Craft. Integrity. Community.
Elijah Cornell learned about building from one of the best craftsmen in the construction industry – his father. Founded in 1975 in Spirit Lake, Bob Cornell Construction was built on the vital principles of craft, integrity, and community, and the goal of always creating a high-quality product.
Growing up, Elijah loved spending time with his dad, Robert M. Cornell, at the worksite. “I was pretty enamored by him as a kid, and I worked for him throughout high school,” he said. “At that time, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to be a part of the business.”
After attending a year of technical college, Elijah discovered he would rather not be sitting behind a desk. “I came back not expecting to make a career out of carpentry, but then something clicked and building really piqued my interest,” he shared.
At age 24, Elijah began running a crew, and in 2007, he purchased the construction company from his mother.
“I love a challenge, the more difficult the better,” he said. “My father taught me to stand behind our product, to have strong work ethic and to be dedicated to our work. These are the same qualities my employees have and that’s why they are a part of the Bob Cornell Construction team.”
Bob Cornell Construction is known for their superior custom work and an eye towards the small details. Whether it is general contracting, a remodel or new construction, Elijah and his crews approach each project with these principles in mind, always focusing on a quality finished product. There are nine full-time employees, and several sub-contractors are used when needed.
“We take pride in everything we do, big or small. We stand behind what we do, too. If we’ve made a mistake, we’ll make it right,” said Kyle Snyder, Project Manager at Bob Cornell Construction.
As Project Manager at Bob Cornell Construction, Kyle maintains day-to-day communication with the customer at the job site and through their online communication program. The online portal keeps customers informed and budgets and projects on schedule. Kyle helps Elijah with estimates and provides design work for the company.
“Scheduling can be tough, especially this past year,” he said. “The program we use helps us stay on schedule despite complications and keeps our customer in the loop. I always try and have a physical conversation with the customer as well, because communication is huge. People are usually pretty understanding of schedule changes as long as you communicate them effectively.”
Elijah appreciates a challenge, often preferring projects that are difficult and complex. He enjoys building all types of homes. Complex roofs are his favorite and pose a welcome challenge.
Bob Cornell Construction can fabricate many things. Some custom fabrication projects have included curved bunk bed surrounds, timber arches and interior doors. “I always love the challenge of ‘can you make this?’ especially when it’s something creative and unique,” Elijah said. Bob Cornell Construction has fabricated items for their own jobs and for other contractors in the area.
“I can be very annoyingly detail-oriented and meticulous about quality work, especially our interior millwork. You can’t hide anything at this stage, and I feel any slight imperfections will be noticed by everyone,” he added.
Crews are often working on two to three big projects at a time, with one just starting, one in the middle and one almost complete. In-between those projects are often a half dozen smaller jobs. These jobs may include putting a header in an attic, installing a window, or renovating a kitchen or bath.
Helping the Customer
One of the main goals of Bob Cornell Construction is to help their customers make the best decision for themselves and the building project. When the team is contacted, a customer meeting will be arranged, and Elijah and Kyle will get an understanding of the project, the customer, and the budget.
“We enjoy the process and seeing a house come to life at all of the different stages, but also understand that people are often putting their life savings into the project and we want to honor this,” Kyle said.
After the meeting, a design will be created, and estimates are made according to the blueprints. As they get to know the customer, they will consider the budget and provide suggestions on materials. The company uses the best type of products for the value; materials that will last for years.
“We are going to spend time getting to know our customer from the beginning, so we understand their budget and are able to help them with making building decisions,” Kyle added. “We want to use quality materials with good value and the best options for the product.”
If the customer likes both the design and estimate, the project moves forward and will be scheduled to start.
“Growing up here my whole life, this is my community. My dad taught me that we take care of each other,” Elijah shared. “If we built something, it’s ours and we’re going to take care of you, positively leaving our mark on every house.”
Elijah is continuing a legacy started by his father and has already begun teaching his own son the importance of craft, integrity, and community.
“I would love it if Cael followed in our footsteps and became the third generation in the company, but most importantly, I want him to be happy with his career path and have a strong work ethic,” Elijah added..
To contact Bob Cornell Construction about new construction or a renovation project, call (712) 336-3503 or visit bobcornell.com.