The Greater Lansing Business Monthly | Written by Jane Whittington | Photo by Dave Trumpie
Willingness to take risks is one of the key traits necessary to make someone a successful entrepreneur. And starting a new business in 2010, in the middle of one of the country’s most long-lasting and difficult recessions, takes a special kind of courage. It was a risk that Peter Kramer, President of Kramer Management Group, Inc., was willing to take. Seeing him receive the Emerging Entrepreneur Award from The Greater Lansing Business Monthly is one indication that his risk has led to reward. Another indication is the success of his young company that, in 2012, doubled its volume of business and anticipates that 2013 will continue to bring significant growth.
“I feel like it was a perfect time to offer something new to the business community – a new service package that would, in the long run, help them save dollars and make their money go farther,” said Kramer. “KMG helps companies be more creative with their dollars. Our project management allows them to concentrate on their core business while we make sure they receive the highest rate of return on their investment.”
Kramer Management Group, Inc. (KMG) provides program management and owners’ representative services. Working on major construction projects, KMG offers its expertise directly to owners of these projects. KMG serves as an extension of the company who has entrusted the project to them. They provide strategic planning, financial planning, feasibility studies and overall project delivery to their clients. They help their clients secure the design and construction team members through the most beneficial competitive methods and lead the entire team through the delivery of the project.
The core purpose of the Kramer Management Group is to provide leadership, expertise and guidance to construction owners, thus ensuring the greatest return on investment.
“We represent our clients 24/7 and watch every dollar to make sure it is being effectively and efficiently used. The resulting savings pays for our services many times over,” said Kramer. “We are always looking out for what’s best for our clients, not for what’s best for us.”
KMG employs seven with the expectation that two new employees will be added in the second quarter.
“The top four employees in our company have over 20 years of experience each in this business, and even the employees with the least experience have 10 to 15 years in the business,” said Kramer. “We know what we’re doing.”
It is worth noting that “green” building is more than just a passing fancy to KMG. They are truly committed to following the best ecological and environmental practices in their business. Their projects aim for LEED certification and meet or surpass standards for green building. They also have valuable experience in historical restoration and are becoming noted for their excellence in reimagining, repurposing and restoring historic buildings to meet contemporary needs.
According to Kramer, the company is currently managing more than $300 million in construction projects, including the REO Town Co-generation Plant and Headquarters for the Lansing Board of Water and Light. This co-generation plant will burn natural gas to produce both steam and electricity, and is replacing four coal-fired steam units. As part of the project, the 100-year-old Grand Trunk Western Railroad Depot is being restored and will serve as office space and rooms for community use.
KMG also serves as owner’s representatives on the Wise Road water plant for the $25 million renovation of the South Lansing water treatment facility. In addition, KMG is managing the Eyde Company’s historic renovation of the Knapp’s Building in downtown Lansing, a project that is expected to be completed in 2013. Outside of the Lansing area, KMG is working on a $40 million development in Midland for Midland Downtown Partners and a $15 million constructions project in Dowagiac building the Four Winds Casino.
Kramer is a Lansing native who graduated from Sexton High School where he was captain of athletic teams and president of the senior class. After graduation, he received an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point.
“Every single student at West Point was a superstar, and I realized that in order to stand out, I had to work harder than everyone else and master the arts of leadership and teamwork,” said Kramer. “I believe that these three things – leadership, teamwork and the willingness to work hard – are the most important elements to becoming a successful entrepreneur. During my eight-year career as an Army officer, I continued to develop these skills.”
Kramer earned a degree in mechanical engineering at West Point and went on to serve his country, achieving the rank of Captain and earning numerous awards and decorations.
Returning to Lansing, he worked for several years for a large local construction company before deciding to start his own business.
He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Lansing Metro YMCA and is a former board member for Highfields, Inc. He serves on the finance committee at his church and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. Professional memberships include the Construction Owners Association of America and the US Green Building Council, as well as several other professional organizations.
In accepting the Award for Emerging Entrepreneur, Peter Kramer thanked his family, his employees and his clients. And he had a special thank you to the “seasoned” entrepreneurs in the audience who lead by example: “We’re the ‘new kids on the block,’ but we’re making a way for ourselves. Thank you for showing us how.”