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Team Spotlight – Wayne Witmer

Here at Harman we are privileged to have such a great team of people working for our clients. Once a month we highlight one of our team members so that you can get to know them a little bit better.

Wayne Witmer

This month the spotlight falls on Wayne Witmer – President and COO –    Wayne Witmer has been with Harman Construction for the past 26 years.  He provides day to day support and leadership to the overall teams at Harman Construction as well providing needed resource so that each team has what they need to be effective for each and every client Harman serves.

What have been some of your favorite projects with Harman? Why?

One of my favorites would have to be the various projects for Eastern Mennonite University.  They are an excellent organization to work with from start to finish, which makes for a wonderful and solid partnership through each project we work on together.  Of particular interest for me was the building and completion of the University Commons.

Another project that I really enjoyed was the RMH Cancer Center and Medical Office Building in Harrisonburg.  Not only  was it a large project with an an aggressive schedule, but being able to work and support an organization that is doing so many great things in and for our community has been wonderful.

What have you come to appreciate and value about working with the team at Harman?

Each team member brings strengths to the table.  Those strengths help to balance out the team as a whole.  Here at Harman our people are a wonderful mix of visionaries, dreamers and detailed oriented personalities.  Mixing all those strengths really helps our teams bring the very best to the table for our clients day in and day out.  They are an outstanding group of folks that value team over personal goals and it shows in how well our teams work together here at Harman.

What other life experience have you had that helps you in your job today?

I come from a large family where we had to learn to work together and have a mutual give and take in our relationships, both in day to day life as well as in the family business that has spanned the last 75 years.  My dad is a wonderful role model, teaching us how to treat others, how to be strong in our faith and how to run a strong business together.

Outside your Harman work, what other things do you enjoy in your down-time?

I love being involved in my kids activities and in various roles and connections with my church family.  I also enjoy travel, golf, music, history and Cleveland sports teams.

To read Wayne Witmer’s full bio or to contact him – Click Here

The Association of General Contractors and Why We are Members

I have always told my children to be careful who you hang out with because your peers can be a good influence or a bad one.

This is good advice for all of us and we have followed that advice here at Harman.  Harman Construction Inc. has been a proud member of the Associated General Contractors of Virginia (AGCVA) for nearly 30 years.

The (AGC) is the leading association for the construction industry. AGC represents more than 26,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC, all through a nationwide network of chapters.

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We believe the AGC makes us stronger in many ways:

  1. Networking – The ability to network with and learn from the best of the construction industry keeps us sharp and gives us a resource to bounce strategies and ideas off of.
  2. Training – Top rate instructional seminars and workshops are scheduled to keep our team up to date on trends in the industry and to give us tools to do our jobs better.
  3. Advocacy – together we can make our voice heard at the national and state level of government.  Laws are often made by well meaning (sometimes) politicians who simply do not understand the issues that we face in our industry.  It is critical that we do our part to support our industry and make our voice heard.
  4. Workforce development – Finding well qualified workers for the construction industry is likely the greatest challenge we face.  As our workforce has aged we have found that younger workers are often not choosing our industry.  The AGC is working tirelessly to get the word out and train our future workforce.  Often middle school and high school students are encouraged to go to college even when it may not be the right fit for the student.  There are many well-paying and rewarding careers in construction that require a college degree and many that do not.  Working with the AGC we can match these young people with a construction career that is right for them.
  5. Service – AGC members give back to their communities through charity and service projects.  The local Valley chapter has sponsored a blood drive in recent years that has contributed on average of 75-100 units of blood each year.

The friendships I have made in my years of serving the AGC in various roles have been fantastic and have made me a better person and professional.

I would encourage each of you to get engaged with and contribute to the associations and peer groups in your work place or areas of interest.  You will be part of making a difference in people lives and contributing to the building of better places to live and work.

~Wayne Witmer

President & COO – Harman Construction, Inc.

Client Spotlight: W. O. Grubb Crane Rental

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Recently Wayne Witmer and Brian Mininger had the opportunity to return to Grubb Crane Rental in Winchester to take a look at the finished facility that Harman built a few years ago for this growing company.  It was a great oppourtunity to learn more about the work of Grubb Crane Rental and find out just what had drawn them to Harman Construction when they were deciding to build their new facility.

Before taking a tour of the facility Wayne and Brian sat down with Scott McDougle – Vice President of Sales – Business Development – and talked about the history of Grubb, it’s ongoing values and priorities and their experience working with Harman in their most recent build.

Here is a transcript of that conversation.

Tell us about the history of Grubb Crane Rental?

