Wadman Corp.

Wadman’s family culture ensures employees and clients are treated well. Treating every employee like family has been a significant part of Wadman Corp.’s culture since its inception in 1951. This strong family culture is reflected in Wadman Corp.’s mission statement and core values. These values translate into delivering the highest quality projects and excellent customer care and service.

“There is still a strong family oriented feel to the culture even though there are not many family members left here,” says Keith Buswell, vice president of business development. “Our mission statement, which is based on our core values, reflects our commitment to the success of our clients and our people. Those core values are trust, honesty and commitment. Our aspirations are not to be the biggest general contractor, but definitely the best.”

Wadman Corp. was founded by V. Jay Wadman, who learned about the construction business from his father, Ben. Ben owned a small company during the Great Depression and through World War II. He earned the nickname “Honest Ben” for his commitment to delivering a quality job on a handshake. Jay Wadman used the good business practices and principles he learned from his father as he started his own firm.

Jay Wadman started his own company in 1951 after completing a tour with the U.S. Navy. He took on small remodeling jobs, repair work and a few small projects for Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

Just as Jay Wadman learned from his father, V. Jay’s sons learned from their father as they grew up around and worked for the business. In 1984, Jay’s son David was named president of Wadman Corp. David continues to emphasize the principles carried down from his grandfather in creating and maintaining good relationships with clients. During the 1980s, the company grew to cover the 11 western states.

David Wadman now serves as the CEO of Wadman Corp. Today, the organization’s clients includes major national retail clients such as Walmart, resort developers, healthcare owners and providers, governmental agencies from local municipalities to federal projects, educators including K-12 and higher education, multi-unit residential developers, travel centers, hotels, restaurants, churches, libraries, correctional facilities, financial institutions and grocery stores.

“Our goal, like any company, is to maintain profitability and maintain a positive culture for our people to work in,” Buswell says. “It all boils down to working hard. We also play hard. All of our employees are involved in the many recreational activities available to us in Utah. We also give back to society with company service projects and many of our employees volunteer in the community or as board members on various industry associations.”

New Realities

Like most construction companies, Wadman Corp. has had to adapt to the new economy created by the recession. The company made a concerted effort to retain those key employees that made them a success. This is part of the “family” culture of the company.

“In slow times, construction industry superintendents often are hired and fired by project,” Buswell states. “Wadman Corporation worked really hard to keep people employed and busy even in the slow times.”
As an example, Wadman Corp. delivered a new project in Williston, N.D. To better manage the harsh winter conditions, the company assigned several superintendents to the site to help pour concrete in temperatures that reached 17 below zero.

“We knew we could perform the job with our typical subcontractors and typical staff, but we wanted to keep our best people gainfully employed,” Buswell states.

Not only are they still employed by Wadman, the company continues to invest in its people through training and initiatives. As an example, to stay on top of customer requirements and desires for sustainable and green projects, the company has had more than 12 of its employees attend LEED training to become LEED-accredited. All of Wadman’s project managers are LEED green associates and a handful of the preconstruction staff are LEED-accredited professionals with more on the way.

Wadman Corp. also holds annual leadership conferences that are attended by its field superintendents and corporate office staff. These conferences provide management training, opportunities for team building and oppor­tunities to give back to the community with a company service project.

Public Building

One result of the current economy is a shift from private work to publicly funded jobs. “Wadman Corporation still maintains our relationships with private sector clients,” Buswell states. “We pride ourselves on the fact that much of past business comes from repeat or referred business from private sector clients. However, we are finding that much of the work we are getting right now is in the public sector.”

Wadman Corp. completed the expansion of the Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming in 2010. As the general contractor, Wadman Corp. doubled the size of the existing airport and performed major upgrades throughout the existing portion. Wadman did all of this while keeping the airport 100 percent operational during construction. There were no delays or complaints from airport customers due to construction. The five-phase project construction cost was nearly $20 million. The company broke ground during the summer of 2009, and the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in December 2010.

Wadman Corp. also is the general contractor for a $16 million project at the Idaho National Laboratory project near Idaho Falls. This facility serves as the U.S. Department of Energy’s lead nuclear power lab. Wadman joined forces with architects Architectural Nexus on the design/build project. The joint venture was selected through a prequalification process.

In the education sector, Wadman Corp. delivered South Ogden Junior High School for Weber School District as a cost of $17 million. Buswell says the company was awarded the project by offering a bid that was $10 million less that the funding amount allotted for the project. After breaking ground in spring 2009, Wadman Corp. completed the school in time for the start of the 2010-2011 school year.

“In a distressed market, we were competitive with other quality general contractors,” Buswell says. “We were fortunate because construction cost at that time had come down, so it was a very competitive time to bid and build a school. We did not sacrifice anything in terms of quality or timeliness. Weber School District got a great building at a great value.”

Wadman Corp.’s commitment to its employees, customers and quality has propelled them to success in the last 60 years. As this commitment and philosophy is carried forward, Wadman will remain a success in the industry for a long time to come.

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