SANCTUARY OR SKI CHALET, GERMANIA CONSTRUCTION MAKES DREAMS HAPPEN
Craig Mogel, founder of Germania Construction, knows this: you never know when inspiration will strike, you just have to be willing to listen to it. For Mogel, inspiration came in waves. First, he packed up his car, left Pennsylvania after college, and headed West with no particular plan except to ski in the winter and race his bike in the summer. As luck would have it, he landed in Park City and decided to stay.
Armed with a business degree, Craig took a job with a local contractor who eventually gave him some important advice. As Craig remembers it, his mentor, “sat me down one day and told me that I had to find something to do besides ski for the rest of my life. He said, ‘You’re good at this. You should stick with it.’ I listened to him and discovered that I have great passion for creating. I earned my license in 1999 and started my career building fences and decks. Then I moved to interior remodels and additions. I eventually picked up my first house, and that put the wind in my sails.”
A skilled carpenter with many years of experience as a framing contractor, Mogel has a strong background in structures. But his skills are just a part of the equation. His dream was to be a general contractor because the business side of things interested him. “My vision and my intention were always to build houses. The best houses possible.” Considering the fact that the houses Germania builds are between 7,000 and 14,000 square feet, his intention was no small feat.
What has he learned after 15 years? Mogel says, “It’s been the same since that first project; I always get attached to my projects. And I love the creative process—the collaboration between the homeowners, the architect, and interior designer. When a homeowner puts the team together before pencil hits the paper, that’s the ideal situation.” Foresight is the key, says Mogel, and when all players are in place ahead of time, the thinking is better, the planning is better, and the execution is better.
Considering the impressive portfolio of Germania projects, Mogel understands how to manage large-scale, high-end projects. “We manage three to four projects a year. We commit fully to each project and limit the number we take on each year so that all projects get our full attention.” And he has a top-notch team on staff to ensure the highest-quality work. But the key to a successful project? “Having a system in place that ensures good communication, proper and timely action, and the best quality for the best price,” says Mogel.
This system includes implementing transparency in billing and budgeting in such a way that every line item is backed by concrete options. “We work within our budget, and the client knows what he is getting for that budget. That puts the client’s mind at ease, and it builds trust.” And for Mogel, trust is paramount and he works hard to earn it with each project. “We put in a lot of time on the front-end researching products, materials, and options for our clients so that our budgets are based on real numbers.” The pros at Germania are well-versed in high-end products and materials, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help their clients find good deals. “Our clients wanted a particular look for the floor. The flooring they selected was from an out-ofstate boutique flooring company. A local artisan was able to replicate the look at a 25 percent savings. With the size of the home and the amount of material that would be required, that was a significant savings born out of Mogel’s commitment to the project and the best interest of the client.
The clients coming to Germania to build their Park City homes are often from across the country or around the world. “We have a great system for working with clients who cannot be around the job site to check in on progress. We have web cams and a client portal on our website so clients can watch their home’s progress in real time. We also provide weekly job logs so our clients are as involved and as informed as if they were on the site on a regular basis.”
After 15 years, Mogel is still as hands-on as he was when he was working on his first house. He might spend more time working with clients and handling the business end of things, but he still enjoys his time on the job site. “Germania,” Mogel says, “is right-sized for this tier of construction. We are not a huge firm. But we are big enough to get volume discounts from our suppliers and negotiate with vendors and small enough to give each client our utmost attention.” It is this level of attention that Mogel takes special pride in. He says, “I am very committed to outcomes and put in a lot of hours to achieve them — I don’t know any other way of doing it. When you hire Germania, you get personal attention, you get quality, and you get peace of mind.”
What is it that drives Mogel and his team? “We’re building generational homes for our clients—homes that are their sanctuaries—a place to get away from work, but more importantly, a place to connect with their families. We feel that responsibility.” Many of the homes Germania builds are ski-in/ski-out residences, beautiful homes with specialty rooms for ski lockers, home theaters, cigar lounges, bars, spectacular chef’s kitchens, grand staircases, you name it. “Clients come to us with the most creative of ideas, and we
help them realize those ideas. That’s part of the fun, seeing these dreams take shape.”
Mogel loves what he does and he loves what he has built at Germania. He tells potential clients, “You’re not just hiring a builder. We create a relationship when you entrust us to execute your vision. I take that responsibility to heart. We’ll spend a lot of time together during the process, so it’s important to know who you are hiring.” And with Craig Mogel, you’re hiring a former ski bum turned contractor who loves what he does and takes pride in doing it exceptionally well. For Mogel, one of the most gratifying days in the whole process is having a cup of coffee with his clients in the kitchen they built together. And about the way inspiration has come to Craig Mogel in waves? In good ski-bum fashion, he took the name of his company from one of his favorite runs in Alta. His passion for skiing lives on in the passion he puts towards every project.
His ski bum days are long behind him—it’s been a long time since he was tuning someone else’s skis. He’s now the father to a newborn daughter and although it’s still a new reality, he seems to approach fatherhood in much the same way he approached creating a successful business—love, patience, honesty, and a tenacious work ethic. And most of all, he understands that building a house, like raising a child, is a creative endeavor and it can’t be done without heart.