Case Studies

Freedom Specialty Contracting Inc.: An Evolving Family Business

  • Written by: Freedom Specialty Contracting Inc.: An Evolving Family Business
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Freedom Specialty Contracting Inc. (FREEDOM) formed in 2009, in what Randall (Randy) Tufly, founder and president of FREEDOM, refers to as a matter of necessity. “We were all managers of the former Tufly Drywall Company [TDC],” says Randy. “Most of us have between 25 and 30 years of experience, and we started the new business at the worst possible time.”

TDC was one of the largest drywall contractors in the Omaha, Neb., region for years. “Through a number of inefficiencies, including the economy and the banks tightening up, we were basically forced out of business,” Randy details. “With the economy as bad as it was, there were few options. We could go our separate ways and possibly join our competitors or move to other industries. Neither of those choices sat well with us.”

Randy and his team decided to start fresh with a smaller business. “We figured we’d be able to do about 25 percent of the business we were doing before,” he says. “We survived the first year and a half and we were already downsizing. We cut down our overhead to bare bones. In January 2011 everything started to turn around. The economy was getting a little better, and people were beginning to recognize us as a new company.”

Embracing a Comeback

However, Randy and his team were optimistic, which ensured success for the future. “2011 and 2012 were very good years for us,” says Randy. “We do a little of everything, not so much a niche market. We have commercial and residential projects. We do drywall, but we also offer exterior products such as EIFS, stucco and veneer stone. We do acoustical ceiling and steel framing among other things.” Randy’s team’s flexibility has allowed the business to diversify while offering turnkey wall system solutions to clients in a number of sectors.

With around 40 employees and some subcontractors in the residential division, FREEDOM is well-equipped to tackle complex projects. “We have one location here in Omaha, but we work in roughly a 100-mile radius from our office,” Randy notes. “It’s determined case by case, but that’s around where we’re comfortable.”

FREEDOM has been involved in several projects over the last year of varying size. “We’re just completing one of the largest volume projects we’ve had,” says Randy. “It’s our tallest building project at 19 stories. This is a commercial building in the downtown area that used to be the Northern Natural Gas Building. Now it is apartments in which we’re doing all of the steel framing, drywall and acoustical ceilings. It was renovated by NuStyle Development Corporation and is called The Highline Apartments now and it will be opening spring 2013.”

The FREEDOM team has also worked on several smaller jobs, pulling in repeat business from a few chains. “We’ve been working on a few franchises, including new locations for Jimmy’s Egg and Egg & I, and we’ve also worked on remodeling many Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken locations. We’ve done two or three of each over the last few months.”

Other projects the team at FREEDOM is working on include a local senior living facility, Walnut Creek, as well as Natural Grocers in Omaha, additional restaurants and a medical facility, as well.

Looking Forward

FREEDOM is already making waves in the industry, and Randy says the connections his team has made are paying off. “We have a lot of franchise work and rehabilitations,” he explains. “There is a lot of money being pumped in for restoring historical buildings. We take the opportunities as they come along and pounce on the ones that will benefit us. For our company, it’s all about being efficient and bidding the proper jobs under the proper circumstances.”

Relationships are important, and Randy’s team embraces these connections within the company, as well as with customers and strategic partners. “We’re a family business,” he explains. “My wife, Terrie, is the human resources director here. My daughter, Sarah, is the vice president of marketing and administration. My brother, Jim, is the head of our commercial division, and Rich Ridpath leads the exterior products division. Jeff Kovar and my son, Matt, round out the estimating and project management team here at FREEDOM.”

The family vibe extends beyond Randy’s relatives, ensuring that employees, clients, suppliers and subcontractors alike are treated well. Treating people with respect and taking on projects with integrity are key points in the business’ success so far.

With a wide range of abilities and resources, FREEDOM continues to grow. In the near future, FREEDOM may again see a leading position in the local market. The team works hard to offer quality and value to customers through innovative, well-executed solutions to wall systems inside and outside of regional buildings.

Randy’s experience and values make him a natural leader, and he remains focused on delivering cost-effective and durable wall systems. Freedom Specialty Contracting Inc. is a growing force in drywall and exteriors in the Omaha region and will continue to build lasting relationships with customers in a range of industries.

Published on: May 15, 2013

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