Founded in 1968, First Companies is a locally-owned and operated 4-in-1 construction, real estate, development, and property management company with a well-earned reputation for quality, integrity, and excellence in everything we do. Our team is proud to partner with individuals and businesses across numerous industries to make West Michigan a more beautiful, engaging, and desirable place to live.
Our team includes people with the following certifications: Certified Commercial Property Inspector (CCPIA), Haag Certified Inspector – Commercial (HCI-C), Certified Registered Locksmith through the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA), Commercial Pesticide Applicator through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), CCIM Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), SIOR Society of Industrial and Office Realtors® (SIOR), Certified Project Manager (CPM), and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
The below values drive our decision-making and guide our daily work. In all things we strive to…
Jeff leads the executive team at First Companies in the development of company strategy and future vision, while ensuring the team stays grounded in the culture, mission, and core values that have been foundational to the company’s success for decades. He holds his CCIM and SIOR, which signifies he is an expert and specialist who meets the highest professional standards of the industry.
Jeff works closely with clients to understand their needs, vision, and objectives and to ensure all project goals are met or exceeded. He has built an experienced team that understands all facets of real estate and construction, with problem-solving skills and in-depth knowledge to provide the best possible experience.
“First has been blessed with long-term success from referrals and repeat business. This is because we help clients make the best decisions, as opposed to what’s best for us. The long-term relationships we have demonstrate that our approach is superior. We are among the best at bringing solutions when challenges arise. My commitment is that we will be honest and up front at all times, and we will do what we say we will do.”
Craig has served in numerous capacities at First Companies, from assistant project manager to president. He offers deep expertise and knowledge that encompasses all facets of construction, development, real estate, and property management. Craig is one of an elite few commercial realtors to hold the prominent distinction of CCIM. Craig provides leadership and support to the construction team. His expertise is a huge asset to clients as they evaluate land use and construction options. This includes evaluating land suitable for new construction, renovations, and additions. Craig helps clients weigh the pros and cons of buy, build, or lease opportunities, while keeping an eye on the financial/investment considerations associated with each opportunity.
“My approach to every project is first to listen and ensure a complete understanding of a client’s goals and desires, followed by diligent studying and pre-planning – looking at the cost implications of each option. This often includes supporting clients as they secure financing and helping them determine what will best meet their short and long term goals, including leasing portions of their building and/or developing investment exit strategies.”
Matt oversees the day-to-day operations at First Companies, while also leading the company’s executive team in the development of annual operating plans and budgets. He is involved with many real estate, development, and construction projects, facilitating meetings, working through financial models, and finalizing contracts. He oversees due diligence for new opportunities and evaluates funding options and terms.
Prior to joining First Companies, Matt worked as a financial analyst, a vice president of development, and a director of financial aid. This experience gave Matt extensive knowledge in finance and budget management/analysis, as well as client relations and sales.
“I see our work as much more than space and buildings. It’s an opportunity for our entire team to use our gifts and talents to serve others. I’m proud of the values at First Companies that put people first.”
Ty was born and raised in the West Michigan area and attended Michigan State University. After college, he played professional football for several years before returning to West Michigan. He has been providing commercial real estate advisory services for 20+ years. He began his career on the Industrial Real Estate Team at Grubb and Ellis, before becoming the Managing Director at CB Richard Ellis. Then, after a meeting with First Companies owner Jeff Baker, he landed at First Companies in 2007 as Vice President of Real Estate Development.
Ty is very involved in the community and enjoys golfing, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
“I am energized by my role as we bring a very unique culture and delivery system to real estate. We work on behalf of our clients, keeping their best interests in mind 100% of the time. When I’m assigned to a project, I bring open, honest communication and my full attention to the transaction. If I see something that can be done better or will improve the final outcome, I make the client aware of it, to ensure the best result possible. Serving people in business is a blessing!”
Ken has 30+ years of experience in the construction industry. His passion for creative problem solving and high-quality construction allows him to provide exceptional leadership and support to the construction team. Ken enjoys every part of the construction process, from meeting with clients, consultants, and designers, to providing servant leadership to his team. Ken oversees all construction activity by reviewing contracts, resolving challenges that may arise, representing the company from both a sales and community role, and developing key trade contractor and client relationships. Ken’s experience in all aspects of construction, from design and pre-construction through on-site management and warranty periods, is vital to the success of First Companies project.
