Construction firm proud to be ‘very local’ business

Developed around the values of quality and integrity, Corna Kokosing is a family business with a commitment to central Ohio that stretches back to 1956, according to executive vice president Jim Negron.
The company is a full-service construction management contractor with self-perform capabilities. According to Negron, that means Corna Kokosing directly employs many of the craftsmen — currently about 200 locally — who have a range of skills in dealing with everything from concrete to structural steel, carpentry and drywall.
“I can tell you from my personal standpoint (company president Mark Corna) has always made sure that everyone who works here has values that align with our company values,” Negron said. “We always put the customer first and we always do the right thing.”
In the current economic environment, opportunities to bid on construction jobs are shrinking, Negron said. He believes Corna Kokosing’s advantage is this set of values that draws clients back, again and again.
“The construction markets have shrunk and competition is increasing, and with that, everyone has had to try to raise the level of service they provide,” he said. “I’ve been here for 20 years now and the client has always been first priority, so it was easy for us. But our competition has had to try and catch up.
“Just a couple of years ago, 76 percent of our business was from repeat clients and that number has increased, even as the times have gotten tougher. It’s at 82 percent now.”
Corna Kokosing has been involved in a diverse set of projects over the years, Negron said, from retail, entertainment and residential to industrial, education and health care facilities.
“I would say that the market focus is in health care and education facilities right now. That’s where we see our client needs lie and that’s two areas where our expertise lies,” Negron said.
“Nationwide Children’s Hospital just finished a major new patient tower and now they have to go back to the old building and bring it up to the new standards. We’re working on that. That’s going to be the trend now, where (hospitals) have completed big new projects and need to go through and bring the old buildings up to the new standards.”
Technology is changing the construction industry, and according to Negron, Corna Kokosing has always been an early adopter of new technologies.
“Technology is really transforming the construction industry. When you consider 3D technology, the information from that is what we call ‘building information technology’ and we’ve been involved in that for over eight years as a part of our normal business,” he said. “We’re taking that to the next level now. We’re using this technology to input time and create scheduling models to use it to create efficiency and do off-site prefabrication of the pieces and parts of the buildings.”
Negron said Corna Kokosing values its commitments to its values of quality and integrity, as well as to giving back to the community through participation on various organizational boards and making financial and in-kind donations.
“We’re a part of the fabric of central Ohio,” he said. “This is our city, our community, and we’re very active in it. Our commitment goes beyond work — it goes to the community through giving money and time, too.
“One thing about construction is that you can’t export what we do. This is a very local business.”