The double As stand for Appreciation and Anticipation and is the mindset that marks their 50th year in business in Colorado Springs.
In 1972, Art Klein started a construction company that bore his name. Fifty years later, that company is going strong, branching into more significant projects with better, 21st-century technology.
Run by the second generation of Kleins, with the third generation in-house growing and learning, Art C. Klein Construction is working on one of the firm's largest project to date, the Trojan Stadium in Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8.
“I view this year with appreciation and anticipation,” said Kevin Klein, who is now leading the company. “First and foremost, we appreciate our staff, some of whom have been with us for 40 and 30 years, and we have a handful who have been with us for decades. We appreciate our clients who have placed their confidence and trust in our teams. Our subcontractors and vendors have been vital, and we value their contribution to our success. And we are appreciative of this city. It’s proven to be a great place to do business.”
And the company is looking ahead with eager anticipation, he said.
“We are looking at our future,” he said. “And it’s exciting to me. My oldest son graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Construction Management and is working as a project manager. The youngest at St. Mary’s High School works as a laborer and shows interest in the industry. It gives us great satisfaction to know the third generation is coming into the business.”
And the younger generation? The news that the company will continue beyond generation two is good for the morale of the company’s workers. They combine the family legacy with a new understanding of the latest technology.
“We need that,” Kevin said. “You have to stay relevant. They understand and know how to use technology, which will help us do more and bigger projects in the future.”
“Our staff says it gives them a sense of continuity and stability,” Kevin said. “For us, there is great pride and accomplishment to know we are moving forward with the next generation.”
But don’t count out Art and Joan, he says. Both still come into the office every day.
“My dad has a saying – and it warms my heart to hear it – that he might not be the first person to come into the office every day, but ‘I’m the first person to leave every day,” Kevin said laughing. “But they are still involved.”
Some milestones stand out as they look back over the past 50 years. The company worked on the Garden of the Gods Club and the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center, and they’ve done recent work at the Colorado Springs Airport. But one project stands above the rest.
“I’m proudest of the Fountain Middle School,” Kevin said. “That was a milestone for us. It was our first $50 million-dollar project, the biggest one to date. When we got that contract, my dad gave me a big hug. And, of course, it’s about more than just landing the contract. After that, we had to focus on completing the project. We did it, and it was a great shot in the arm for all of us, a real celebration.”
That project led to the Trojan Arena, a sports stadium that will seat 5,000 people and is one of the largest high school arenas in the country.
“When the Ed Robson Arena was under construction (at Colorado College), we thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great to do something like that?’” Kevin said. “And now, we’re doing a similar project. It’s a much different kind of construction, but it’s a large-scale project, and we’re very proud to be working on it.”
Depending on the season, the company has 85 and 100 employees and looks forward to being part of the Colorado Springs landscape for another 50 years.
“Our future is bright,” he said. “We are a diverse company that can build churches, homes, retail buildings, and schools, so I think we will continue to grow with the Colorado Springs market.”
That growth is a result of the values Art and Joan Klein instilled in the company during the past 50 years, he said.
“Art always said, ‘We don’t spend a lot on promotion, but we spend a ton of time and energy doing things the right way.’ Over the years, we’ve taken care of our customers, who, in return, have been loyal fans. In 2008 during the downturn, we lost a significant amount of business in one month. Our repeat customers saw us through those thin years, which is a testament to the company's values.”
As the Kleins continue their double A year, they are looking toward the future with promise, he said.
“I’m just so proud of what we’ve accomplished,” he said. “I believe we’ll continue to be successful through the next generation with the support of our dedicated employees, valued customers, and trusted industry partners.”