‘I feel like I’ve done my part in making the town better’
Drive past almost any construction project in Three Rivers, and there’s a good chance there’s a sign in front saying the project is being completed by one of the most recognizable general contracting companies in the Three Rivers area.
Constructing over $50 million worth of projects in its more than 20-year existence, Brussee/Brady has been a staple in the Three Rivers area and surrounding communities. Started in 1997, the firm was the brainchild of Tom Brady — no, not the New England Patriots quarterback — who bounced around different places in his life.
“After graduating high school, I went to college, had some promise, but I didn’t take care of business in college. I dropped out, joined the Navy, and after I got out of that, I started in welding and pipefitting, where I got a feeling for steel,” Brady said. “I got laid off from that and took on a carpentry apprenticeship. I sunk a nail into a piece of wood, and it felt good.”
After jobs at two other local construction companies, including Cornerstone Construction in Kalamazoo, Brady started Brussee/Brady with an ex-partner at work.
“I love construction, I saw an opportunity, I took a chance and committed to it,” Brady said.
Brussee/Brady has had a hand in many notable projects in its time, and not just in Three Rivers.
“We built the HealthTrac building in 1997, and did a re-modeling project for Hohner Funeral Home shortly after. We also remodeled downtown back when we had more carpenters and laborers,” Brady said. “We just did a $2 million tennis court in Berrien Springs the year before last, we did a big women’s health clinic in Benton Harbor, we did the Bair Lake Bible Camp lodge the year before that, and we’ve done a few million dollar project at the St. Joseph County Jail.”
One of the projects that Brady called a “big community investment” was the remodeling of an old grainery building on Railroad Drive that eventually became their headquarters.
“If you saw the grainery before we remodeled it, it was pretty horrible,” Brady said.
For staffing, Brussee/Brady hires many different positions, including field superintendents, electricians, plumbers, HVAC specialists, excavators, and even concrete specialists.
“We put it all together on the project we do,” Brady said. “For instance, we’re working on the Three Rivers Sports Complex, and we have dozens of people employed under us making that happen. We have to bond the job, ensure the job, and be liable for the job.”
Outside of contracting, Brussee/Brady has also been active in the Three Rivers community. They have sponsored numerous youth sports teams, ranging from Little League and rocket football to junior pro basketball and AYSO leagues. They have also supported local churches and the Three Rivers Community Players. Brady said that it’s feels good to help out the community in so many ways.
“We’ve been good citizens of the city,” Brady said. “I feel like I’ve done my part in making the town better.”
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or TRCNrobtoml@gmail.com.