The Next Wave: Profiles on emerging building & design professionals
Carrying on the legacy of a family building company that has been in business for more than 45 years is a lofty responsibility. Third-generation owner and president of Cape Associates, Matt Cole, 37, handles this responsibility with an approach to business that has led his company in the right direction since the beginning.
“We’ve succeeded by consistently delivering high-quality construction with a high level of integrity,” Cole says. “I believe that reputation is everything, so my philosophy is pretty simple: keep your head down, do good work, do it with a high level of integrity, and customers will come back for more and tell their friends about the good work you’ve done.”
Cole’s leadership follows in the example of his grandfather, Lester F. Langhans, Jr., who founded the company in 1971, and his father, Michael Cole, who ran the business from the mid-1980s through 2012. “As a child,” Matt Cole recalls, “I would visit the office and different job sites with my father and grandfather, so I was exposed to the business from a very early age.” After graduating from Bucknell University in 2001 with a degree in civil engineering, Cole spent eight years working for a large commercial builder in New York City. In 2008 he returned to the Cape and re-immersed himself in the family business, eventually taking over ownership in 2012.
With offices in Eastham, Chatham and Yarmouth Port, Cape Associates is one of the largest builders on the Cape, with more than 100 full-time employees. It’s important to Cole, who served as president of the Cape Cod Young Professionals board of directors in 2014, to provide career opportunities for Cape workers, and he says he views the employees he fosters as both a competitive advantage and a measure of the firm’s success. “Many individuals who have found long-term careers through the varied roles with the company and grown professionally become the stories I measure our success by,” Cole says. “Their growth contributes to our longevity.”
“The number one thing I would advise Cape Cod young professionals in this industry is to not get caught up in the allure of the city. Focus on the long term. You might be starting out at a lower pay working here, but the opportunities for upward mobility are much greater.” -Matt Cole
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