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30 Innovators to Watch 2021

A veteran in the commercial construction segment with superior skills and experience: Friede & Associates


A commercial general contractor (GC) is a person or an organization responsible for managing the completion of a commercial construction project. These contractors work closely with their clients throughout the construction project and manage all the key aspects, from getting permits for hiring subcontractors to acquiring necessary materials. Most of the general contractors tend to use their own employees to handle some construction needs and hire subcontractors only when there are additional and specialized needs to be met. The GC’s scope of responsibility will vary for large and commercial construction projects, and one must learn to adapt well according to the project’s requirements. Globally, there are thousands of commercial general contractors, but Friede & Associates stands out from the rest. Friede & Associates is a commercial general contractor, generally serving the southern two-thirds of the state of Wisconsin. Friede’s field staff includes concrete finishers and carpenters, as the firm typically performs these functions on their projects. Having said that, the company does much more for its clients, including assisting them in finding potential sites, designing their new building or addition, obtaining all necessary municipal approvals, negotiating public incentives, assisting in obtaining financing, and occasionally, securing office furniture and other fixtures for their facility. Friede & Associates has over 1,500 trade partners in its material procurement system and actively looks to add more quality suppliers and vendors. Since the company negotiates nearly 90% of its work, the team regularly pre-selects suppliers and vendors who assist them with their pre-construction services.

Friede & Associates’ two owners have each received national recognition for their creativity and leadership. President Roger Friede is a mechanical engineer by trade and has led the company for over 30 years. The fourth generation Friede to lead the firm has been recognized for his commitment to employee safety and has been recognized as one of the “CEO’s Who “Get It””, by the National Safety Council. Meanwhile, Executive Vice President Scott Truehl is nationally known for his construction marketing experience and is a regular presenter at state and national construction conferences, and earlier this year was named one of the “Top 100 Leaders In Real Estate & Construction” at the World Real Estate & Construction Forum.

Best-in-class offerings

The company is known for its creativity and the ability to help its clients through the entire construction process. Because of the diversity of Friede & Associates’ projects, the company lives up to its trademarked slogan of “We Do Weird Well” through the use of all building types (pre-engineered metal, wood frame, conventional steel, etc.) While talking to the TSR about their talent acquisition strategy, Roger Friede stated that “We are constantly on the lookout for talented individuals who we believe demonstrate the right personality and knowledge to work in our business. Once we hire new team members, we actively seek out training opportunities to enhance their knowledge and personal growth.” Technology has allowed Friede & Associates to handle challenges and opportunities in its projects “real-time” by allowing field crews to share imagery of unforeseen conditions or opportunities for better construction options through the use of mobile devices like iPhones, pads and through the use of Microsoft Teams virtual meetings. While talking about their custom build, Scott stated that “we’re known for building the challenging projects, and through this have become the most awarded general contractor in the state of Wisconsin with nearly 50 of our projects being recognized as “Projects of Distinction” by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin. We further have been named best commercial contractor in the state by numerous entities and have also been recognized for our work on executive homes.”

Upcoming services and Future

Friede & Associates continues to seek out new technologies and building processes to allow it to reduce the construction time on its projects and to improve quality. Friede & Associates was one of the first major users of prefabricated wall systems in the market, in part because of its extensive hospitality business. These projects require the team to construct projects in the offseason of September to May and require the new building to be completed and functional at the start of the new tourism season. The team has also added extensively to their pre-construction services by adding a former commercial banker and a municipal lobbyist to their staff, furthering their ability to assist clients in the overall project development. Elaborating on the company’s future, Roger added that “our future looks very bright as we continue to grow to meet our client’s needs and future demands. To assist in this effort, we also opened a second office in Madison, WI, to meet our growing business opportunities in southern Wisconsin.”

For going above and beyond what typical general contractors offer their clients, and for their continuing focus on improvement and training, TSR is pleased to recognize Friede & Associates as one of the 30 Innovators to Watch.

“…we’re known for building the challenging projects, and through this have become the most awarded general contractor in the state of Wisconsin...”