“First Companies has a reputation for creative problem solving and high quality construction, both of which fit right into my passion. Construction is a challenging business. I enjoy being part of great teams including clients, consultants and designs to bring the best possible solutions to the challenges. It is very rewarding.”
Jeff has a diverse financial background working across multiple industries. He has held positions with Amway, FedEx, and the Federal Home Loan Bank. He brings a unique perspective to the construction and real estate industry, developing financial solutions that create value for all stakeholders, including owners, tenants and investors.
Jeff is responsible for all financial modeling and projections for First Companies development projects as well as Investor Relations and Communications. He works closely with each investor to understand their unique goals and help determine whether a particular project is a good fit in terms of risk, returns, and timeline. Jeff also ensures that each project has the optimal capital structure and leverages First Companies’ strong track record with local lenders to secure competitive financing terms.
“With Construction, Property Management, and Real Estate under one roof, First Companies is well positioned to offer solutions that our competitors can’t match. In addition, our ability to partner with clients from an ownership perspective is unique, and allows many of our clients to address office/facility needs, while simultaneously building equity by investing in commercial real estate.”
Craig currently serves as Vice President of Construction Management, where he oversees pre-construction services and project management. Highly skilled at client relations, Craig streamlines and bridges the critical connection between early business development and actual construction. Under Craig’s leadership, First Companies’ project managers apply best practice building principles to control costs as they finalize plans to achieve their clients’ vision. He makes certain all client commitments are met and projects are completed as planned – always to the company’s high quality standards. Craig’s proven ability to effectively facilitate group collaboration ensures even the largest, most complex projects are well-planned and setup for success. His strong communication skills keep clients well-informed, with a full understanding of the process and what they should anticipate throughout construction. Craig has managed many complex projects while at First Companies, with a previous work history of managing impressive, large-scale builds such as convention centers and municipal projects. He enjoys diversity and is ready to handle whatever new challenges come his way.
“I’m energized by my role as we bring a very unique culture and delivery system to construction. We work on behalf of the customer, keeping their best interests in mind 100% of the time. I bring open communication and my full attention to every job. If I see something that can be done better or improve the final outcome, I make the client aware of it, even if it means additional work for our team. Providing a great end-product makes a difference.”
Bob ensures the accuracy and integrity of First Companies’ financial statements, as well as the financial statements of the properties First Companies has under management. He oversees all accounting, payroll, and tax functions, as well as consults with the company’s clients as they consider various options to achieve their financial and tax objectives.
Bob manages and oversees the monthly construction draw process with customers, banks, and title companies as well as timely collection of receivables and on time payments to trade contractors, vendors and suppliers. He is responsible for accurate reporting to investors of quarterly financial statements and reports including cash flow projections, management of bank financing and debt paydown, leasing reports, and capital improvement needs.
“When clients choose First Companies, they are selecting a company that is dedicated to raising the bar for quality and service throughout the entire process. Whether it’s construction, leasing, or property management, our commitment to excellence is unwavering. Even after 30 years, I still enjoy coming to work every day – working with a team of great people who stand for the core values that I do, and doing what I love.”
Thomas serves as Director of Property Management, ensuring all properties under his management stand tall and look good for many years to come. He and his team serve 400 tenants and manage more than 4 million SF in West Michigan. Thomas loves to serve and share knowledge concerning building maintenance and management, while also supporting the Property Management team.
“If you work with clients who need expert, reliable Property Management Services, please consider us. For over 54 years, First Companies has been known for its quality, integrity, and stellar track record for completing projects on time and on budget.”
Crissy provides high-level administrative support to First Companies’ senior leadership, as well as members of the construction team. Her attention to detail and strong problem-solving skills allow her to perform a variety of timely tasks that contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of the business. Crissy leads First Companies’ DEI Committee, embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion-building practices into the organization’s culture. She also volunteers with nonprofits in her community, including Hand2Hand, Living Stones Academy, and Family Promise.
“I am proud to be part of an organization that delivers high-quality products and services, while also caring for its employees and its clients. First Companies values people above all else. This is evident in the level of support given to each employee, as well as the integrity shown in day-to-day business transactions.”