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published on March 29, 2012 - 7:15 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Michelle Bracewell-Musson

Co-owner

Musson General Contracting

What we do:
After working in the commercial construction industry for over twenty years, my husband Rod and I started Musson General Contracting in 2005. MussonGeneral Contracting has built and been involved in commercial projects locally, throughout the Valley, and out of state. Projects range from commercial and industrial ground up structures to major and minor commercial tenant improvements for clients that represent both public and private sectors.


Education:
University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada — Bachelor of Arts in psychology, Bachelor of education.   

Age: 44

Family:  
Husband Rod. Children: Sarah, San Rafael; Nate, San Francisco; Aimee and Emily, Fresno; Chad and Colin, still live with us in Sanger

How much of your work is producing LEED-certified buildings, Michelle?  
A growing portion of our work often involves sustainable design and construction, including LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects.  The industry is demanding that there be some cost savings and this offsets the initial higher costs involved with building green and the market is responding with lower costs and a quicker return on investment.

How did you become interested in being a builder of LEED-certified projects, Michelle?  
Often people think that an individual can become a LEED-certified builder. Builders or people cannot be LEED-certified. LEED certification is available for projects. Currently, the LEED certification involves new construction, operations and maintenance of existing buildings, commercial interiors, core and shell, schools, retail buildings, health care facilities, homes and neighborhood development.
A local developer asked if we were interested in LEED. After researching it, we loved the concept behind it and jumped at the opportunity.  To our surprise we discovered the products were easily attainable because California is really doing a great job of working toward sustainability and green material and energy efficient design was easy to obtain.

What sets you apart from other construction companies, Michelle?  
We have a well-trained and respectful staff that is able to respond quickly to our clients’ needs. We expect our staff to be well educated and extremely professional and that “good enough” is not “good enough,” meaning our expectations are high and our clients use us over and over.

What kind of growth have you seen in demand for LEED construction, Michelle?   
LEED is here to stay. The initial view that green costs more is now changing. It often costs more in the beginning with changing peoples’ mindsets and helping them understand that the benefits and return on investment is way more of a return than the initial output for building design and construction. The building materials, for the most part, cost about the same and the energy-saving design saves them money.  It is about saving green, including money.  

What is your key business strategy, Michelle?
Be open-minded about what is new and get involved in the community. Create partnerships, even with competitors because there is enough work to go around for everyone to share. We can learn from each other — why reinvent the wheel, when we can share the bike ride together. We are happy to share what we have learned and are open about the fact that there is much for us to learn.  

What is the best way to keep your competitive edge, Michelle?  
Take classes, go to community events, and have high expectations of yourself and employees. We work right alongside our crew. That way they learn what is expected and we continue to stay humble. Our staff feel valued for what they have to offer. They make us who we are.

What do you like to do in your spare time, Michelle?  
Fish, seeing Good Company Players performances at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater (our son is in the Junior Company), watch our other son manage the school sports’ teams, recently rediscovered rollerblading at Woodward Park.  

What was your first job, Michelle?  
Lawn-cutting and newspaper deliveries in Ontario, Canada


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