When Jess Fronckowiak (pictured, left, with vice president David Fouche) got into remodeling, he found his first success in an unusual niche: detached garages. Fast-forward to today, and he’s still using that original recipe—only now it’s for hospitals, one of the most demanding niches for any remodeler. “It's very hard to get into the club,” Fronckowiak says. “Imagine doing construction inside a clean operating room. That’s what we have to do.”

But being able to meet those challenges has proved wildly profitable. In 2015 alone, J2 Solutions went from seven to 21 employees. Fronckowiak says that number will be soon be 30.

And it all started because Fronckowiak was willing to take on projects other contractors didn’t want to bother with. “We became the panacea for our client. We started solving their headaches,” he says. “Eventually, we developed a reputation as the guys to get it done. That led to bigger and bigger projects.”


-- Although Fronckowiak came from a construction background, he knows there’s a difference between being good with hammers and spreadsheets. So he enrolled in the “University of Barnes and Noble,” reading whatever he could on running a business and marketing. Today he also participates in CEO roundtables to keep his business acumen sharp.

-- Rather than let workers assume what’s most important on a job, J2 Solutions gives its team clear direction on how to win. That means 10 responsibilities are weighted by importance. For example, situational awareness and patient safety gets a 40% weight, because that’s what Fronckowiak says matters most to his hospital clients. The weighted scale is then used in reviews. “It’s getting everyone on the same page,” he says. “This alone has arguably done the most to get alignment across the team.”

-- To attract and keep his highly specialized employees, Fronckowiak offers an unusual amount of freedom including unlimited vacation and minimal rules. “If your son’s baseball game is on Friday, you shouldn’t have to burn a vacation day to be there,” he says. “We give our team an extraordinary amount of flexibility. And we don’t beat them over the head with our rulebook. The way I see it, if you need a big policy manual, then you’ve got the wrong people.”