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  1. It’s Good To Be Small-scaled

    June 6, 2013 by Jeff Forrest

    The title of this blog certainly doesn’t apply to my height. At 6′-2,” I’m not exactly the shortest guy in the room. Unless I’m standing next to my brother or my son, who are both 2″ taller than I. The title actually refers to the style of our company – the small-scale approach in how we do our business and treat our people and clients. There’s something about the service and attitude you receive from a small business that elevates their level of appreciation, wouldn’t you agree?

    I suppose by most standards, a company that captures $100 million per year in revenue would not be considered small. Maybe that’s medium-sized, but let’s not get caught up in the numbers. This discussion is based around our management style, how we solve problems, and our ability to change and improve more fluidly than the big boys, ultimately increasing our ability in building long-term relationships.

    One of the things I like most about smaller companies is the management accessibility. The owners, leaders, and other decision makers are available and present. In many cases, you’re dealing with the founder or partner when conducting business with a small firm.

    As President and Managing Member of WPC, I’m typically the one who introduces the company and tells our story to potential clients and customers. Having been here for 35 years, I have a varied perspective of our capabilities I am able to communicate more genuinely about who we are and what we do.

    With our robustly staffed competitors, the initial introduction to their company usually comes from someone hired to make their pitch; they have little “real” exposure to the true culture of the company and may have minimal industry experience. And, sadly, you will rarely see that person again – if ever. You may never meet the actual owner or partners of the company, who may live in another state or in some cases, another country.

    On the contrary, all of the WPC partners work inside the walls of our Maitland office, and within just a few short steps of each other. We participate daily to ensure our clients are satisfied with our product and service. That small company management style is what makes us different and better, regardless of the size of our projects.

    WPC Partner, and Vice President of Estimating, Chuck Reynolds, is in charge of pricing our projects. He is committed to making sure that our prices include everything that is needed to build our projects and not just what is needed to get the contract. His 19-year tenure, as well as his ownership, adds to his commitment to our clients, giving them a familiar face that they know and trust.

    Kevin Corrado, WPC’s Chief Operating Officer and partner, is responsible for running the overall operations and making sure the WPC team provides an outstanding experience and lives up to our reputation. Having also been here for 19 years, Kevin knows how each person in our team ticks and what it takes to be successful. His ownership means he will be able to make decisions without having to go through the layers of bureaucracy that typically exist in conglomerate companies.

    Finally and certainly not least, WPC’s founder and CEO, Tracy Forrest, provides the wisdom and leadership that has put WPC on the map for almost 4 decades. His presence is felt throughout the company and he reminds us regularly what it was like to struggle as an even smaller company and lives by the creed that the customer is always right.

    As for the problem solving of a small-scale business, it’s all hands on deck. Regardless of the position at WPC, if an issue needs attention, everyone jumps in to help reach a solution, quickly and efficiently. If a client wants any of WPC’s owners to be a part of that solution, we are able to step up and meet that need. Some of the larger general contractors most likely would have to fly someone in from their corporate office. That person probably knows little about the project and has had little to do with the client relationship.

    Being able to change and be fluid in difficult economic times is also an advantage in a small company mentality.  As our client’s needs change, our ability to change with them is seamless. Without multiple departments and divisions spread over multiple states, we’re not limited to building projects of a certain size or product type. If a developer who has blessed us with a $10 million dollar project asks us to do a $100,000 project, we’re happy to oblige. Our experience is not based on what another satellite company has done in other part of the country. We learn quickly from our success, as well as our mistakes, and communicate that knowledge efficiently.

    This doesn’t mean we won’t travel. Quite the opposite, currently there are WPC team members in many different states. We are on these projects because our clients enjoy the experience they have received from WPC in a local arena and want that capability elsewhere.

    Most importantly are the relationships that we build with our clients. WPC’s leadership, including the partners, directors and senior managers play an intimate part in every project we complete. Our clients know they can reach out to us at anytime and will have contact with someone who cares about their interests and will do whatever it takes to exceed their expectations. We’re not perfect; no company is. Our goal, however, is to earn the next project. We feel that by treating every client with a little something extra is what makes us different and will help us reach that goal.

