Shenehon Center for Real Estate
2013 Inductee: Leonard Bisanz
Leonard Bisanz (1918-2002)
As president of Bisanz Brothers Construction Company, Leonard Bisanz was responsible for developing many of the homes in St. Paul’s Highland Park. His impact can still be seen today in the community.
Bisanz was born in 1918 and attended Cretin High School. A gifted baseball player, he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians after graduation. However, he chose instead to attend the College (now University) of St. Thomas. Upon graduating in 1941, Bisanz served in the U.S. Navy for five years and achieved the rank of commander as a naval aviator during World War II. He was one of the first pilots ever to fly a plane into a hurricane to provide critical tracking information for Atlantic fleet operations.
Following the war, Bisanz and his brothers Charles and Norbert, along with the help of their sister, Colette, founded Bisanz Brothers Construction Company. The Bisanz Brothers built more than 700 homes in the Highland Park community in St. Paul. The company was particularly outstanding in the publicity field. It garnered media attention for its strategic sales and marketing plans, and its impeccable customer service continued long after the sale. The Bisanz Brothers created an after-sale program where it educated customers on how to properly care for their homes. Once all the homes on a block were sold, the company hosted a neighborhood block party. The Bisanz Brothers’ work was not only admired locally, but also recognized in the national industry. It is the only homebuilder to win national awards from Practical Builder Magazine in consecutive years.
In addition to his professional endeavors, Bisanz was an active leader in many homebuilder associations. He was president of the St. Paul Home Builder’s Association; four-time director of the National Association of Home Builders; member of the board of directors, St. Paul Board of Realtors; and member of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Planning Commission. He also held many service and stewardship positions in the community. Bisanz was a lifetime member of the President’s Council of the University of St. Thomas; chairman of the College of St. Catherine Board of Trustees; member of the Founders Circle of St. Paul Seminary; and president of the College of St. Thomas Alumni Association. He was named alumni of the year by the University of St. Thomas in 1979.
A lifelong supporter of the St. Paul community, we have Leonard Bisanz to thank for setting a gold standard in the local homebuilding industry.