Insights: East Michigan | Business Spotlight | Fall 2017

Wieland: A fun & innovative construction company

Ideas – and people – thrive in Wieland’s fun, tech-savvy culture

Wieland bicycles
By Jennifer Nelson

Sixty years ago, Don Wieland founded a modest construction company in Michigan. As a traditional construction company and general contractor, Wieland built things that design professionals had created on paper, always focusing on his customers and client satisfaction.

And although the company has evolved over 60 years, and in 2016, rebranded from Wieland-Davco Corp. to simply Wieland, it is still focused on exceeding customers’ needs and expectations, says CEO Rob Krueger.

“We’ve become very good at design-build or turnkey types of construction projects,” says Krueger. “A client says, ‘I want to build a facility, and here’s the vision I have. Can you handle all of it?’”

Under the leadership of Don Wieland’s sons Scott and Craig serving as presidents since the 1980s, Wieland built the last two recycled paper mills in the United States, earning it a reputation as an industry leader in greenspace and recycling.

Today, the ISO 9001-certified construction company coordinates design and construction on projects such as Vista Blue, a 20-story multifamily beachfront luxury condominium in West Palm Beach, Florida; the Grand Cypress Resort, a premier vacation and golf destination in Orlando, Florida; and Gestamp GCH-2, a 270,000-square-foot automotive component manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Wieland employees
Weiland offices and employees in Lansing, Michigan

High energy and optimism

With headquarters in Lansing, Wieland also has regional offices in Shreveport, Louisiana; Orlando; San Diego; Marshall, Texas; and the newest, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

And with its nine-member ownership group and 135 construction managers nationwide, Wieland prides itself on building an energetic, tech-savvy corporate culture that defies traditional industry stereotypes and attracts talented, enthusiastic employees.

“In any industry right now, it’s important to recruit good workers,” says Maureen Devota, Wieland’s CFO. “You need to find people who want to come to work and show up every day and be positive and fun to be around.”

Wieland’s modern offices are designed with fun in mind. The Lansing office provides bikes for employees to use on a nearby bike trail, while the Orlando office has a rock wall and the Shreveport office has ping pong tables. It’s also not unusual to see employees at the LEGO station or working on puzzles during breaks.

Wieland has made a conscious effort to adopt the cool culture popular in California’s tech corridor. Krueger and Devota, who have worked together for 25 years, say they won’t allow the culture to become stale.

“We surround ourselves with high energy and optimism,” Devota says.

The company also borrows ideas from the tech sector to compete, recruit and retain top-notch team members.

“If you want people to really buy in to an idea, let them create the idea, develop the idea and foster the idea,” Krueger says. “They’ll champion the idea to the end.”

Wieland building site workers
Employees at a Weiland job site

Investing in technology

Wieland’s heavy investment in technology empowers its construction managers to work more effectively and efficiently. Founder Don Wieland may have been the first person in the construction business to have a mainframe computer for steel building designs, Krueger says . That computer took up an entire conference room. Today, Wieland continues to lead its industry by working within construction-specific management platforms that give employees complete mobility.

“Our people move quickly and rarely are at desks or workstations for long periods of time,” Krueger says. “More likely, they’re on job sites, en route to job sites or traveling, but they’re always connected.”

Krueger says that those you would traditionally see wearing hard hats and carrying rolls of drawings are instead using iPads to show potential clients in real time how they will more effectively update drawings and solve project conflicts. Wieland construction managers can also send questions to design professionals and owners for nearly immediate feedback.

“The question sends in two minutes and we get an answer in five and a change order in 10,” Devota says.

Meanwhile, the project continues without interruption, helping Wieland meet aggressive deadlines. In addition, the company uses 3D cameras inside construction sites so owners can do virtual walk-throughs of progress without ever visiting the job sites.

“They can be a 1,000 miles away or five miles away and stay involved,” Krueger says.

“If you want people to really buy into an idea, let them create the idea, develop the idea and foster the idea. They’ll champion the idea to the end.” – Rob Krueger, CEO, Wieland

Empowered to succeed

Wieland prides itself on repeat business, which for 60 years has been its foundation for growth.

And while every project has its challenges, the way the company approaches the challenge is what makes it stand out. When an issue arises, Wieland works to quickly solve it to the satisfaction of the entire team, differentiating it from the competition, says CEO Rob Krueger.

And construction project teams are empowered by having real-time problem-solving capabilities.

“You don’t have to have an adversarial relationship between the designer, the contractor and the owner,” Krueger says. “Because of our processes, we can come up with better solutions faster and ultimately deliver greater satisfaction for the client.”

Wieland’s relationship with Huntington also supports its growth strategy, providing the company with a line of credit, excellent customer service and a loan officer with a construction industry background who understands its needs.

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