    By following this approach, we’ve been able to keep our small–scale feel, while being one of Central Florida’s biggest contractors.

  2. Stress Less

    June 4, 2013 by Jeff Forrest

    We’re in the home stretch of 2013 with only one quarter left in the year. I’ve just returned from the NMHC Student Housing Conference in New Orleans and had a chance to catch up with some of our existing clients, as well as meet a few new ones. The outlook on the market remains optimistic which bodes well for WPC in the coming years. We’re also excited about the multifamily market as we continue to capture new projects in the urban infill, podium, wrap and garden style sectors.  As the market improves, so is the stress of managing the labor, schedule and cost escalation issues that come with everyone being busier. Projecting project costs has become increasingly challenging and imposes stress on developers, subcontractors and our staff as they manage the muddy waters of pre-construction and budgeting. It’s this kind of stress that our clients rely on us to deal with given our proven experience and solid relationships.

    Speaking of stress: in September’s blog I reported that my son, Jeffrey, decided to dive head first into a new career in construction at WPC. He took a few minutes to write a newsletter article about how he faced stress in his former career as a poker player and what it means to him now. Here is that article:

    Stress by Jeffrey Forrest

    As many of you know, I was a professional poker player for the last 5 years. I would spend 8 to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week playing a strategic game of chance.  For a long time, I was able to sustain myself and remain independent with poker as my career. I entered tournaments all around the country thanks to sponsorship from other players and experienced a great deal of success.

    However, all the success came to a halt in early 2011.  On a day poker players know as Black Friday, the government shut down the three major internet poker casinos, freezing 100’s of millions in poker player funds and effectively ending my poker career (although I wouldn’t accept it at the time). What made poker fun and profitable for me was being able to play comfortably on the couch at home and control the environment around me, allowing me to focus completely on the game.  I was forced at this time to transition into a traveling player, paying for gas, flights, hotel rooms, food and other random expenses to compete at casinos around Florida and different parts of the country.

    This is when I was truly introduced to stress. Stress is a part of the game of poker, no matter how good you are it’s a mentally taxing game. For the first few years, playing almost completely online, I was able to handle all of my professional levels of stress. If I won or lost for days, weeks or months, I didn’t feel I was affected too much in my personal life. But once I turned into a strictly live casino gambler, my life became an emotional roller coaster. The new expenses and constant travel on top of the games existing stress plus a need to make a living was not a winning combination. My days as a winning professional poker player were over.

    The only way to escape the stress was to move on to something new.  When I was given the opportunity to come and work for WPC, I knew it would be a positive change for me. So far it’s been exactly what I needed, I still feel professional stress but it has more of a positive energy. It’s exciting to learn how to do my new job, to do it quickly and well, on top of proving that I’ll be an asset over the long run.

    I my overall point is that we can’t always tell how our mental state is and specifically how we are reacting to stress until we look back on it afterwards. I’m lucky to have learned a lot of lifelong lessons from my time as a poker player, but none more importantly then how I will let stress affect me on a daily basis. You may want to take some time and look up a Ted Talks video by Kelly McGonigal about how to recognize stress and make it your friend.

    That kid is pretty damn smart and a decent writer…must be in the genes.

    As we approach the end of the year, I’m sure the stress of the world won’t change much. From the political tensions both nationally and across the globe, to work challenges or personal battles, hopefully you’ll diffuse your stress in a positive way and avoid the pitfalls of letting it affect your health and success.

    On a final note, October is my birthday month. I suppose it is safer to say that 2013 has been my birthday year.  I turn 50 on the 25th and have enjoyed 43 birthday parties so far (7 more to go) celebrating all over the world…literally. From Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Chicago to New York, London to Belgium, I’ve experienced some amazing times with outstanding friends and family. There are a few parties left before the big Five-O and I’m sure they will be just as much fun. I am forever grateful to all those who have celebrated with me or sent your good wishes. Since I’m¬ halfway through with this life, I better figure out what I’m going to do for a living for the next 50 years. This construction thing is a young man’s game and we have some strong young leaders who will do an amazing job with our company in the years ahead.

