Case Studies

Stone Hill Construction Inc.

Commercial and agricultural contracting in Virginia

A commitment to quality, coupled with more than 100 years of combined experience, has developed Stone Hill Construction Inc. into a leading company in the field of agricultural and commercial construction. Located in Dayton, Virginia, Stone Hill Construction works within a 100-mile radius of the Shenandoah Valley.

Founded in 2004 by brothers Arnold, Wilson and Dennis Wenger, Stone Hill Construction is the result of the Wenger brothers combining their years of experience in the industry to create a company that incorporated their own vision. After being in construction for a majority of their adult lives, the Wenger brothers found themselves working for the same company. “We all realized that the firm we were working for was not going in the direction that we had hoped it would,” says Arnold, president of Stone Hill Construction. “That’s when we put our heads together and decided to start our own company.”

Like many startup companies, Stone Hill Construction comes from humble beginnings. Working out of a home office with all owners active in the field, the company initially began as an exclusive agriculture construction firm. “We built everything on a farm except the upright silo and the house the farmers lived in,” recalls Arnold.

The company continued on this path until the housing market crashed in 2008. With residential builders looking for any type of work they could find, many construction companies turned to the agricultural construction sector, flooding the market. At that time, Stone Hill Construction had approximately 15 employees in the field with a fair amount of overhead. This created the opportunity for smaller crews to underbid Stone Hill Construction. “A lot of people that never competed with us became our competition,” says Arnold. “We then made a concerted decision to incorporate commercial building into our line of services.”

Utilizing expertise

Due to experience in the agricultural world and the type of commercial work it completes, Stone Hill Construction is able to fill a void in the market by combining expertise in both sectors. A prime example of utilizing these skills was exhibited when the company completed extensive renovation work for some of the commercial facilities owned by Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative in Rockingham County. “That project displays how gaining experience in the agricultural market on a smaller scale enables us to cross over to a larger scale in commercial facilities that many big agricultural companies are building,” says Frank Oncken, chief financial officer for Stone Hill Construction.

One of the biggest projects that Stone Hill Construction has completed took place in 2014 and combined both commercial and agricultural aspects. The project involved the construction of the largest rotary dairy parlor in the state of Virginia and was for Stoney Run Farm in McGaheysville. A challenge presented to Stone Hill Construction was the concept of an underground stairwell beneath the rotary parlor allowing the farm’s staff to access different areas of the parlor. “That was really where Arnold’s expertise in concrete came into play,” says Oncken. “The subway stairwell creates easy access to parts of the rotary mechanism that would have been difficult or impossible to reach otherwise.  We also had to pour a circular concrete ring wall that is the base of that rotary.  It was a big challenge, had to be exact and was very specific.”

Stone Hill Construction

Stone Hill Construction completed a project in downtown Harrisonburg that the company feels was a catalyst into the commercial sector. Stone Hill Construction subcontracted with an area developer on a multiuse facility called Urban Exchange. “It’s one of the first metropolitan town-center style buildings in downtown Harrisonburg, in what the city is calling its downtown renaissance,” says Oncken. It’s also one of the first jobs we’ve done that wasn’t agricultural in nature.” The company’s strength in concrete was once again utilized as it performed a majority of the specialty concrete work, which included concrete planters, stairs and ramps.

A passion for the industry

From a childhood that included growing up on a farm and then working in construction as his first job, Arnold says he has been very fortunate to combine two of the things he knows best into a lucrative career. “We still enjoy it,” he adds. “One of the most important aspects of being successful is enjoying what you do.”

The biggest measurement of success for Arnold presents itself in the form of a satisfied customer. “There is no better feeling than at the end of a job to have a customer shake your hand, look you in the eye and tell you how much they appreciate the job you did for them,” he says. “We’re very fortunate to have the people working for us that we do because they all understand that and they take it to heart.”

With Stone Hill Construction Inc. expanding its market share in the commercial sector while maintaining its expertise in the agricultural market, the company will remain a leader in customer service and establishing solid relationships. 

Published on: December 14, 2015

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