CLE Consulting LLC – Wisconsin

January 31, 2024
CLE Consulting LLC - Wisconsin

CLE Consulting LLC

Building Beyond Boundaries: The CLE Consulting Story


With innovative leadership, CLE Consulting LLC is reshaping the construction industry in the Midwest, merging visionary design with practical solutions for diverse living needs.

CLE Consulting LLC, a construction company based in Wisconsin, is a leader in the design and building sector. Founded in 2013 by Charles Elliott, a veteran with over 50 years in the construction industry, the company initially focused on residential and commercial projects, emphasizing affordable housing and exceptional customer service. In December 2019, Elliott passed the leadership baton to Dawn McIntosh, a seasoned professional with 36 years of industry experience.

Under McIntosh’s leadership, CLE Consulting has flourished, gaining recognition for its commitment to quality and innovation. McIntosh, a certified state builder with a certification in aging in place, has a diverse background in interior design, building material sales, and management. Her leadership extends beyond the company, as she has served on boards for various associations and nonprofits, including Habitat for Humanity of Dane County and the Madison Area Builders Association.

CLE Consulting LLC - Wisconsin

Dawn McIntosh, President & CEO

CLE Consulting’s services encompass many construction projects, including multi-family condos and townhomes, single-family residences, and light commercial buildings. The company also specializes in remodeling and investment properties, catering to a diverse clientele. Its expertise in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces has earned it accolades, including the “2021 Builder of the Year” award from the Madison Area Builders Association.

Pioneering Leadership: Women in Construction

In the traditionally male-dominated world of construction, McIntosh’s journey is not just inspiring but, also transformative. Over three decades ago, her entry into this sector was marked by challenges that were as much a product of her gender as they were of the industry’s norms. Today, as the President and CEO of CLE Consulting LLC, her experiences shed light on the evolving construction landscape, particularly for women.

McIntosh recalls the early days of her career with a mix of nostalgia and realism. “When I first joined the construction world as a designer, the hurdles were significant, especially being a female on construction sites,” she shares. Her journey was not just about navigating the physical aspects of construction but also about gaining the trust and respect of her peers, many of whom were unaccustomed to seeing women in such roles.

The last decade, however, has marked a significant shift. “We’re seeing more women as plumbers, electricians, and builders,” McIntosh notes, highlighting a growing presence of women on job sites. This change isn’t just in numbers; it’s in the industry’s ethos. The once-rare sight of women in these roles is becoming more commonplace, reflecting a broader shift towards inclusivity.

A notable aspect of CLE Consulting is its commitment to empowering women in the construction industry. In 2016, McIntosh founded the Women in the Construction Industry group in Dane County, which now boasts over 150 members. This initiative reflects the company’s dedication to diversity and inclusion, providing a platform for women to network, learn, and grow in the construction field.

For McIntosh, mentorship plays a crucial role in this transformation. She emphasizes the importance of guiding young women entering the field and helping them navigate construction jobs’ professional and skill-based challenges. “There’s a fine line we walk,” she admits. “We need to maintain professionalism while being part of the team.” Her approach to leadership is rooted in leading by example – a strategy that has earned her respect on job sites and paved the way for a more inclusive industry.

McIntosh’s leadership at CLE Consulting LLC is not just about constructing buildings; it’s about constructing opportunities and breaking down barriers. Her story vividly illustrates the evolving dynamics in the construction industry, where gender is becoming less of a barrier to success and more of a unique perspective that enriches the field.

The Foundation of Success: Partnerships and Team Dynamics

A unique blend of internal leadership and external collaboration is at the heart of CLE Consulting LLC’s success. This balance of a competent management team with a vast network of trade partners is not just a business model; it’s a strategy that underscores the company’s commitment to diversity and efficiency.

McIntosh elaborates on this unique structure. “We have four managers, all of whom are women, embodying our ethos of being female-owned and managed,” she explains. This core team is complemented by a robust network of ninety-seven subcontractors, all male, illustrating the company’s inclusive approach to project management. “We couldn’t achieve our goals without our trade partners,” McIntosh acknowledges, emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between her team and their collaborators.

Discussing her trade partners, McIntosh highlights vital relationships that have been instrumental in her company’s operations. Drexel Building Supply, a major supplier of lumber, trusses, doors, windows, and cabinetry, stands out as a vital partner. “They assign a dedicated salesperson to us,” she notes, detailing the weekly meetings that ensure project efficiency and quality control. This partnership extends beyond mere transactions, as the salesperson is actively involved in on-site operations, ensuring material availability and addressing any logistical challenges.

Another critical partner is Coyle Carpet One, with whom McIntosh collaborates closely on home designs, particularly in choosing tiles, floorings, and colors. “Their installation team is exceptional, aligning perfectly with our schedules and budgetary constraints,” she adds. This collaboration not only enhances project execution but also enriches the design and aesthetic appeal of their constructions.