  3. Wine…A Learning State of Mind

    March 4, 2013 by Jeff Forrest

    A special thank you to last month’s ghostwriter, Bethany, who will remain anonymous. I truly appreciate her stepping in for me while I was exercising my brain during the month of February. At age 49, I can finally say I graduated from college…kind of.

    A few weeks back I completed a program called Owner/President Management, or OPM. This is an executive education course where I spend 3 weeks a year, for 3 years, in a dorm on-campus at Harvard Business School reading case studies, talking about successful (and not so successful) companies, and going to classes on leadership, control, finance, marketing, negotiation, strategy, entrepreneurship, sales/operations and wine. The wine education usually happened around 8 pm when I got together with my study group for a few hours, opened a bottle of wine and talked about the case studies, our lives and received amazing advice and feedback from truly smart people on how to make WPC better. The relationships I built with my 160 classmates were half the value of being there. They are all owners and/or presidents of their companies from all over the world including China, India, Brazil, Thailand, Australia, Jordan, Nigeria, the Philippines, Canada, Bulgaria, Egypt, and Denmark. I could go on and on. Our professors are some of the smartest and brightest people around and challenged us to participate in an environment that encouraged us to learn and think beyond our comfort zone. Regardless of the subject matter, I found value in the process, gained key insights into our company, and myself, and hopefully will translate that into a strategy to implement now that I am home. In short, I realized that life is a constant learning process and I gained the tools to raise my intelligence level a few notches. It is a life changing experience to say the least.

    If I were asked to say two things about what I learned while being at Harvard, it would be a self-awareness of both my strengths and, more importantly, my weaknesses. The second would be how proud I am of the culture that exists at WPC. During the many conversations, both in and out of the classroom, it became clear to me that WPC’s distinctive competitive advantage is it’s people and their passion for providing an experience that is unique to our industry. Doing the right thing, taking care of our customers and vendors, providing exceptional customer service, having fun (check out WPC’s Instagram account to see some of that @WPCCo) and protecting our reputation are a few of the cornerstones of that culture. By living up to these values, we live up to our motto of Building Beyond the BlueprintTM. Maintaining and improving this culture will always be a critical part of preserving our advantage.

    Although I graduated and was greeted by warmer weather when I came home, the learning process will never end and my hope is that it will translate into actions that will benefit all of us by improving our company and ensuring our sustainability. Tracy is an Harvard OPM graduate as well and we see everyday the threads he has sewn into the fabric of our company to get us where we are today.

    A special thank you to all of the WPC staff for letting me sneak away from work these past 3 years and accomplish a little something that will make my mom proud…kind of.

  4. Heading to Sin City

    June 29, 2012 by Jeff Forrest

    It’s nice to be back in Orlando for a few days. For the past three weeks I have been at OPM, an executive education program at Harvard Business School.  Many people describe it as an executive MBA but it is much more than that.  This was the second year of a three-year program and I enjoyed spending time with my classmates, studying, absorbing and sharing knowledge in order to improve the way we look at our businesses.  I’m looking forward to wrapping things up next year and graduating with my 160 plus classmates from all over the world.  A special shout out to OPM43 Group 15 and Group 51.  Thanks for your friendship and for helping me so much these past 2 years.

    In a few short days I head to the 2012 ARDA World Conference to network with new and existing clients, as well as consultants and venders in the resort and timeshare industry; many of which I call friends.  Having been a member of ARDA, (American Resort and Development Association) for many years, I always look forward to this annual meeting and this year should not disappoint. The conference alternates annually between Las Vegas and Orlando and this year it will be in Sin City.

    Vegas has become a second home over the past decade due to the amount of work we do there.  Just last week, our construction partner, Penta Building Group, broke ground on the final tower on the north parcel at The Grandview at Las Vegas.  WPC has been the construction manager/owner’s rep for this great client since the project started.  As we build the last 200 units of this 1,100+ unit project, we’re already planning the next 1,000 units for the south parcel.  Construction should begin there in 2014.

    In addition to Grandview, for the past 6 months we’ve been doing renovation work in Las Vegas on the Desert Club Resort for another fantastic, long-term client.  The grand re-opening of the sales building occurs during the ARDA conference and I’m looking forward to seeing the great work of our renovations division.

