Chasse Building Team: Interview with Barry Chasse
How did you get your start in the building industry?
While in high school in New Jersey, I took a drafting class. Hooked on day one, I went so far as to intern for a real estate developer right after graduation. This led to me moving across the country to Arizona in 1987 – site unseen – to take advantage of ASU’s award-winning construction program (now called the Del E. Webb School of Construction at ASU). As a college sophomore, I jumped at the chance to intern early yet again, this time for a contracting company. I started at $6 an hour as a project coordinator, but hard work paid off. I ended up staying 17 years, eventually serving as senior vice president.
Tell us about your journey to launch Chasse Building Team (CHASSE):
In church one Sunday, a pastor said that everyone was created to make a difference. It really resonated with me at the time – this is back in 2006 or 2007 – because I had been yearning to develop and use “my own playbook” as well as to cultivate my entirely own company culture and take care of a team and customers in my own way. Inspired, I took that concept in 2007 and built what would become Chasse’s purpose: Building to Make a Difference.
What were the challenges?
As you can imagine, starting an Arizona business in the building and construction space during 2007 was NOT without its challenges. About three months into making the move, our state (and the nation) was hit with the worst recession in its history. Those who have worked in this industry know firsthand it was hit the hardest. I made the conscious decision to stay small and to stay focused on relationships I built over the past two decades, and it paid off. We earned a tenant improvement project for Vestar at Tempe Marketplace, and then a $4 million retail center project. Opportunities in the education realm soon followed. Today, we oversee $200 million in construction projects annually and employ 120 team members at our Metro Phoenix and Tucson offices.
Describe CHASSE’s mission and values:
We’ve really stayed true to the vision in 2007: Building to Make a Difference.
Over the years, we’ve finessed the concept to include specific pillars on how we can make a difference in the lives of our team, on each and every project, and then how we can make a difference in the community.
Truly, everything we do today is focused on cultivating and motivating a great team, being great builders and exceeding the expectations of our great clients.
Tell us what CHASSE builds – your areas of focus:
Our focus is primarily working with clients in the multifamily, office, retail, education, and nonprofit spaces.
What are some projects of note?
Just a sampling: Tucson Premium Outlets, Catholic Charities MANA House, Dobson High School’s Classroom Addition, Canyon View High School, Artspace Mesa Lofts, Bob and Renee Parsons Boys & Girls Club, Overture Kierland Senior Living, and Crescent Highland Apartment Complex.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
First and foremost, I am a husband and dad to two girls. My passion for helping children succeed spills over into my personal life as well, as I have served the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale for well over a decade, both on its board and as a past chairman of the board. My other passions include AJ’s iced tea (I have one almost every day!), ASU (Go Devils!), traveling, hiking and spending time in Flagstaff.
What’s next for CHASSE?
We're moving! During the first quarter of 2019, we are proud to be expanding into bigger offices in both Metro Phoenix and in Tucson. In the Phoenix area, we are moving from a 6,200-square-foot space in Mesa to a 16,000-square-foot open workspace (with better parking!) in Tempe. In Tucson, we are moving from a 1,900-square-foot space to a 3,000-square-foot-space. In Tucson, we are actually starting off the year on the heels of being honored with the 2018 Tucson Metro Chamber’s Copper Cactus Award for Business of the Year, so we are feeling doubly honored!