By Liane Edixon
From laborer to superintendent of custom homes, Craig Swiger’s 17-year career with Boran Craig Barber Engel (BCBE) Construction Co., Inc. started on a baseball field. When Swiger was in high school, the construction company, then called Boran Craig Schreck Powell sponsored Craig’s baseball team.
As coincidence would have it, the high school graduate who dreamed of building luxury homes, started chipping and grinding concrete and digging footers for the company directly after graduating and he has been climbing ladders ever since.
“I always wanted to build custom homes since I was a little kid and there were lots of jobs available when I was graduating,” Swiger says.
Swiger, 46, worked as a laborer for five years working his way from a framing carpenter to a trim carpenter, before he took an eight-year hiatus to serve for the United States Army. When he got back he continued working for BCBE as a trim carpenter on condominiums and became a foreman within six months. For the next five years he worked his way up even further running all the trim crews, but he craved something more.
Switching from condominiums to custom homes, he felt closer to achieving his dream. He worked in the firm’s custom homes division for seven years before he became a superintendent and with each custom home, the job gets sweeter and sweeter for Swiger.
“It’s usually difficult to move up from a laborer to a superintendent but BCBE has treated me fair,” Swiger says of his employer. His inspiration is Melvin Engel who started as a block mason in 1972 and worked his own way up to president and chief executive officer.
“I was encouraged to learn new leadership skills,” said Swiger.
Once Swiger started building houses he found out he was pretty good at it, and enjoys the challenges each new home brings.
“Starting with an empty lot, working through all the construction and then seeing the family to move in is never boring,” Swiger says.
When construction slowed because of the economy, Swiger, like everyone else in the building industry was a bit concerned. “Luckily, I was one of the top performing superintendents,” he says and already has another home lined up to start once he finishes the Port Royal Gulf access home he is working on now.
Swiger said he worked his way up through on-the-job training and never had a paper college degree to help him achieve his position. What helped him through the tough economy was finding smart ways to save money on each project. “We try to save money everywhere we can,” he says, “and customers appreciate that no matter how wealthy they may be. It’s all about efficiency.”
One of Swiger’s favorite homes he built was a model home for Mediterra that sold within three months. Swiger added that the best home is always the one he is working on currently.
“It’s been good working for BCBE because they’ve had steady work for a lot of years, and they’ve been supportive of helping me move up,” Swiger says. “I’m always looking for bigger and better houses to do. I started doing houses in Old Naples, then in Mediterra, and now in Port Royal. It’s real gratifying to be able to reach the goals that I set when I was in high school. I finally made it and it’s a lot of fun.”
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