BioForward is reaching out to members to highlight their organizations through a new member profile feature to tell more of their stories. Pepper Construction Group agreed to be interviewed as a part of our efforts to heighten the awareness of our region.

About Your Organization:

Now in our fourth generation of family leadership, Pepper Construction offers clients a unique blend of local relationships and service, paired with the resources and scalability of a leading national construction firm.  Our mission is to continuously improve people’s quality of life through the built world, and we are advancing the industry with thought leadership and innovative solutions in virtual, lean, and high-performance construction. Project work has taken us across the county, but Pepper remains firmly anchored in the Midwest with offices in Wisconsin, Illinois – where we were founded in 1927 – Indiana and Ohio. Locally, we are based in Milwaukee’s Third Ward with an experienced, dynamic team that offers nimbleness, transparency, and a strong appreciation of client needs. We have a unique understanding of the Wisconsin market’s best resource management and pricing strategies in today’s highly competitive construction market.

Pepper’s project portfolio includes healthcare, life sciences, higher education, civic and cultural, corporate office, K-12, retail, hospitality, industrial, manufacturing, and residential, among others.

As an additional benefit, Pepper is leading the discussion around high performance construction with a focus on technological tools to provide efficiencies, deliver long-term return on investment and help minimize the environmental impact of construction.

What do you find valuable about being a member of BioForward Wisconsin?

As a nationally ranked contractor based in the Midwest, becoming a member of BioForward Wisconsin is a natural fit for Pepper Construction as we continue to expand our portfolio of life sciences projects. Wisconsin plays an important role in the life sciences community, particularly with research efforts stemming from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. With a local office in Milwaukee and projects completed across the state, Pepper is well positioned to serve existing and new clients as they expand current facilities and build new ones, expand revenue and resources within the state, and create new employment opportunities. Our expertise in wet and dry labs, office spaces and other related facilities required for active growth within the industry makes Pepper an ideal partner to support all aspects of this growth.

We are excited to interact and collaborate with BioForward Wisconsin members as we contribute our resources, both locally and nationally, to continued expansion in the life science arena with early-stage development of innovation advancements through the rollout of resulting products and services.   

What are the key areas of or achievements by your organization that are impacting the state of Wisconsin and the overall biohealth industry?

Companywide, Pepper currently has 85 life sciences clients and has completed $1.3 billion in related projects, plus an additional $860 million in higher education research labs, in the past 10 years. We also are experts in the healthcare market with $8 billion in revenue during the same period. In addition to our Wisconsin office, this work is supported throughout the Pepper network with locations in Chicago and Barrington, Illinois, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio. Related clients range from Pfizer, Novartis and Eli Lilly and Company to leading universities, including Northwestern, Purdue, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, as well as healthcare systems and science and technology advanced manufacturers.

Part of Pepper’s mission includes improving people’s quality of life through the built world, which includes creating healthy spaces through high-performance solutions that create efficiencies, improve indoor air quality and reduce carbon footprints. For example, by implementing Drawdown solutions at our projects and Pepper facilities in 2022, we saved 57,761,887 kBtu of electricity and natural gas – enough to heat 390,851 homes for a year – and 69,097,973 gallons of water saved – enough to fill 105 Olympic-sized pools.  

We also have made a mark on the state of Wisconsin with projects that help make it a better place to live. These include retail opportunities, such as a new Apple store in Madison and an IKEA store in Oak Creek, as well as unique multi-family housing communities in Green Bay and Brookfield. With a heavy concentration of BioForward Wisconsin members located in Madison and across the state, Pepper’s experience there and in Milwaukee, as well as in other key markets across the state, our established footprint can certainly be beneficial to member’s expansion efforts, which can be further supported through our natural reach.     

What about the future of research, medical, technological innovation excites you the most?

The life sciences market and all the submarkets that it touches are dynamic and continue to grow. Ultimately, this will lead to improvements in people’s health, wellbeing, and quality of life at many levels locally and around the world. Wisconsin will continue to play a vital role in the industry’s growth because so much of what will impact the global population is influenced by what is happening in our own backyard.

From advancements such as genomic sequencing to the connection between universities and private sector partnerships, the possibilities for collaborations that accelerate progress and enhance learning are extensive. As a member of BioForward Wisconsin, the opportunity to support what’s happening at the forefront of the industry is extremely exciting. As a contractor, Pepper is continually exploring new construction technology and innovative ways to combine and extend existing technological tools. It’s part of what compels us to move forward. Supporting similar initiatives in the life sciences and technology industries – and helping to attract equity investments and experts to Wisconsin – keeps us enthused about what’s happening today as well as what’s around the next corner.    

Why Wisconsin? What does Wisconsin (and/or Madison/Milwaukee) offer for your company and/or your/its families?

Pepper is no stranger to Wisconsin. While our Milwaukee office is a comparatively new addition in the last five years, we have been building projects throughout the state for more than 35 years. With our established local presence, we can attract great talent to our growing team. Fortunately, attracting talent to Pepper and Wisconsin is not difficult to do. We have an excellent reputation with clients, trade partners, design teams and peers throughout the Midwest, and Wisconsin is an outstanding place to live, work and play. There are great school systems for families, top institutions of higher education, plenty of open spaces and a diverse urban life. We are confident in the opportunities that the Milwaukee and Wisconsin markets offer and have recently renovated our Third Ward office to accommodate continued growth.

What would you recommend about or say to others about Wisconsin’s biohealth industry and research institutions?

While the life sciences industry is known to be dominated by companies on the east and west coasts, with specific concentration in the Boston and San Francisco areas, don’t count out the Midwest, especially while growth is continuing. There is leading-edge research happening within the University of Wisconsin system as well as other local universities, an established presence for related companies, a large pool of highly skilled potential employees, and strong manufacturing capabilities. In terms of quality of life, the cost of living in Wisconsin and the Midwest region in general is less than what the coastal cities can offer. Finally, Wisconsin’s state leadership is committed to investing in life sciences and biosciences, which will help to attract and support businesses looking to expand or start-ups looking to put down roots.

What is one thing others may not know about your organization?

With 95 years of experience that began with Stanley Pepper building residential garages in 1927, Pepper Construction remains at the forefront of the construction industry with project expertise across almost 20 markets as well as thought leadership and innovative solutions. Our in-house Integrated Construction Services are collaboratively delivered through a local, hands-on approach and include the following services:

  • Preconstruction
  • Virtual Design and Construction
  • High Performance and Sustainability
  • Lean Construction
  • MEP Coordination
  • Quality Management
  • Safety Management

Pepper also has companies that offer specialty services, including Pepper Energy, which is dedicated to renewable energy projects, and Pepper Environmental Technologies, which safeguards clients from the growing consequences and liabilities associated with environmental issues. Many of our clients across all our offices and services return to Pepper time and again to build upon our existing relationship. For example, Pepper has partnered with Apple at more than 30 locations throughout the United States. We attribute this to our excellent client service that is based on an entrepreneurial spirit that allows us to scale our effort and work with companies on small office or lab renovations through ground-up construction of high-rise towers, hospitals, and corporate headquarters.

But if we truly need to focus on one thing, it would be that Pepper sees a world where our families and colleagues live and work in a built environment thriving in harmony with the natural world. Where economic opportunity is inclusive, and every person has shelter and equal access. As part of our Tomorrow Transformed commitment, we are raising the stakes on our civic and social responsibility to include caring for our planet. Our mission begins with our people and our clients, advancing the climate conversation from “green building initiatives” to a more audacious goal of improving our overall quality of life. Click here to read our Environmental Statement