Joseph Anderson, President & CEO Rafael Systems Global Sustainment LLC Profile

Malisa Smith
Director of Construction
CUSI Construction

Joseph Anderson, President & CEO Rafael Systems Global Sustainment LLC Certificate

“Trust develops collaborations and businesses”

Director of Construction Malisa Smith introduced CUSI Construction as an innovative low-voltage and technology solutions provider that started with CUSI Tech. They pioneered by delivering general contracting, electrical, and low-voltage/tech from one vendor, which led to the Peak Professional Contractors merger in Colorado Springs in 2021. Honesty, integrity, and excellence have guided CUSI Construction since 1986. They build ground-up, tenant-finish, and renovate retail and office spaces nationwide. CUSI Construction continues to specialize in SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) construction.

Malisa left her 10-year job 15 years ago. She knew she needed that life change, but it was hard to decide. After so long, she found it difficult to apply for a new job. She attained her aim of professional and personal growth, and that decision led to tremendous opportunities, including her current employment.

Malisa seeks relationship-based partnerships. She thinks it's easy to jump into someone's life for a while and do the same thing in a cubicle every day. Her best managers and partners—successful leaders—shaped her management style. She wants to be part of a team that can organize, assemble, and think creatively. Leadership enhances any team. She believes teams are strongest when members recognize each other's skills and rely on each other as much as their leaders.

Malisa and the organization expect employees to be dedicated, perseverant, knowledgeable, willing to learn, and honest. They should admit their mistakes and learn from them. She wants active listeners, proactive thinkers, and problem-solvers. CUSI promotes from within, so they're always seeking good candidates for lower-level positions who could grow. She seeks proactive individuals that can work in the grey, “because everything isn’t black and white”.

She believes challenging people increases morale. “It feels great to have accomplished challenging work, and that matters!" she adds, “With a diversified staff, I like to develop strengths. Teaming someone who struggles with a coworker who excels in it develops teamwork, is a built-in training tool, and enhances the morale of staff who excel in other areas”. She also professes that having the right equipment helps keep a team on track and hence advocates equipping, training, critical thinking, creativity, and resourcefulness. Malisa advises emphasizing what you know needs to happen over what an employee, supervisor, client, or subcontractor believes when handling many projects. This is where the value of critical thinking and task prioritization comes into play with employees. She admires the CUSI team's teamwork and problem-solving skills. She can multitask while they handle large problems. With luck and timing on her side, it's self-confidence, enthusiasm, realistic expectations, and ambitions in the proper amounts!

One of the defining moments Malisa noted in her experience was working with a startup GC, where everyone multitasked, including the project coordinator, estimator, and junior PM. Her first PM project was challenging! Her supervisor and mentor instructed her to create it so value-engineered components could be added later. She entered the project in a design-build competition despite the project's non-design-build contract. It won.

When asked about disagreements, Malisa shakes her head and chuckles, saying they are normal. The same rules apply to children and employees. Complaints vary, but typically begin with one person's account. Her "go-to" is "There are always at least two sides to every story". Each person believes in those two viewpoints. They merely think their way, not to deceive. Outsiders can see both sides and something in the middle, whether it's their own or a third party's. Discussing this helps people see things from various perspectives.

Malisa has experience in engineering and manufacturing. She's spent her career learning to command respect in industries that lack women. Any industry values partners who understand their language and terminology. She recognizes clients like to "speak the language in layman's terms." Malisa emphasizes client needs when building.

She's not a Lululemon manager, but she succeeds by listening to the client, understanding why this "stand with leggings needs to be lit just so," and delivering. “It takes practice and is priceless," she adds.

CUSI, like many others, is expanding, and growth planning is difficult, says Malisa, but they've established efficient and effective procedures, which assists. She has witnessed how unmanaged growth wrecks companies. After a year of leadership changes and a goal to construct a "well-oiled machine," CUSI is returning to larger projects, and it's great to help plan and grow.

CUSI has excelled in constructing SCIF projects. They just completed a 20,000-square-foot SCIF and non-secure office complex and are designing a 57,000-square-foot secure and non-secure space. The Springs is expanding in this market due to high demand for these facilities. Their President invested in a SCIF development near the Colorado Springs Airport after seeing the great need for these spaces. Investors are helping them get the first of at least four campus buildings designed and built.

CUSI Construction is honored to have served hotel, retail, industrial, and restaurant clients nationally. Their team has over 20 years of experience in property development and renovation. CUSI believes that choosing a general contractor is the most important building decision.

CUSi Construction brings experience and devotion to one’s project team. They maintain On Time, On Budget, and Consistent Quality. They Build Projects...Relationships...Trust!


CUSI Construction


Malisa Smith
Director of Construction
CUSI Construction


We’ve completed projects for some major brands, including: Starbucks, Mariott, Hilton, Dutch Bro’s Coffee, Lockheed Martin, MITRE, and more.

Construction Leaders Magazine 2023