    What is interesting about these two projects, and more importantly these two clients, is that the relationship started out with WPC providing general contracting services in Orlando.  Because the WPC team provided an exceptional experience on the Orlando projects, these clients ask us to travel with them. They trust us to look out for their interest, to be fair with our pricing and to provide the same level of customer service and quality in other cities.  They appreciate the value we provide and in turn, we work hard to meet or exceed their expectations.  It is these kinds of relationship that we seek, develop, and maintain on a daily basis. Thank you for letting us be a part of your team.

    Time for me to pack my bags and head to Sin City. Even though my son is a professional poker player and lives in Vegas 2 months out of the year playing the WSOP events, I don’t go to Vegas to gamble. In fact in the past 10 years, I’ve spent less than $500 in fun at the casinos. I figure being in the construction business is all the gambling excitement I need.  I wont be writing about my adventures in next month’s blog.

  5. All-Stars

    June 17, 2012 by Jeff Forrest

    I decided I needed to take a more “warm and fuzzy” approach to this month’s blog, because apparently I ruffled a few feathers last month.  Even though that was the intent and I received more positive feedback from that piece than any of my others, I’ll stay on the “PC” path this time around…  but don’t get too use to it.

    Some of you might know that I am a huge NBA fan and have been a season ticket holder for the Orlando Magic for 23 years.  My son turned 23 last July and I have raised not only a great kid, but also a die-hard Magic fan.  I say all that because Orlando is getting ready to host the NBA All-Star game next week and my son and I could not be more excited.  Not just because I want to see the actual event, but because our city will come alive for that week and realize a huge boost of much needed income and spirit.

    As I read the list of “All-Stars” that will be here and playing, I started to think of our own All-Stars. i The WPC All-Stars that have dedicated their careers to working for this great company and who have truly made us successful.  We measure success in many ways, and obviously revenue and profits are one of those ways, but for me, one of the best metrics of success is how long people have been a part of the WPC family.

    Take a look at this list:

    15 to 20 years…
    Shawn Maes
    Nick Transue
    David Cooper
    Robert Soper
    Charlie Cecil
    Mike Ferguson
    Mike Barton
    Rex Davidson
    Kevin Corrado
    Chuck Reynolds
    Harry Rogers
    Chris Ambrose

    20 to 25 years…
    Wes Vanderbunt

    25 to 30 years…
    Paul Caruana
    Dave Emde
    Holly Blankenship
    Mary Dussault

    Over 30 years…
    John McCahan
    Larry Muller

    Think about what that says about a company.  What it says about perseverance, loyalty, and dedication from the team members’ point of view.  What it says about the culture of our company and what it means to long-term clients who call us after many years and get to hear a familiar voice. For me, personally, it means that I wake up everyday knowing that I can tell the story of how we strive to be the best construction company in the business and that there are people that I can trust to work hard everyday to keep our reputation.

    Of course we have a lot of young talent that keep us old guys on our toes and push us to stay ahead of the curve.  The combination of new and seasoned staff makes for a great recipe and it also makes for sustainability.  The company is 38 years old this year, and I have no doubt it will be around for decades to come.

    So, as the city starts filling up with basketball stars, fans, and media, I’ll be cheering for more than just my favorite sport.  I’ll be cheering for the WPC team to keep running the plays that make us great.

    P.S.  I will not be cheering for Lebron.

  6. Are some companies taking a step back?

    June 15, 2012 by Jeff Forrest

    We are half way through the year and summer is in full effect. Traveling between Orlando and Las Vegas during this time of year puts me in extreme climates: hot and humid, and hot and dry, though it is hard to complain about having work in either of these vibrant cities.

    One thing is for sure: the competitive landscape remains as tight as ever. However, there is an uneasy trend developing and it should concern all of us. We are finding more and more general contractors and subcontractors cutting corners in order to compete. Whether this is with less manpower to supervise the work, alternative materials of lesser quality or paying less attention to important details that will become critical in the long term, it appears that some companies are taking a step back in order to survive. In the end, it will come back to haunt them and, without question, the clients and end user are getting less value. It is scary that some clients are okay with getting less because it is the only way they can make the “numbers” work.

