Michigan’s Construction Hall of Fame
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – The Michigan Construction Hall of Fame welcomed four new inductees during a formal ceremony held at Ferris State University’s Big Rapids Campus University Center on Thursday, October 25, 2018.
Selection for the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame is based on nominees’ technical, managerial and leadership achievements within construction and related industries, as well as service to the profession and community.
The Michigan Construction Hall of Fame is located in Ferris’ Granger Center for Construction and HCVAR on the Big Rapids campus and serves as a permanent site to recognize leaders of the Michigan construction industry and their achievements.
This year’s inductees include: Joseph Aristeo, Patrick Barney, and John and Dan Huisinga. Their bios are included below:
Joe comes from a construction trades immigrant family where he learned “You’ve got to show up on time and produce, take great pride in what you do, create quality work, and respect those you work with”.
Joe graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan. The lure of the construction industry proved strong and he began working on the Renaissance Center in Detroit. Upon its completion, he and his father officially formed Aristeo Construction Company focusing on residential concrete projects.
Three months into the venture, Joe’s father passed away. Joe, at age 26, and the Aristeo team now shouldered the burden of the business. The recession taught Joe the valuable lessons about surviving on less and taking advantage of opportunities.
Aristeo has become one of Michigan’s largest general contractors, ranked in the nation’s top five in the automotive segment and the top ten in the manufacturing segment. Aristeo diversified beyond concrete and steel with a big leap into the wind turbine energy sector.
Built upon a foundation of respect, Aristeo was awarded both the National and Detroit’s “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” awards.
Joe’s appreciation for his education encouraged him to personally give back to the University of Michigan. Most recently, Joe has become involved in the Thompson Foundation. In addition, he leads the Board of Directors for the Public-School Academies of Detroit, serving 4,800 students.
Aristeo today is a large, successful family business. Joe is looking forward to his role as Executive Advisor, after transferring ownership of Aristeo to his daughters, Michelle and Anne.
Patrick “Pat” Barney’s exposure to the construction industry began at age 5 running errands at JJ Barney, a civil contractor doing municipal projects and roadwork in and around metro Detroit.
Pat was surrounded by people with hard work expectations – “go to work early and come home late at night”. He initially avoided joining the company recognizing how hard the work was and concerned he might not have what it takes to succeed. However, after a few years selling construction equipment he returned home to “try out the family business.”
All of Pat’s construction training took place on the job. It taught Pat to understand how people think – what they look for and how they behave. His grandfather taught him to be a man of his word.
The company culture at JJ Barney is one of family. As the company’s Owner, President, and Chief Estimator, Pat believes he can rely on his employees in the same way that he can his own family. In the early 2000 he transitioned the company into the building trades.
Light commercial construction evolved into a JJ Barney specialty – nationwide construction of electrical substations for power companies, wind farms, solar farms, and battery storage.
The company culture of family and giving back permeates the charities supported by both the company and Pat himself. Pat is personally involved with Abigail Ministries, Awakened Heart Ministries, and the creation of a scholarship program for students pursuing a career in the skilled trades.
JJ Barney continues to be successful. Pat believes he has the drive to continue another 10-12 years as the company transitions into its fourth generation of Barneys – Pat’s two sons, Joshua and Spencer
John and Dan realized that the blending of their financial and construction knowledge was a unique asset. Operationally, John would be responsible for labor and trade and Dan responsible for financials.
They built upon the strength and reputation of the company, hiring employees with similar work ethics and philosophies. The two brothers expanded the business into other mechanical-related industries. They created a company culture of fairness and serving the client. New productivity equipment led to more prefabrication, raising their performance to among the highest rates in the industry.
John and Dan receive some of their greatest business satisfaction by giving young people an opportunity. Both John and Dan are very involved with community service. They attribute their success to faith and trust in each other, God who carried them through hard times, the support of their wives, and their employees.
Multiple sons, son-in-law’s, and brother-in-law’s all work for the company, making it truly a family business. Both are looking forward to seeing the next generation successfully take over the company and spending time with their grandchildren.