Grand Appliance and TV is the third pillar in this triumvirate of critical suppliers, handling all appliance-related needs. “Having a dedicated salesperson from Grand Appliance who troubleshoots and oversees installations is a massive boon for us,” McIntosh states. This level of involvement from a supplier underscores the importance of having deeply integrated partners who contribute significantly to the smooth running of operations.

These partnerships, woven into the fabric of CLE Consulting’s operational model, are not just support systems; they are integral to the company’s ability to deliver excellence consistently. McIntosh’s strategic approach to maintaining a female-led management team while harnessing the expertise of a diverse range of subcontractors and suppliers illustrates a business acumen beyond traditional management paradigms. A harmonious blend of leadership, partnership, and innovation keeps CLE Consulting at the forefront of the design and building sector.


CLE Consulting LLC - Wisconsin


Crafting Dreams into Reality: Current Projects at CLE Consulting

McIntosh’s work at CLE Consulting LLC highlights her versatility and dedication to client satisfaction. Her current projects illustrate a deep understanding of her client’s needs, whether designing a dream home or remodeling an existing one to make it more comfortable and accessible.

She shares her experience with a project that began as a design and interior consultation for a lake house. “The clients initially just wanted design and interior guidance for their family cottage,” she recalls. However, as the project evolved, the clients’ confidence in McIntosh’s abilities grew, leading them to request her team to build the home. “We had to consider the logistics due to the distance, but we committed to making their dream home a reality,” she says. This project reflects CLE Consulting’s flexibility and willingness to adapt and underscores McIntosh’s ability to inspire trust and confidence in her clients.

In discussing another project, McIntosh highlights her expertise in creating ‘aging in place’ environments. “We’re working on an addition and extensive remodel for clients who wish to stay in their home during their retirement years,” she explains. The project includes a range of modifications, from a new kitchen and primary bedroom to barrier-free showers and upgraded lighting. “Our goal is to make the house safe, accessible, and comfortable for them,” McIntosh adds.

These projects illustrate McIntosh’s commitment to addressing each client’s unique needs. Whether building a new home from scratch or adapting an existing one to suit changing lifestyles, her approach is always client-centric. She combines her design expertise with a deep understanding of her client’s desires, ensuring that every project she undertakes is not just a construction or renovation task but a journey towards realizing a client’s dream. This ability to empathize with and respond to her client’s needs sets McIntosh and CLE Consulting apart in the competitive design and construction world.

Envisioning the Future: CLE Consulting’s Path Forward

CLE Consulting LLC’s vision for the future is not just a blueprint for building structures but also for fostering trust, understanding client needs, and adapting to market changes. McIntosh’s approach combines the artistry of design with the pragmatism of practical living solutions, catering to a diverse clientele with varying needs.

Reflecting on the essence of her business, McIntosh emphasizes the importance of communication and trust. “We listen to our clients and build what they envision,” she states. This client-centric approach is central to CLE Consulting’s philosophy, whether crafting modest first-time buyer homes or luxurious million-dollar lake houses. “The satisfaction I get from helping someone build their dream home is immense, regardless of the project’s scale,” she shares, underlining her commitment to delivering quality and satisfaction across all projects.

Looking towards the future, McIntosh sees significant opportunities in aging-in-place design, a growing need given the aging baby boomer population. “We’re focusing on incorporating features that enable people to stay in their homes longer,” she explains. This foresight is about meeting immediate needs and anticipating long-term lifestyle changes, ensuring that homes are not just spaces for the present but adaptable for the future.

Regarding future growth and challenges, McIntosh outlines a strategic plan that caters to two primary demographics: the aging population and millennials. “We’re partnering with investors to develop communities with duplexes featuring zero-step entries for our aging clients,” she notes. Simultaneously, there’s a push towards designing multifamily housing suited for millennials, addressing their unique preferences and lifestyle requirements.

CLE Consulting’s roadmap for the coming years combines innovative design, strategic partnerships, and market foresight. McIntosh’s leadership is characterized by an ability to navigate the evolving landscape of home building while staying true to her core values of trust, client satisfaction, and quality. Her vision for CLE Consulting is not just about constructing buildings; it’s about creating environments that resonate with the needs and aspirations of diverse populations, ensuring that each project is more than just a structure, but a home tailored for its inhabitants. This forward-thinking approach positions CLE Consulting as not just a participant in the home building industry but as a leader shaping its future.

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CLE Consulting LLC

What: An innovative construction company specializing in design-build projects focusing on residential and light commercial buildings, remodeling, and investment properties.

Where: Wisconsin, USA



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