Welty Building Company Ltd
Henry Welty, a former industrial arts teacher, founded Henry D. Welty Building in 1945 as a high-end homebuilder. In the early days, Henry’s business served clients in Ohio; however, the company has since adapted and therefore, expanded.
Henry D. Welty & Son was later formed in 1969 when Jerry, Henry’s middle son, joined the firm. At that time the company shifted its focus and entered the commercial construction market. Welty Building Company Ltd. (WBC) was established in 1996, when Jerry partnered with Donzell (Don) S. Taylor, current president and CEO.
The company is now thriving as a large, regional commercial builder. With offices in Akron and Cleveland, Ohio, as well as a new location in Columbus, Ohio, WBC has a large and growing geographic footprint.
WBC’s longevity leaves an impression on its own; however, Don explains that what really sets the business apart from other contractors is his team’s ability to excel on difficult, high-profile jobs.
“Failure is not an option for us,” Don explains. “We are constantly working on a tight schedule and a demanding budget. We have 100 people on staff with between 600 and 800 construction workers on our jobs at any given time. Our portion of these contracts is primarily construction management. We couldn’t operate without our trade partners. We don’t necessarily have a set list, but there are three or four strategic partners in each category of work. We perform some trades in-house, such as demolition, carpentry, safety management and cleaning, but everything else we sub out.”
Over the years, the team has completed a number of major complex projects in the region; however, roughly 80 percent of WBC’s work is concentrated in northeast Ohio today. “Our largest project has been the new Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company global headquarters,” says Don. “That was huge.”
The Goodyear global headquarters project included a new seven-story, 639,000-square-foot facility, as well as a five-story, 975,000-square-foot, fully covered parking structure with more than 3,000 parking spaces. Additionally, the project included a renovation to 207,000 square feet within the existing Innovation Center.
The WBC team has performed a number of projects for local health care facilities. WBC’s repeat clients include the Akron Children’s Hospital where the company is currently constructing a new Critical Care Tower utilizing an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD); Ohio’s first true IPD project to utilize an Integrated Form of Agreement (IFOA). In addition, the company has constructed a number of facilities for Summa Health System and the first Health & Wellness Center for the Akron General Health System.
Outside of corporate commercial and health care building, WBC has also been involved in some unique projects. For example, the company constructed InfoCison Stadium and Summa Field, The University of Akron’s on-campus football facility. WBC also just recently completed a major renovation and expansion project for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, commemorating the museum’s 50-year anniversary.
While WBC takes on some of the most challenging projects in the country, Don and his team consider themselves fortunate. “I feel blessed with all of the cool projects we are doing,” Don explains. “We have adopted, and are utilizing, a lean approach throughout the organization, and we are really pushing to drive time and cost out of our projects wherever possible. We can turn around a project in a much more effective and efficient manner than other contractors.”
Don is proud to note that the team is on track to complete an expansion and renovation of The Timken Company’s headquarters and research facility 12 months ahead of the original schedule. “Because of our capabilities, we are leap-frogging the competition,” he details. “We want to be the lead dog. While 2010 was a tough year for us, we have been innovative. We have evolved our sales approach and stepped up our networking. We employ a very professional sales staff and business development department.”
The crew has tightened up internal management and is well-positioned for growth as the economic recovery continues nationwide. More importantly, Don says, “I love what I do. I like being involved in tough projects and using creativity and resources to solve problems. My grandfather did construction, so since I was knee-high, I was encouraged to go into the construction. Even though I was pushed a bit, I love it.”
Although Don loves what he does, he admits the business does draw its flaws. “Our biggest concern is that everyone is safe and taken care of,” he continues. “Of course, we always worry about getting paid. We’re all about two bad decisions away from hanging drywall and this can be a very risky business in more ways than one. Still, we have doubled in size four times since I bought the company. Looking at our market, we have never had so many opportunities. Our biggest issue over the next few years is having some of our staff retire. We will have to work hard at recruiting.”
In 2015 WBC will celebrate 70 years in business. It is evident that the company’s continued commitment to innovation, excellence and safety attracts repeat business and referrals. With a growing portfolio of challenging and complex projects, Welty Building Company Ltd. will have no trouble maintaining continued, organic growth over the years to come.
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