Case Studies

Triplett Wellman Construction

Tried and True General Contracting and Construction Management

Since 1982 Triplett Wellman Construction (TWC) has been providing expert construction management, general contracting and design-build services for a variety of clients. The Oregon-based contractor has become a trusted name in the Washington-Oregon market, known for bringing aggressive schedules in on time and on budget. The team delivers high-quality projects to K-12 and higher education clients, as well as health care facilities, religious institutions and commercial buildings.

Trust and Transparency

Ken Triplett and Gene Wellman founded TWC in September 1982, but ownership has since transferred to the second generation. “Steve Duch, Eric Hall and I started buying into TWC about six years ago,” shares Nick Wellman, Gene’s son and co-owner of TWC. “I’ve now been with the company for nearly 15 years.”

Although TWC’s ownership has changed, the company’s reputation remains the same. “Our forte is K-12 school construction and intense summer duration remodels, but what really sets us apart is our transparency,” notes Nick. “We’re an open-book contractor, because our reputation comes into play just as often as our low-bid expertise, and our transparency has weighed heavily into our success as a company.”

As a result, hundreds of schools, medical facilities and private institutions throughout Oregon and southwest Washington trust TWC as the lead general contractor construction manager (GCCM) on jobs. “We develop a high level of trust with owners,” explains Nick. “They’re not only confident that we can bring in a project on time and on budget, but also be open about price.”

TWC is based in Woodburn, Ore., but the company covers a fairly sizable market in the Northwest. “We’ll go anywhere from Eugene, Ore., to Seattle,” notes Nick. “And we currently have about 60 employees.”

Tough Timelines

TWC is an expert when it comes to fast-paced schedules, because the start of the school year doesn’t wait for anyone. “We’ve recently completed about four summer duration remodels all on quick couple-month long schedules,” reveals Nick. “It’s something we’ve always prided ourselves on.”

The company’s largest current school project is in Ridgefield, Wash. “We’re doing a $32.5 million capital improvements job,” shares Nick. “We just broke ground as the GCCM on the job and we’re overseeing all the man power and managing the project.”

The Ridgefield site encompasses four separate projects, including the high school, two elementary schools and a synthetic turf football field and athletic track at the high school. “We’re self-performing a limited amount of work, from demolition at the high school to wood framing and site and structural concrete at the elementary schools,” notes Nick. “Our target date for completion is summer 2014.”

Nick says while TWC competitively bids subcontractor work to give owners the best bang for a buck, the company also performs checks and balances of subcontractors to ensure they’re up to standards. “It’s not a huge market up here, so about nine out of 10 subcontractors are ones we’ve already worked with,” he adds. “And subcontractors know our standards are high, so the questionable ones won’t bid on our jobs. After all, we’re only as good as our subcontractors are.”

Keeping a high standard in mind across the board has allowed the company to amass an impressive portfolio over the years. Therefore, Nick goes on to note that TWC is also in the midst of a tenant improvement job at the International School in Portland, Ore. “They’re a really unique client,” he shares. “The International School is a private institution that focuses on language arts with a diverse group of students.”

Nick notes that the company is satisfied with its current client base. “We like private clients, because they require a little more hand holding and our service can match that,” he continues. “Another great example is Garmin, the GPS research, development and technology company, located in Salem, Ore. They’ve asked us to come back for a second project.”

According to Nick, companies such as Garmin and Intel have kept the Oregon-Washington economy fairly steady. “We’ve got a mini Silicon Valley going out here,” he explains. “Intel has needed over half a billion dollars of work on its campus, so it’s really helped spark the whole industry. We felt the housing bust like the rest of the country, but big industry has made room for more residential work.”

Due to the team’s impressive work, TWC has a number of so-said big-name clients. “The Portland Public Schools also just passed a large bond around $500 million,” continues Nick. “These projects will start surfacing in the fall along with a couple other private institutions and community colleges. We also think there will be opportunity in the medical world as baby boomers get older and need more care. We just hope we’re on the receiving end of all of this.”

Although Nick admits TWC has no aspirations of rapid growth or expansion, he does see the company staying strong into the next couple of years. “We like the comfortable medium-sized GCCM position we currently hold,” he clarifies.

Over the last decade, TWC has been listed in the Oregon Business Magazine as one of the top 150 Oregon private companies and one of the Top 50 contracting companies throughout Oregon and Washington. Triplett Wellman Construction continues to be a driving force in the northwest, delivering projects on tough schedules through honesty and transparency.

Published on: July 9, 2014


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