Bayland Buildings Inc.
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Caitlin Mugford
- Estimated reading time: 6 mins
With full backgrounds in the design-build construction format, from sales to project completion, Steve Ambrosius and a partner founded Bayland Buildings Inc. (Bayland). The company was founded in 1991 with a mission to fill a void in northeast Wisconsin’s full service, turnkey, commercial construction market.
Headquartered in Green Bay, Wisc., Bayland’s vision is now realized, as the company is a prominent and key player in Midwest United States’ commercial, industrial and agricultural markets. Built on Ambrosius’ principle values of customer service, value and quality, Bayland successfully retains customers, while growing into new markets regularly.
Ambrosius is still involved with the business as president and CEO today, working with a strong and dedicated team of 200 that is led by Abe Farley, COO of Bayland. Farley has been in the construction industry for some time and with Bayland since 2005. Farley has worked in numerous departments during his tenure and has played a large role in building and maintaining a structure that offers the team more efficient operation and better opportunities for growth.
Through Bayland’s 23 years of success, the company has established a niche in the Midwest, as a leading design-build general contractor serving commercial, industrial and agricultural clients. Employing specialists in the agricultural and commercial field, including architectural, consultant and engineering personnel, Bayland is able to stay at the cutting edge of the markets in which the company competes. Furthermore, Bayland adopted an ESOP program in 2008, giving every continued incentive to excel as a company.
Recently Bayland has expanded its presence in Wisconsin with branches in Milwaukee and Wausau. Set in the heart of the Midwest, the business has worked with processors, growers and manufacturers all over the region, including Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri and even as far away as Arizona and Tennessee.
The company offers turnkey solutions that are economical and efficient. The team self-performs concrete foundation and flat work, as well as steel erection and rough and finish carpentry. The business works with a network of skilled professionals that perform mechanical, excavation, glass and site work, to name a few.
The crew has been involved in a diverse range of projects in recent years. Currently, the company is finishing a project for Thiel Cheese, which proved complex, but manageable for the experienced team.
“When we signed Thiel Cheese, they weren’t sure exactly what they wanted yet,” Farley explains. “We had to be flexible, with the scope changing every day. The unknown up front is what has made this project so rewarding at the end.”
The project for Thiel Cheese consisted of a 30,900-square-foot addition, which includes approximately 11,000 square feet of office space and a 20,000-square-foot processing area. Farley explains that Bayland designed and engineered the building and all of the mechanical and electrical aspects of the project. Thiel Cheese requested a complete turnkey solution; therefore, Bayland also included all the processed piping on the project, as well.
Additionally, Bayland completed a 72,841-square-foot project for a manufacturing facility in Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., which involved a 56,300-square-foot production plant expansion, as well as a 16,541-square-foot, two-story office expansion. The project also included the remodel of the 17,000-square-foot existing office area.
Bayland self-performed structural steel fabrication of the offices, concrete foundations, concrete flatwork, steel erection, rough and finish carpentry, as well as the construction management portion of the contract. Farley notes that the team designed and constructed the expansion with maximum energy efficiency in mind. The projects features include: double-walled foam insulated metal panels, a white PVC insulated roof system, as well as full-sensor LED lighting with integrated light pipe daylight technology.
The company’s other recent work includes a 36,600-square-foot, two-story addition to a retreat campus on Lake Winnebago, a project that has to work around the special needs of an up and running operation.
Additionally, Bayland started a large dairy renovation project for Milk Source in Hudson, Mich. The team also recently completed an extremely complex remodel and addition for Pine Breeze Dairy in Poy Sippi, Wisc. In addition, Bayland’s agricultural specialists have recently been involved in consulting the industry on the latest trends.
Building lasting relationships
A major component in Bayland’s growth over the years has been the team’s ability to develop and maintain strategic partnerships. On a local level, the company works with a network of reliable subcontractors on a repeat basis.
“In Wisconsin, we have a group of professionals that we depend on and trust,” Farley explains. “We certainly enjoy working with repeat subcontractors, but as we grow, we network and grow our pool regionwide. It is vital for us as a growing company to continuously build new relationships and look for ways to better meet the needs of our clients.”
Within Bayland, relationships are equally important. “We take a great deal of pride in the people that work for our company,” Farley continues. “Close to 90 percent of our managers started in the field and then have worked their way up. Everyone is on the same page and ESOP gives our team a larger stake in the business. We don’t have a lot of employee turnover and that speaks volumes for our corporate culture.”
Staying ahead in a changing market
Bayland has remained steady in recent years, despite a challenging economy. “The major issue we run into is finding people who want to do physical labor,” Farley explains. “The pool is decreasing industry wide, and Bayland is taking the steps necessary to train and recruit new employees into our organization.”
Farley goes on to note that two years ago when he took his current role, the company structure had room for improvement and growth. “When I took this position, the first thing Steve and I did was split the company into departments, including field operations, design, purchasing, estimating and others,” he details. “Now we have department leaders and a better structure in our company. It was important for us to gather our employees’ thoughts and opinions to create updated policies. Following these policies has helped us to manage and get through more difficult market conditions.”
However, Farley is quick to note that this adjustment is not micromanagement. “We just know that when people have questions, because they don’t always know everything and neither do I; now everyone knows where to look,” he continues. “Each year we review our own policies so they stay relevant as we grow and technology changes. Again, everyone in the company has input.”
While Farley highlights the team’s work in the industrial and agricultural sectors, the team has been following up on opportunities in other areas, as well. Bayland has been busy with a wide range of commercial projects, including car dealerships, retailers, hotels and restaurants. Bayland is also preparing to expand the company’s geographical footprint, currently examining opportunities in the Central Plains.
Bayland decided to make some strategic moves internally during spring 2013, which included the promotion of Chad Calmes from the project manager department leader role into the vice president. “Chad has really brought a lot of knowledge and experience to the table and plays a very important part in our success,” explains Farley. “In his new role, Calmes oversees human resources, safety and quality; which are extremely important factors if you want to grow and expand in this business.”
With the economy in recovery mode, Bayland is doing even better than ever. “We have been busier during the winter of 2013 and 2014 than we have the past few years,” Farley notes. “Employees at Bayland have stayed busy all winter and Bayland is in the hiring process now. Our customers are pushing for projects to get moving in 2014, and the market looks good for growth.”
With a strong portfolio and a growing backlog of work going into 2014, Farley foresees the business continuing on a path of steady growth. Bayland takes opportunities as they come, allowing for organic expansion both internally and geographically. More important than the numbers, Farley explains, is client satisfaction. This kind of dedication keeps the team competitive, allowing Bayland Buildings Inc. to build lasting relationships with clients.
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