    We at WPC ask ourselves this question: how do we compete when we’re not willing to do less? The answer remains complicated, but one thing is for sure – we will not compromise our values in order to capture work. We have been very fortunate to work with clients that appreciate the value we provide at a competitive price and are not looking for the cheapest price. They appreciate that we don’t move faster than quality will allow and trust that we will live up to our reputation. I tell clients my job isn’t to make money, but to figure out a way to keep it. In order to do that, we need to stick with what we know is right and work hard to provide our clients with a product of which we both can be proud.

    On a side note, and in an attempt to satisfy both my readers who like when I go on a rant and my own desire to keep it real, I thought I would complain a little about some people who need to be called out. I was going to write an entire blog about this entitled “Choosing Between Right and Wrong,” but I’ll keep it short and sweet (okay…maybe not so sweet). I was told that writing this piece was a bad choice, but it will damn sure make me feel better.

    That potential blog title comes from something I heard when I was younger from a much smarter and wiser man that I will ever be. He told me that knowing what is right and wrong is usually not the problem. Making the choice to do what’s right or wrong is what people seem to struggle with. People who know me very well know that I am no saint. I’ve made plenty of bad choices and decisions in my day. Suffice it to say that I won’t be running for any public office. I recently rediscovered a quote from Augusten Burroughs that fits me quite well,

    “I myself am made up entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”

    There is a difference between being a decent human being who makes some bad choices from time to time and someone who is altogether a bad person. I seem to be crossing paths with the latter more often lately and it has become quite discouraging. By the way, I was advised to not mention the names and locations of the “bad guys” in order to avoid any possible backlash. I would usually ignore that advice, but I’ll use a little judgment in this case. I’ll be happy to fill you in should you choose to contact me.

    Let’s start with the crooks in New Orleans. Let me first state that I am not saying that everyone in NOLA is a crook – just half the people I’ve come across have been. I was jokingly told that the other half hasn’t been caught yet but I’m sure there are some very good people there. For some stupid reason, we decided to team up with another general contractor in this town known for its good music, good food, endless partying and mass corruption. The owner of this other firm and some of his employees turned out to be some seriously bad people. Lesson learned – don’t be enticed by a town that has good music, good food, endless partying and is known for mass corruption. I know what you’re thinking; I work in Vegas, which is known for all of these things as well. I don’t have good answer for you but I can say that I’ve been working there for more than 10 years and so far everyone I’ve come across have been good people.

    Next up, the mental midget – err, plumbing subcontractor who shook hands with me over a two-year deal and yet, three years later, decided to disregard the entire agreement even after I fulfilled my end of the bargain. Apparently, integrity and honor is not a valued part of his business practice. Lesson here? Never take someone’s word if they have a history of idiotic tendencies.

    Speaking of integrity, or lack thereof, my last rant is dedicated to the pseudo bar owner/restaurateur who was given our time, effort and intellectual capital, and in return used a different, unqualified general contractor at an extraordinarily cheaper price. Of course, we were assured payment for our services, but I will wager you have figured out that he did not get paid. The final lesson – never take someone’s word if they have a history of idiotic tendencies. Wait. I should already know this.

    Let me come full circle and bring this back to where I started. People are making decision today that they wouldn’t necessarily make if the economy were like it was pre-2008. Some of those decisions involve lack of quality, some involve lack of integrity and even worse, some involve criminal acts. We all have choices to make and we all must live with them. In each one of the cases I’ve mentioned, someone is going to jail, someone will no longer work for us and someone will have to live with the loss of a friend. I find comfort in knowing what goes around comes around. I’ve learned that lesson a number of times in my day.

    More importantly, I find comfort in knowing that the people at WPC that I work with everyday continue to pursue excellence in their work and in their decisions. We are not perfect but when we are faced with the choice to do what’s right or what’s wrong, we follow the path that allows us to sleep at night and be proud of who were are.

    So, I digressed a bit. Okay, a lot. But, I feel better and perhaps I’ve challenged you to think.

