Contracting firm leader advocates for the value of field experience
36, Vice President
Matt Hoster has been with W.E. O'Neil for his entire career, starting with a summer internship at the company while he studied civil engineering at the University of Colorado. He began as a project engineer, worked as a project manager for 10 years while finishing his MBA at the same time, was promoted to project executive and then became vice president at the age of 34. Along the way, he worked on some of the firm's top projects: 1800 Glenarm, 1000 Grant–The Burnsley, Denver West Promenade and DirecTV Tenant Improvement, among others.
"Getting young professionals trained to appreciate what it actually takes to get the job done in the field is more than an academic exercise, it takes a desire to gain experience," Hoster says.
Company founder manages diverse projects in mountain communities
Colorado native Mak Keeling has worked in the construction industry on the state's Western Slope for 13 years, completing projects in Summit, Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties. He has worked for the last 10 years in the Roaring Fork Valley, where he managed more than $100 million in construction. In 2011, he decided to start his own company, Summit Construction. He was 31 at the time. Recent key projects include the Aspen Art Museum; Marble Distilling Co., Carbondale; and a 12,750-sq-ft custom Aspen residence.
"The challenge is to gain legitimacy in our new roles as we advance our careers," Keeling says. "The only way to break through this barrier is by producing a consistent, quality product over a long period of time."
After three years, hiring 18 employees and doing 212 projects, Summit Construction has increased revenue by 250% each year, Keeling says. He is a board member for Roaring Fork Valley Habitat for Humanity, helping to raise more than $9.6 million and building 12 new Habitat homes since 2009.