Real Estate Veteran Francis Joins Clayco As Executive Director Of New Downtown Chicago Office
St. Louis, MO (April 14, 2010)
Clayco Inc., a national full-service real estate and design-build firm with a unique reputation of executing complex projects from concept to delivery, has announced the appointment of Cassandra Francis as Executive Director of its new downtown Chicago office.
Francis, a Chicago native, brings to Clayco deep local industry knowledge and extensive expertise in planning, development and construction. In her most recent post as Director of Olympic Village Development for Chicago 2016, she led the planning and development of this highly-visible component of Chicago’s Olympic plan.
“Clayco is a new breed of real estate company offering ownership a fully integrated facility delivery system including development, design and construction,” said Francis. Clayco looks forward to strengthening relationships with Chicago’s professional services firms to form the best teams to successfully address the increasingly complex demands in creating innovative, aesthetic and sustainable facilities demanded by Chicago’s business and institutional communities. Clayco is uniquely willing to partner with ownership at the early stages to help get difficult projects done and as a result has a healthy backlog of work even in this economy. I am excited that Clayco has decided to commit its substantial energy and creativity in expanding its presence here and I see multiple opportunities for growth in the Chicago market including in the higher education, health care and commercial sectors.”
Prior to the Olympic bid, Francis was Senior Vice President at U.S. Equities Realty and was instrumental in successful, high-profile projects including MetraMarket, the Stroger Hospital campus master plan, the University of Chicago Press building, and the City of Chicago’s Brownfields Redevelopment program. Francis was also previously a Senior Transportation Planner at Metra and Acquisitions Specialist at the Habitat Company.
“Her ability to grow the Chicago market,” explains Bob Clark, Chairman and CEO of Clayco, “will play an invaluable role in supporting a long-term sustainable model for our new office, maintaining existing relationships, and developing new partnerships. Cassandra’s experience and commitment to high-quality design and cost-effective construction are examples of what sets Clayco apart from our competition. We have the right people, skills, and expertise in place to grow our business in Chicago.”
“Clayco is responsible for some of the most exciting projects being developed today, and I am confident that this new venture will be tremendously successful,” said Robert Wislow, chairman of U.S. Equities Realty. “Additionally, Clayco could not have selected a better Chicago partner than Cassandra Francis. Her drive and knowledge of our industry will have an immediate effect on bringing well-deserved attention to Clayco’s increased activities in our area.”
Francis is a certified urban planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional by the U.S. Green Building Council, and holds broker’s licenses in the states of Illinois and Indiana. She currently serves as Vice President, U.S. Central Region of the honorary land economics society Lambda Alpha International, is a member of the American Planning Association and the Urban Land Institute, and was a co-founder of Women in Planning and Development. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of BankFinancial, F.S.B, a publicly traded community bank serving the Chicago metropolitan area. Francis also brings significant contributions to the community through her board and committee memberships with the Grant Park Orchestral Association, Friends of the Parks, Chicago River Rowing and Paddling Center and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.
Clayco currently operates an office in Oak Brook, Ill., under the direction of Senior Vice President and Partner Kevin McKenna. With his team’s exceptional work, the company’s experience in complex, high-tech facilities can be seen in its many projects for Chicagoland clients, including Kraft, Anixter, Solo Cup, Office Max, Blue Cross Blue Shield and 3M. Clayco has been recognized by numerous industry organizations, such as the Design-Build Institute of America, for its outstanding work.
“The establishment of Clayco’s new downtown office is an exciting development that builds upon our excellent reputation of high quality service and attention to detail,” said McKenna. “Having Cassandra join the Clayco team supports our strategic plan to employ only the best and brightest in our industry. It will also substantially increase our visibility and activities, and move Clayco to the next level of prominence in the Chicago marketplace.”
In addition to its St. Louis, Mo., headquarters and Oak Brook office, Clayco has offices in Detroit, Minneapolis and Washington D.C., and has built projects nationwide for, Best Buy, SuperValu, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Disney and many other Fortune 500, Fortune 100 and Fortune 50 companies.
Clayco’s organization also includes Clayco Realty Group which provides a broad range of real estate services and third-party development services. Clayco also operates a full-service architectural design collaborative, Forum Studio, as well as Concrete Strategies, a subsidiary that performs cast-in-place, tilt-up concrete wall and structural concrete systems.
Specializing in “the Art and Science of Building” Clayco has annual revenues of approximately $755 million, and has won numerous national awards for its projects, its safety achievements and its leadership in the field of sustainability.