It’s a career he’s been building on since he was 14 years old and framing houses in Iowa – a career and industry he can’t imagine not being a part of.
“I just really, really enjoyed it,” Tim Kretzschmar, Colorado division manager for Swinerton Builders, said of his early interest in the construction industry, which blossomed into a career that has spanned more than 20 years.
Kretzschmar graduated from Minnesota State University Mankato, where he also played basketball on a scholarship, with a Bachelor of Science in construction management.
For Kretzschmar, following graduation, it mattered little where he started his career.
“It didn’t matter if it was residential or commercial, it was just about being around construction and building things,” he added.
Kretzschmar got his start with Bossardt Construction in Minneapolis before joining Parsons-Fleming-Taylor in Las Vegas. Culture shock aside, he spent five years in Las Vegas, where he also met his wife. And when it was time to start a family, they opted to move to more family friendly Reno, where he spent 15 years at Q&D Construction and where he was senior vice president, before joining Swinerton in 2014 as operations manager.
“It was really just the perfect fit for us,” Kretzschmar said of the decision to make the move to Swinerton following an ownership transition at Q&D. However, Kretzschmar didn’t make the move blindly – he first became acquainted with Swinerton and the upper management team when Q&D partnered with the firm on a joint venture to build the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Tahoe.
“I just really enjoyed working with Swinerton and we had always talked in the past if I was going to do something, they had wanted to talk to me. It was a great opportunity to work with Swinerton and come to Colorado,” he added, noting Denver is kind of like Reno on steroids, which made it more of a familiar place for him and his family to relocate.
Since joining Swinerton he has overseen the construction of the Country Club Towers II, a twin-tower multifamily development near the Denver Country Club. Swinerton also recently completed an 1,800-stall design-build parking structure at Denver International Airport, SkyHouse Denver and is underway with two K-12 education projects (one for Denver Public Schools, the other for Boulder Valley), as well as an office and lab building for Hach in Loveland, Unico’s mixed-use building at 16th and Platte streets in Denver and Alto, an affordable housing project, at Westminster’s new transit-oriented development.
Earlier this year, he was promoted to Colorado division manager. In this role, Kretzschmar provides leadership, technical expertise and is responsible for managing all resources within the firm’s Colorado division to ensure employee satisfaction, all client expectations are met and that each project is successfully completed. He oversees a staff of more than 100 construction professionals from the firm’s Arvada office.
Or, as he explains it, “My job is to make sure our team is performing the way they are supposed to and making sure our clients our satisfied. I am surrounded by just a really, really wonderful team and it’s my job to help them be as good as they can be.”
It is people too that have keyed his success and longevity within the industry.
“I think what I’ve learned along the way is it’s really all about your people, the quality of the people on the teams that you have,” said Kretzschmar. “The key to success is having the right team of people to work with. If you have the right team, you will be successful.”
Additionally, “I learned a long time ago from a very, very good boss of mine that it’s really about integrity. It is probably the most important trait you can have. If people can’t trust you to work with you, then they don’t want to work with you. It’s kind of the same way the other way around; when you are working with people, you want to be able trust them. If your word is no good, you’re no good. It is a big one for me.”
In addition to integrity, Kretzschmar’s guiding philosophy to his work is passion.
“You need to have a passion for what you do,” he added. “The way I look at it, if you don’t care more about the product you are providing, then the person who is your client will probably not be satisfied with the level of service they’re receiving. It’s a big deal and I think if you don’t have that, you won’t be successful.”
Kretzschmar also is passionate about balancing life outside the office – spending time with his wife, Michon, their 14-year-old son, Joey, 11-year-old daughter, Tilly, and a “dog that acts more like a cat,” as well as working out at the gym and hunting.
It is this balance that keeps Kretzschmar going and continuing to adore an industry he first fell in love with as a teenager.
“One of the things I love about construction is being able to go around and say, ‘We were a part of building that.’ It’s rewarding to be able to see your thumbprints on a project.”