Two entrepreneurs and a construction industry veteran are launching a new Grand Rapids-based construction management firm.
Cousins William Robinson and Jamiel Robinson, the CEO of Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses, formed Isle Construction LLC with Brad Laackman, the longtime president and CEO of Grand Rapids-based Honor Construction.
Isle Construction has two projects slated to begin soon and another planned for late summer. The new construction company plans to focus on a variety of markets including municipal, retail, hospitality, medical, educational institutions, cannabis and multi-family housing.
The firm, located at 280 Ann St. NW, supports pre-construction, construction management and general trade services.
“Overall with Isle Construction, we’re looking to diversify the construction industry,” Jamiel Robinson told MiBiz. “We know it’s very white and male dominated, and when it comes to minority contractors, we know a lot of them aren’t able to compete. We’re hoping to build the capacity for more minority contractors in West Michigan.”
Robinson also has an ownership stake in several West Michigan businesses, including Ambiance GR Kitchen & Lounge in downtown Grand Rapids, Motu Lakeshore Wine Bar and Prohibition Cocktail Bar in Muskegon, as well as Motu Viget Spirits.
“Opening Ambiance GR really gave me the complete experience from sitting down with an architectural team and being in the space as it was getting built out nearly every day. Seeing that really motivated me to want to get into construction myself,” Robinson said.
Isle Construction’s first two projects that are set to begin soon include managing the construction of District 2012, the incubator space for Black-owned businesses and headquarters for Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses, as well as the buildout of Prohibition Cocktail Bar, located in the same building as Motu Lakeshore Wine Bar in Muskegon.
The name “Isle” refers to the name of a southeast Grand Rapids property on South Division Avenue that was owned by Jamiel and William Robinson’s grandfather. The Robinsons are cousins and grew up together in Grand Rapids.
“Jamiel and I have been exploring partnership opportunities since our twenties,” William Robinson said in a statement. “We both share a lifelong goal of honoring our grandfather, Ronald Robinson, and his legacy of community development and business ownership. I am excited to share my 16 years of experience working for Top Fortune 500 companies, specializing in project management, relationship management and sales engineering with Isle Construction. This is our opportunity to drive legacy and impact our city in a major way.”
Jamiel Robinson said the new firm aims to help property owners in areas of Grand Rapids that are being revitalized but have excluded longtime residents.
“We want to be a bridge to those opportunities for people,” Jamiel Robinson said.
Laackman said plans for Isle Construction have been in the works for years.
“After meeting (Jamiel) eight years ago, we have supported, collaborated and mentored each other in several business and personal plans,” said Laackman, who will continue as CEO of Honor Construction and as a partner at Victory Development Group. “I am excited to bring my 20 years of construction experience to the team and see this essential company grow.”