Meet Fred Geis, founder of Geis Companies
, a northeast Ohio design/build company with over 45 years of experience developing projects from five to 1,000 acres. Having successfully developed over 9,000 acres and designed/built over 750 projects, Geis has expertise ranging from site selection through delivering the final product. Launching in 1967 as just a husband-and-wife team, the company now has over 140 members on its team.
What services do you offer?
Geis is a unique company in that we are vertically integrated; we don’t just provide a single service to clients, we offer all of the services to develop a building. From development and financial structuring, to architectural and engineering design, construction and management services, Geis offers its clients a one-stop option for clients’ entire real estate needs.
How has Geis managed to be one of the fastest companies to grow and expand its capabilities?
Starting from a workforce of only two, Geis has grown exponentially over the years. Only a few years ago our office had fewer than 40 employees. Today, we employ over 140 and have built a second office in downtown Cleveland.
We have found a unique group of people that collectively work much better together than individually. When people join our organization, they get swept up in the fast-paced momentum and become better than they thought they could be. We don’t hire people for their resumes; we hire people for their work ethic and let them find their own place in the company where they can be most effective and add to the synergy of our team.
How has the company changed since 1967?
My parents started this business as immigrants to America while my father worked as a mason. They started the company by building one building at a time and eventually growing a reputation as a reliable builder that clients knew they could trust. Once my brother and I got involved in the company, we provided an injection of energy and a skilled team of co-workers that were able to expand the company from a $2 million a year company to a $200 million a year company. Today, we are undertaking one of our largest projects to date with the large scale urban redevelopment project at The 9
What do you consider a perfect day at the office?
My perfect day in the office is to not be in the office. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite parts of working in Cleveland is that I can walk from meeting to meeting and enjoy the landscape and natural rhythm of the city as I go about my day.
What excites you most about The 9?
The 9 is especially exciting to me because we are creating the first urban resort in Cleveland where residents, hotel guests and employees can mix and enjoy everything from a grocery store and restaurants to exercise and spa facilities and entertainment amenities. We are proud to bring downtown Cleveland’s first grocery store, Heinen’s
, to the iconic Cleveland Trust Building where the public can enjoy the beautiful rotunda ceiling hidden inside.
But what I think most excites me about the project is that we have been able to revitalize a formerly vacant stretch of the city by activating it with over 800 employees at the County HQ building, over 400 hospitality and office workers, and a mix of luxury apartment dwellers, hotel guests, and hospitality industry employees residing in the project’s affordable housing apartments.
What is your ideal project?
An ideal project for me is one where you are not only building a building, but where you are satisfying a person’s dreams and being instrumental in creating change. In my experience, the perfect project creates a place, not just a building. An ideal project to me is not about the size of the building, but creating a location and a lifestyle. Whether it’s Twinsburg, when no one was there, or Midtown Cleveland, or a cluster of vacant buildings on a vital stretch of East 9th street, my ideal project is one where we are pioneering a new idea and bringing a new concept for the area.