Bannockburn resident lives the American dream
Bannockburn resident Michael Clune, CEO of Clune Construction Company, shows off the work of his company, the Bannockburn Green Shopping Center. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 7, 2012 7:34AM
BANNOCKBURN — Michael Clune has a simple philosophy on life: treat everyone equally and with respect.
As chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago-based Clune Construction Company, the Bannockburn resident aims to foster an employee-friendly workplace where the staff is held in the same regard as clients.
Clune’s personal time is spent supporting community organizations that address homelessness, including PADS shelters in Lake County.
For his effort helping those who are struggling get back on their feet, Chicago’s StreetWise publication honored Clune last month with its Philanthropist of the Year Award.
“I’m living the American dream,” the Irish-born Clune said. “I have every intention of giving back and helping anyone achieve in any way they can.”
Clune emigrated to the Chicago area in 1978 with empty pockets and no high school degree. Though he started out in a job at the bottom of the ladder, he saw it as his opportunity to do more.
“I just realized I needed to work harder than anyone else and learn the culture and system,” he said.
Clune worked in the construction division of real-estate services giant Jones Lang LaSalle until 1997, when the subsidiary became independent.
Clune bought and renamed the company, and in 15 years helped boost annual revenue from $80 million to $450 million. The operation now has offices in Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C., and does work in 22 states.
Clune was exposed to the area in 1983 when he was a project manager for a company that completed a job at the Bannockburn Green Shopping Center. He then moved to Bannockburn a decade ago.
He also has three adult children, including a daughter who works as the senior vice president for Clune Construction.
Low staff turnover — particularly due to an employee stock ownership plan— has helped grow the company and weather the recession, Clune said.
Nearly 200 employees hold shares of Clune Construction, which are redeemable upon retirement.
“It really creates a really positive morale for the employees” he said. “They are allowed to be engaged in the growth and success of the company.”
“That really generates loyalty when the economy is good and not so good.”
Mixing goodwill with work has proven to be Clune’s successful business model.
The company gained worldwide exposure earlier this year when Clune teamed up with fellow Dublin-native Padraig Harrington, a three-time champion of golf’s major tournaments.
Clune and Harrington launched a branding opportunity for charity.
Their instant connection resulted in a long-term sponsorship plan for Harrington to wear Clune Construction branding on his chest and host golf days for the company’s key clients.
Clune is both humble about and grateful for his successes.
“The American entrepreneurial system is alive and well, and I’m extremely grateful to have that opportunity,” he said.