Ron Boji Named Lansing Entrepreneur of the YearBy Jane Whitttington on March 20th, 2015 /
The Greater Lansing Business Monthly (GLBM) has long championed entrepreneurship, and, as part of that effort, they host an annual awards event recognizing significant achievement in a variety of areas. The culmination of the event is the presentation of the Entrepreneur of the Year award. According to GLBM, “This award is intended to set the bar for our aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs. It is our hope that they all attain the level of success achieved by our awardee.”
This year’s recipient is Ron Boji, President of the Boji Group, a Lansing-based real estate development company owned by Ron and his father Louie who is now retired from the business.
According to Boji, “My father and I had been in the real estate business for 25 years, mostly dealing with retail shopping centers. But the actual real estate development part of our company started in 1998 when we bought the Boji Tower in downtown Lansing. The tallest building in Lansing, it had previously been owned by Michigan National Bank. This purchase was instrumental in changing our business model. We did extensive renovation both inside and outside and brought the occupancy level up to 100 percent. That building now houses close to 400 occupants, ranging from State Senate staff to automobile lobbyists and law firms.”
The Boji Group now concentrates on real estate development, property management and construction management. Over two million square feet of commercial space come under their purview.
Boji says, “All of the management of our projects is done in-house, and we work with a variety of contractors in building, renovation and restoration.”
Their first renovation project was Lansing’s Hollister Building, which was built in 1879 and was completely restored by the Boji Group.
Although headquartered in Lansing, the Boji Group works throughout the state and even into other states. According to Boji, “One of our biggest projects was in Inkster, Michigan. We were hired to build a new Department of Human Services building. It was so successful that we have now completed five structures in Inkster, all built through public-private partnerships. In total, we have about $35 million in projects in Inkster.”
He continues, “We pride ourselves on the public-private partnerships we have developed over the years. About 30 percent of our portfolio is with state and local government.”
Other projects in the Detroit area include work for the cities of Hamtramck, Highland Park and, a bit farther north, the city of Flint.
One of their largest projects was the Capitol View facility, a nine story edifice housing the State Senate. Built originally as a spec office space, the Senate now occupies the bottom seven floors with a legal firm on the top two. Included in the project was a parking structure with a capacity of over 1,000. This was a $51 million project.
Boji says he is proudest of projects like the ones in Inkster, which contribute to the revitalization of core cities.
According to Boji, there are a number of projects he’s anticipating in the greater Lansing area. He says, “We are always looking ahead to what opportunities might come next, and we’re prepared to move forward.”
Asked about the secrets of his success, Boji is quick to divert attention from himself. He says, “I think the reason we are so successful is that I have surrounded myself with a phenomenal group of people. Our employees are outstanding.”
Other awards given at the event include Business of the Year: Jeff Kresnak, Superior Asphalt; Entrepreneurial Spirit: Mike Maddox, ASK; Emerging Entrepreneur: Ian Richardson, Doberman Technologies; and Social Responsibility: Dan McNabb, Triterra.