WisBusiness: the Podcast with Ben Kossow, Riley Construction

This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Ben Kossow, president of Riley Construction. 

This Kenosha-based general contractor firm has offices in Waukesha and Waukegan, Ill., and provides construction services for projects across health care, pharmaceutical, industrial, manufacturing, education and other markets in the corridor between Chicago and Madison. 

“There’s been a lot of growth in that Milwaukee, Waukesha area, and it’s starting to spill over recently into that Madison area,” he said. “Which has been really exciting for me, right, opportunity is great and that bigger, broader area gives you better and different clients to go after and work with.” 

While its work on health care facilities helped the business extend from Racine and Kenosha into the Milwaukee area, industrial growth has been driving its more recent expansion into the Madison region, Kossow said. 

“We are right in the infancy of that,” he said. “We’ve done probably five or six projects out there over the last couple of years, and we’re going to be starting an office up probably in the next couple months … We’ll actually have an official office in Madison.” 

Kossow discusses how AI is being used in the construction industry for virtual design applications, resolving potential conflicts before they can disrupt the building process. 

“That’s the coolest thing from a tech standpoint with AI, but then there’s some neat little things like in marketing,” he said, noting the technology can help generate a finished image faster. “Something that used to take our interior designer two days to edit can take an hour. Saving time on that front, and gives us the ability to be more creative.” 

He also shares his perspective on the environmental factors Riley Construction and other developers are considering as they design and construct new facilities. Because producing concrete is such a carbon-intensive process, new building materials are being explored to improve sustainability.  

Listen to the podcast below, sponsored by UW-Madison: