A partnership years in the making
John Wozniak and James Chittaro
While an impromptu lunch meeting marked the exact moment when John Lawrence Wozniak and James Lawrence Chittaro formally decided to turn their professional relationship and personal friendship into a business partnership, the bond that forms the backbone of J. Lawrence Homes was actually years in the making.
For Wozniak, a 25-year veteran of the housing industry, the journey began with a high school-sponsored homebuilding project. Upon graduating from college, he started his professional career as a field laborer and quickly rose through the ranks, eventually holding the title of division president with two large Chicago-area builders. Along the way, Wozniak personally oversaw the construction of thousands of homes in the city and suburbs. Just as important, his career path exposed him to virtually every job on the operations side of the business – from swinging a hammer to managing subcontractors; from directing purchasing to developing customer service programs. As a result, Wozniak has a multi-faceted perspective few builders can match – and a true appreciation for quality, value, design and service formed by years in the trenches.
Chittaro, meanwhile, parlayed his talent for building relationships into a successful career in commercial banking. Hired out of college by a prominent local business bank, he quickly gravitated to the real estate department, where many of his early clients were among the most respected names in Chicago homebuilding. He developed an expertise in structured finance for commercial and residential real estate that eventually caught the eye of one of North America’s largest banks. They recruited Chittaro to start a homebuilder finance division, and he quickly grew it into a profitable operation. A few years later, he repeated the exercise at another major North American bank with similarly positive results. All told, Chittaro conducted more than $1.5 billion in loan transactions during his tenure with the two institutions.
Though Chittaro arranged financing for dozens of builders, many of his most successful deals involved Wozniak. The two met almost a decade ago and quickly realized they shared the same core values, the same exacting standards and the same idea for what a truly great homebuilder should be. Ultimately, they decided the best way to fulfill that vision was through a company all their own. While Wozniak’s forte is understanding blueprints and Chittaro’s is understanding balance sheets, both men are equally adept at understanding people. It’s that ability that inspires employees, motivates subcontractors, reassures financial partners and delights customers. It’s also the basis for the company’s belief that quality homes are built on quality relationships. And that’s what makes the J. Lawrence experience so enjoyable for homebuyers. Like the best relationships, promises are kept; questions are answered; trust is established; faith is upheld. That’s how John Lawrence Wozniak and James Lawrence Chittaro built J. Lawrence Homes. And that’s how they’ll build your home.