Forrest Cousino


The Cousino family has been building and rebuilding homes and businesses in Toledo for at least 80 years...

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    ...Ransom Cousino was a Toledo builder back in the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. Many of his descendants still work in the industry today throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

    Starting in the late 1960s, Ransom’s middle son, Forrest, began adding his own vision to the family tradition. After graduating from college, he worked in general construction for eight years before turning to insurance restoration work.

    Fire and flood repair contractors were beginning to form into a cottage industry, and Forrest was there, a pioneer settling new territory. In 1987, he formed Cousino Construction Co. as one of the area’s first contractors to focus almost entirely on repairing fire, flood and other damages.

    Forrest recognized early on that to be successful in insurance restoration, you had to serve three customers, not one - the property owner, the insurance adjuster and the insurance agent. He made them happy by delivering superior trade work at a relentlessly fast pace. He still does that today.

    Since then, the company has grown into one of the region’s largest and busiest full service disaster response and restoration contractors, performing 1500 jobs every year in 50+ counties across most of Ohio and southeastern Michigan.

    Some lessons Forrest learned along the way include:
    • Settle matters before going to court as you risk losing a herd of cattle trying to recapture a sheep.
    • If you are faced with a choice of money or reputation, you have no choice.
    • A Brink’s truck does not follow a Hearse.
    • We are in the people business, not the construction business
    • Value your most important asset - your employees.

Lane Montz

General Counsel

I get a lot of surprised looks when people learn I'm an attorney and a contractor. I became a lawyer to advise executives - not become an executive myself...

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    ...But that's exactly what I've been doing for the last 16 years at Cousino Restoration, the region's busiest property damage repair and insurance claims contractor.

    My career began in a private law firm handling personal injury, worker's compensation, consumer law and business disputes. I loved the thrill of the courtroom (still do) but jumped when Forrest Cousino offered me the chance to help run his family business through a period of industry change.

    Disaster repair contractors faces many challenges. The work is unplanned, fast-paced and chaotic. Customers are often traumatized from seeing their home or business destroyed by fire, flood or storm. To be a better company lawyer I decided to learn the business from the ground up: I took industry certification classes, ran projects and got my contractor's license.

    Since then, I've opened branch offices, built project teams, re-organized the company into regional profit centers, built a customer service program from scratch, and reduced worker's compensation expenses dramatically. I've also designed performance-driven compensation plans and worked with our accounting team to redesign key financial reports and policies. Most recently we've been enhancing our business development by providing our sales professionals with a more robust CRM system.

    We complete 1,200+ projects each year. That's a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong and I take risk management very seriously. While it's usually best to work things out whenever possible, when we do go to Court we are protected by the strongest contract and warranty package in the industry.

    I love a good story and would like to hear yours. Let's learn from each other. Contact me through LinkedIn or email me lmontz@cousinorestoration.com.

Eric Martin

Senior Project Manager

Eric is a graduate of Anthony Wayne High School and learned his craft at Hocking College and Owens Community College...

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    “When I walk into a medical facility that has encountered a loss, I look first at how I can best protect the patients, and then deal with the structure or facility second”

    ...Eric has over 20 years experience in construction and has been with Cousino Harris Disaster Kleenup for ten years and has much experience managing large medical losses working under Infection Control Risk Management (ICRA) guidelines, and is working toward the attainment of mold remediation supervisory certification.

    In addition, Eric is certified in:

    • OSHA 10 hour safety
    • Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician
    • Water Damage Restoration Technician
    • Mold Remediation Technician

    Eric’s community service includes: 4 years volunteer firefighter, lifetime membership of Anthony Wayne High School Alumni and is a lifetime member of Future Farmers of America.

Tom Peternel

Senior Project Manager

Tom joined the Cousino Harris Disaster Kleenup team in 2003. He is a graduate of St. Johns Jesuit High School...

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    “I was taught to handle and treat medical facilities with the utmost standards and care while following the ICRA standards for the remediation and repairs as we are instructed. Each job is different and requires constant documentation of the loss, work force, equipment and materials to ensure an accurate billing at the end of the project. Timeliness, cleanliness and professionalism are standards that cannot be compromised in the medical facilities, especially when actively caring for patients”

    ...earned an associate degree in architectural engineering from Owens Community College and continuing education credits from the University of Toledo

    Before coming to Cousino Restoration, Tom worked as a field engineer for the Bostleman Corporation from 2000 to 2003 after working as a union carpenter.

    Tom’s dedication to excellent service also extends to the community. He serves on the board of directors for the Aurora House, coaches little league baseball and basketball and has been a Cub Scout leader.

    Tom is certified in water damage restoration and trained in water and mold remediation through Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), Summit Training Source (Workplace safety training) as well as trained in ProMedica’s standards for project set-up.

    Successfully completed projects at medical facilities include:
    • St. Luke's Hospital
    • Toledo Hospital
    • Mercy Hospital
    • Park Crest Medical
    • Rossford Medical Center
    • Cochran Dental
    • Westmeyer Dental