  7. Time to Stop Bitching (I Mean Whining) About the Past

    June 12, 2012 by Jeff Forrest

    When I sat down to write this blog, I had two titles for it…“Time to Move Forward” or “Time to Stop Bitching About the Past.” I like the second one, but some people have told me to be politically correct.  I’ve never been real keen on political correctness, but I’ll give it a try; and consider this a warning not to read further if you’re easily offended as my “PC” efforts may fall short.

    I’m getting a bit tired of talking about the past and how the economy has changed our world.  The idea that breaking even is a good thing, kind of sucks stinks.  Ok, so we have more money in the bank today than we did in January of 2010.  That’s pretty damn darn good and very few construction companies can boast about that.  In reality, and contrary to rumors that one local GC tried to spread about WPC, we’re stronger financially now than at anytime in the past three years.  If that GC would like to compare balance sheets, please give me a call.

    We can’t change what has happened but we can focus on what we’re going to do. Knowing what we know, we can stop bitching whining about the economy and go out and capture profitable work.

    WPC provides superior quality and service and there are clients–both new and existing–that appreciate that, and are willing to pay for it.  Those clients who are just looking for the absolute lowest price and are willing to treat contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers like a second tier society; and push them to the brink of insolvency so they can get a better deal and put more money in their pockets, aren’t the ones we want to do business with.

    Now that’s not saying that we aren’t competitive, because we are, and our repeat clients know that.  What I’m saying is that we provide a greater value for the dollar and we provide an experience that exceeds our clients expectations.  Very few GC’s provide “it” these days because of two things: 1) They aren’t any good at “it”, and that’s unfortunately a majority of our industry; or 2) They are forced to drive their prices so low that they have to change the way they do business, which in turn, changes the value provided.  The good news is that there are some GC’s that are good at “it” and aren’t willing to sacrifice their core values to scramble for breadcrumbs.  Those are the ones we want to compete against, because that’s who we are.

    So it’s time to stop bitching whining and get back to working hard.  Working hard for those clients that are fair, loyal, perhaps need a little help to make their project viable; and are looking for quality, customer service, a guaranteed good experience, and value. We’re doing business with lots of them right now and 2012 and beyond will be built on those relationships and the way in which we cultivate them.

    Thank you to those clients who have (or will) put their trust in us and appreciate what we do.

  8. It’s Always too Early

    by Jeff Forrest

    I know we’ve all felt it – the pain we feel when we hear of someone passing at an age that is far too young. The reality is, no matter what age we almost always wish for a little more time to say goodbye, I love you or thank you. I was reminded of this the other day when I learned of the passing of J.P. Ottino; he was 57.  J.P.  was a long time WPC supporter and friend. As a client, he put his trust in us for more than 14 years.  As a friend, he always greeted me with an energy and smile that defined him. He was an intelligent, decisive and loyal businessman.  His love for his family and friends was unquestioned; especially the love for his nieces and nephews, one of whom gave a eulogy that will not be forgotten by those of us who were there to hear it.  I can only hope that I am thought of and spoke about in this way when my time comes.

    The following quotes came to mind when I heard of J.P.’s passing:

    “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” -Bob Marley

    “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike

    J.P. affected so many people in a positive way, including those of us here at WPC.

  9. The “It Factor”

    June 10, 2012 by Jeff Forrest

    Does time move faster as you get older, because I can’t believe that it is already May? The first four months of this year have flown by and given all my travels, it’s hard for me to remember very much of it.  My staff has been after me for this month’s blog for weeks so I’m finally taking a deep breath and diving in.

    Suffice it to say, the WPC team has been working harder than ever to stay ahead of the competition by doing that “thing” we do well.  Those efforts have been rewarded with new project starts such as Oakmonte Village at Lake Mary for Royal Senior Care.  This 114 unit assisted living facility adds to the 165 independent living units we completed in 2009, along with the surrounding luxury villa homes.  In addition, we started Serenades by Sonata in Winter Garden, FL. Serenades is a senior living memory care facility and our third negotiated project for Sonata Health Care.  On top of that, we began renovation work for The Berkley Group on a project in Ft.  Lauderdale, FL as well as site work on their Vacation Village at Parkway project in Orlando, FL. Our renovation division started projects for Hilton Grand Vacations, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Marriott International and Starwood Vacation Ownership in Orlando, FL. Thank you to all these clients for putting your trust in us and for appreciating the value we add.

