Schrock Honored with Purdue University’s Civil Engineering Alumni Award
Ask friends and colleagues what’s special about DJ Construction’s CEO Bob Schrock, and you’ll hear statements such as: “He’s honest.” He’s a family guy.” “He is a humble leader.” “He’s a man of integrity.”
You’ll also hear funny comments from those close to Schrock. Kevin Deary, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County, generously teases that when Schrock isn’t happy, his face frowns into “the ‘Purdue perch.’”
Comments and descriptions like those mentioned above, along with Schrock’s professional accomplishments and philanthropic efforts, are reasons why he was honored with the Purdue University Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Award on April 16 at a dinner held on the Purdue campus.
Schrock is one of six graduates presented with the award this year and the only recipient currently residing in Indiana. You can watch a video of him receiving the award here.
According to information released by the Lyles School of Civil Engineering at Purdue, the award is the highest honor presented by the department. It celebrates excellence and outstanding achievement and has been awarded to only 121 other people in the history of Purdue. The awards are based on career achievements and contributions to the civil engineering profession.
He graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1976 and a Master’s of Science in Civil Engineering in 1977.
Schrock said Purdue prepared him for a career he has immensely enjoyed.
“In addition to the academics, they taught me skills like discipline and time management. As I look back on my time at Purdue, I know that because of what I received at this university, I have been able to make a difference in my community, and I know my company will continue to do so.”
After graduating from Purdue, Bob worked as a structural engineer at P:ACE Design in Elkhart, Indiana. In 1981, he joined his father’s construction business when Bob’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Bob began running the company almost immediately and soon introduced the DesignBuild project delivery method to DJ’s operating philosophy.
Today, 34 years later, DJ Construction Company has grown from $1 million in revenue and 10 employees to $38 million in revenue and over 55 employees within a one-hour circle of its Goshen offices. DJ is known for the most unique and challenging projects built in Elkhart County and for the company’s values and culture which has led to its position as the area’s builder of choice for most churches and not-for-profit agencies.
Schrock said one of his proudest accomplishments is that “our customers trust us, and we don’t take that lightly. I would not have received this award if it wasn’t for our team and for the great relationships we’ve built with our customers.”
“Last year we celebrated our 60th year in business by celebrating our clients, a different one each week of the year, which was really fun. And during that year while celebrating them, we also lost my dad who founded the company. Sixty-one years ago, he had the guts to start a business. And for the last 34 years, I’ve had the opportunity to build it on the foundation he laid. Our company’s branding tagline is ‘Decidedly Different.’ Because of our people, our principles and our partnerships, I honestly think that we’ve changed the way contractors are perceived in our community.”
Bob’s life philosophy is deeply rooted in actively caring for others. Eight of his employees have worked at DJ for 25 years or more, virtually unheard of in today’s transient construction industry. He prioritizes outreach efforts toward at-risk youth, having served on the boards of numerous local agencies including his church and The Boys & Girls Clubs. At the Crossing Educational Center, Bob has established a building trades program with the goal of providing future employment opportunities to disadvantaged young men.
A Purdue ambassador, Bob is a proud Boilermaker, known in his sphere as “Boiler Bob.” He is a member of the Purdue Alumni Association, the President’s Council, the John Purdue Club, and the Purdue Club of Elkhart County. He mentored Jaraan Cornell in his return to Purdue to complete his degree nine years after Cornell’s basketball career ended, and Bob continually encourages youth to consider a Purdue engineering degree.
Yet even beyond his college connections, professional accomplishments, his friendships, and his company, Schrock esteems his family even more.
“Family means everything to me…. My wife Marie has stood by me. We got married before I finished at Purdue, working while I finished my masters. And I’ve admired her as she has continued to put others before herself for the 40 years since. I have no plans to retire soon, but I do know it’s time she gets repaid for her sacrifice.”
Schrock said along with marrying Marie, the births of his kids, their weddings, and the birth of his grandson are among his most meaningful life rewards. They are the proud parents of Mandi (and Paulo) Juarez and Matt (and Abby) Schrock, and proud grandparents to Kai Juarez.
During Schrock’s acceptance speech, his parting words to Purdue engineering students were, “Look to make a difference,” and he reminded them to…