Michael Childress and his team have been taking down walls at the University for more than two decades. MJC Demolition, the firm Childress founded in 1987, has worked on more than 70 demolition projects — including UChicago Medicine’s Advanced Cellular Therapeutics Facility, Family Birth Center, Adult Emergency Department, and Mitchell Electrophysiology Lab — as part of building renovations and new builds all over campus.
MJC’s work at UChicago has not only kept Childress and his team of up to 20 laborers busy, it has also helped his business grow. “When you put the University of Chicago on your résumé, it adds to your credibility right away,” Childress says, “because people know that if you’re performing at UChicago you’re doing a decent job.”
And, he adds, the Construction Compliance team at UChicago Medicine has been a big help in spreading the world about MJC Demolition: “When they’re talking with a general contractor who hasn’t found a demo company, they’ll often mention our name, and that has started some relationships.” Thanks to connections made through the University, MJC now works for large general contracting firms on projects for the city of Chicago, local hospitals and other customers.
“We feel good about working on University of Chicago projects, and sharing that we did the work — all my guys know that we worked on the new adult emergency room.”
To make sure MJC and similar firms get a fair chance at the economic opportunities that UChicago construction and renovation projects provide, the University and UChicago Medicine have ambitious goals for increasing the participation of minorities, women, and local residents. On each project, UChicago aims to employ 35 percent minority-owned contractors, 6 percent women-owned contractors, and 40 percent construction workers who live in the city of Chicago.