WO Grubb Crane Rental was started in 1962 by Willy Grubb.  The company grew over a long period of time through the perseverance and dedication of the Grubb family.  In 1984, Willy’s son Bill purchased the business from his father with a dream and vision to grow the company even bigger than it’s than 15 cranes.  That vision has become a reality with the company growing from 1 branch, with 15 cranes, to now running 8 branches with 200 cranes.

What values are important to Grubb Crane Rental?

People are the heartbeat of our business.  Everyone from our team members to our clients are important.  Safety is also a high priority here at Grubb.  We want to create a safe culture for our employees and our clients.  By valuing people and valuing safety we feel our team members are invested in Grubb Crane Rental because they know we care.

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What was happening in business that you decided to expand to Winchester, Virginia?

Our goal is to get into areas that can use our services and be impacted in a greater way by them.  With the expansion of the power companies, expanding to Winchester would allow us to be available to the power companies and the wind farms going up in the area.  We were also able to hire good people with great talent to help get this branch off the ground and up and running successfully. Honestly, it always comes back to the people and we have some great ones working for us.

Top Priorities for Grubb when looking for a contractor?

Without a shadow of a doubt, Communication was the #1 priority to us.  We needed a company that would, and could, communicate well from beginning to end.  We saw that quality in Harman, which helped in our decision making process.  In fact, Harman went above and beyond in communicating with us, which adds incredible value to the ongoing relationship.

Why Harman?

Besides communication, relationship is really important to us too.  We already had a good relationship with Harman from the past and we appreciated the fact that relationship is also important to Harman.  Harman really takes a partnership approach, displays a great level of professionalism and gives great attention to detail.

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What was your experience with the Design/Build Process?

The design/build process was important to us because it allowed us to sit down and really see the project from start to finish, from the layout to the aesthetics, before we even broke ground.  We could see the process laid out in front of us through the 3D renderings and make changes without having to bring in an expensive architect.  Because of the design/build process we only had a few areas that needed tweaking, which allowed the project to move forward without getting hung up over and over again.

Why is the look of the building so important to Grubb?

Image is important and it helps convey who we are.  We are proud of what this company has become and we feel it’s important to present ourselves well to our clients.   We also feel it instills a sense that we value our customers.  If we take such great care with our facility and our equipment it sends the message to our customers that we value them and we will give the same attention to detail and care that we give to our own staff and facility.

Our motto has always been “We always want to be invited back.”  Taking time to care about the details, about our customers and their projects, hopefully conveys that message.  Honestly, we want to be the best in class.

To see photos of the project check out the Grubb album Here.

 

It’s All About The People

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How would you describe the impact of being around really great people?

In today’s fast paced world the culture and business community are moving full speed toward communication almost exclusively through social media, email, and text. While this may create efficiency, it removes the joy of relating to people face-to-face. I believe that relating face-to-face allows us to leave a greater, more positive impact on people’s lives than social media sometimes allows.

As I think about the many great companies and organizations in the Shenandoah Valley I realize that what draws me in are the people in our local businesses and organizations. However, it’s not just about the business, but how my fellow entrepreneurs handle their business.

In the same way I am excited about the team of people we are building at Harman Construction!  Over the years many people have commented on the quality and character of our people. It really doesn’t matter how great a service you have if you don’t have the team of people to carry out the mission and vision of the organization.

In the same respect, I have had some wonderful experiences with sales representatives that genuinely care about me, our business, and our mutual benefit. They want to discover what we need and how they can help.

On the other hand there are those times someone calls you buddy and yet doesn’t really know you. I have even had one representative tell me an inappropriate joke….really?

Take a minute to ponder some of the qualities that you appreciate in the people you do business with or work alongside? 

Here are a few qualities I look for when working with others:

  • Can I trust them to follow through with commitments they have made?
  • Do they seem to bluff their way through an answer and skim over important details? I love when someone can answer a question by honestly saying, “I don’t know the answer, but I will research it and get back to you.”  Then do they follow through and get back to you without having to be reminded.
  • In conversation, do they talk more about themselves or do they listen and ask questions about you?
  • Do they speak highly of others and look for the best in people and situations?
  • Are they willing to speak the truth even if it is not what you want to hear?
  • Do they give of their time to help others in the community?
  • How do they handle criticism?

We don’t always live up to these standards, but I am confident that as we focus on doing these things well, we will grow as people and as a company.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and jot down what you like to see in the people that you interact with and ask yourself: what do others experience when they interact with me?

Let’s keep focused on leaving a positive impact on the people we encounter and our businesses and community will be a better place.

-Wayne