    Speaking of value…at the urging of my new friend Elise Mitchell, I wanted to talk more about some of the things that I think good clients want and need, and how WPC is committed to providing those things.  Elise asked me what I thought the “It Factor” was all about, and what the qualities are in an ideal contractor and true partner for clients? I believe the “It Factor” at WPC is our passion and constant never-ending desire to cultivate and maintain our relationships.  I hear this talked about over and over again by other companies, but very few of them walk the talk.  These relationships include not only our clients, but also our subcontractors, suppliers, consultants, and corporate friends.  To answer Elise’s question directly however, I’ll focus upstream on our clients.

    We all know relationships can be difficult.  They involve people, emotions, trust, mutual respect, integrity, openness, a willingness to admit mistakes, and above all, the ability to deal with adversity.

    So what if you took a construction company and told your employees that there number one job, aside from providing a safe working environment, was to make sure they took care of the relationship with the client. Of course quality, schedule, and finances are all very important and a requirement in business, but if they focused on taking care of that relationship, they would be creating long term success.  Isn’t that what it means to be a true partner? I also think it’s what a client wants and needs.  They want us to care about their needs and their job and in turn we are rewarded with more work.  The “It Factor” at WPC is displayed everyday by the women and men that work hard everyday to build and keep our relationships.

    I know we’re not perfect and there are plenty of occasions where we could have done a better job.  I was recently interviewed for an article and was asked the simple question, “what makes your company different?” Instead of spewing out the usual sales and marketing BS like “we do quality work, on time, and within budget,” which is what every construction company will tell you—I told her, “we’ve been around a long time and made our fair share of mistakes and learned from almost all of them so we’ve got to be different.” She never expected that answer and she asked if I really wanted her put that in the article? I told her that if most people were honest, they’d tell you they weren’t perfect, but that if they apply their lessons learned, they will be better than their competitors. I call that “being a prophet of the obvious,” but then again I think most things are fairly obvious.  I’m just glad that most companies don’t do them because it makes us look better.

    There are plenty of things that go into the the “It Factor” and I’ll continue this conversation over the next few months.

  10. An Early Thanksgiving

    by Jeff Forrest

    2012 has been a hectic year and the third quarter has been nothing short of crazy.  Our estimating and pre-construction team have put in some very late nights for the better part of three months, preparing budgets, estimates and proposals.  The good news is that it has paid off with no less than five contracts and job starts – a refreshing change after a slow start to the year.

    With all this budgeting and estimating, we sometimes get too busy to thank those that help us get the work – the subcontractors and suppliers who bid our jobs.  The acknowledgment and appreciation goes to both those who have the best prices and those who continue to be competitive.  Without every one of you working hard on each project, we would not be successful. We truly appreciate your efforts and they do not go unnoticed.

    The new construction market is showing subtle signs of turning in the right direction. Our recent contracts and upcoming jobs that appear to be headed towards contracts are refilling our backlog, as well as the backlog of our competitors. Thank you to the private investors, banks, RIETS and lenders who are putting their trust in developers and funding these projects.  Although it takes longer to vet out the right deals, without money we wouldn’t be able to stick a shovel in the ground.

    Our appreciation must also be shown to the many design consultants who we’ve worked with on these projects. The desire shown by these architects, civil engineers, MEP engineers, and others who work with us to accurately massage the numbers are so important to the success of the deal.  Today’s market requires a cooperative approach to value alternatives and we’ve been fortunate to realize that cooperation.

    And, without question, we need to thank our clients and developers who have put their trust in us and appreciate the value that we provide. Our goal is always to provide a construction experience that exceeds our client’s expectations and we will work hard everyday to show our gratitude for the work we’ve been given.

    Finally, but certainly not in the least, we thank the WPC staff that fight day-in and day-out, in all departments of the company, to keep the machine running and prove why we’re one of the best contractor’s in the business.