Marty Cornejo says he doesn’t ask employees to do anything he can’t do.
“I’m a hands-on person,” he said. “I can pour concrete or drive a truck. I’m right beside my people working along with them if I need to.”
Cornejo, 36, is a vice president of Cornejo and Sons Inc., one of the state’s largest construction, paving and demolition companies, with 300 employees and annual sales of about $25 million.
It’s a family business founded in 1952 by Cornejo’s late father, Jess Cornejo. Marty Cornejo is the youngest of four brothers, all of whom are involved in the business. His oldest brother, Ron, heads the company.
“We get along well,” he said. “It’s just the way we were brought up. Business is business. We are not brothers at work.”
Cornejo grew up with the business, starting in the shop with a broom while he was still in elementary school and working his way up until he could operate heavy equipment and, eventually, manage the business.
“I loved it,” he said. “I never knew anything else.”
Cornejo’s father, Jess, came to Wichita from Wellington as a teenager with a fourth-grade education. When Marty Cornejo graduated from East High in 1981, he knew he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“My dad pushed me to go to college,” he said. “But I had been earning a paycheck with my name on it since I was in junior high. I couldn’t see going four years and not making any money. I had a lot of hands-on experience. I was ready to jump in and do it.”
Cornejo oversees the company’s paving division and handles personnel.
“I’m big on morale,” he said. “I want people to want to come to work every day. I think communication is the key.”
The other big thing in Cornejo’s life is his family. He and his wife, Jenae, have three sons: Jess, 12; Clint, 9; and Bryce, 7.
Cornejo is active in the community, too. He serves on the board of the Hispanic Alliance. And he is a member of the Young Leaders Association of United Way. He also has served on the board of the YMCA and the advisory council for the Sedgwick County Solid Waste Management Committee.
And he is a partner in RRM Properties, which developed All Star Sports Entertainment, a 20-acre sports and family entertainment center.
— JIM CROSS
Cornejo & Sons Inc., Vice President
DOB: March 16, 1963
Family: Wife – Jenae; sons – Jess (12), Clint (9), Bryce (7)
Education: East High School
Pets: Cody – A Golden Retriver
Last book read: “Successful Family Businesses” by Scott Friedman
Favorite movies: National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation, Happy Gilmore
Favorite musicians: I listen to all kinds of music. With my oldest son being 12 years old he is conforming me to the latest style and MTV.
Last vacation spot: Beaver Creek, Colo.
Best Business Advice: Be dedicated and honest to your company and the people around you.
Favorite Business Lunch Spot: Pig In Pig Out Bar-B-Que and Taco Shop
Hobbies: Sports activities with my boys, baseball, basketball and golf.
Quote: One person will always stick in my mind on a daily basis. That is my father Jess Cornejo who passed away in April of 1994. He not only taught me a very strong work ethic but he taught me the importance and dedication our religious faith and strong family values.