction and its legacy weren’t built in a day, however. There’s a history that dates back to 1996, when Laackman first joined the military. As a member of the U.S. Navy, he served as a Boatswain's Mate—the oldest job in the Navy and one in which he took great pride. In his eight-year stint, he was stationed in Chicago, Japan, and the Middle East, where his primary duties were to drive search and rescue and search and seizure boats. After serving two tours in the Middle East in the Seventh Fleet, Laackman earned an honorable discharge in 2004 and returned home to Grand Rapids.
The answer to what’s next? unfolded as he took on positions at firms in Midland, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids where he could apply his interests in construction and architecture by day and learn about them in a more official capacity at night, taking courses at Ferris State University. Laackman graduated from FSU’s Construction Management program in 2006 and went on to achieve a Masters of Business from Northwood University. Though there are really no parallels between his role in the military and construction management, he credits his Naval experience with his progress along the way.
“In each position I held at these other companies, I capitalized on my leadership, management, safety, and quality assurance proficiencies,” says Laackman. “These skills and values were prevalent in the Navy, and I just naturally applied them to my work. I continue to use those tactics today.”
In 2009, Laackman started Honor, but it remained a small operation with one to two projects per year until 2012, when he began investing 100% of his time into the business. How it came to be named Honor is a story in itself.
“That’s really three-fold,” says Laackman. “For one, just being in the Navy instilled me with a great deal of patriotism and pride. My time living in Asia also contributed, as I reflected on their culture’s concept of honor. It’s much more in depth than the Western mentality; they live and die by honor, from business to family to history. And, finally, it was a conscious decision about how I wanted to run my business honorably, which wasn’t always an approach I saw in other companies in the same field.”
When it comes to being a veteran-owned and operated business, there are many facets to that distinction as well. As a veteran himself, Laackman knows that when he hires a veteran, he can count on that individual to finish a task, because it’s a military-ingrained trait. “The hardest part of a project is finishing it, and veterans excel at that,” says Laackman. “I lean into veterans for that reason.”
Most importantly, Laackman knows that with the name Honor, there’s an implied core value of integrity that must be adhered to. It’s a constant reminder of how he and his team need to interact with clients and, ultimately, run the business. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he says.