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Jerry Hackleman, senior vice president; Randall Ganz, president and CEO; and Martin McGehee, CFO
Jerry Hackleman, senior vice president; Randall Ganz, president and CEO; and Martin McGehee, CFO

2013 Dynamic Dozen No. 2: DeWitt & Associates Inc.

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Moving forward with the economic crisis in their rear-view mirror, DeWitt & Associates Inc. President and CEO Randall Ganz has the wisdom of hindsight, and the battle scars to prove it.

After a string of Springfield Business Journal Dynamic Dozen awards in the mid-2000s, DeWitt fell victim to the recession’s plummeting revenues “just like everybody else,” Ganz says.

They were prepared for a slow-down, but “not for the whole thing to go off the cliff.” The challenges were many, and the then-50-year-old company had to make some difficult choices. “We chose our people,” he says of the general contracting company’s 28 employed project managers, estimators, field operators, and accounting and administrative staff. “Our level of experience and service take a long time and monetary investment to develop. We bet on making it through the crisis intact and retaining those capabilities.”

Despite the challenges, the company was largely able to maintain both long-term profitability and personnel.

DeWitt remained in the black every year but 2010, when revenues plummeted 50 percent. Across-the-board pay kept afloat, and Ganz is able to say with pride that DeWitt is one of the few construction companies in the area, and perhaps the region, that has not laid off a single employee since the recession hit.

The first real sign of local recovery came in summer 2011, when DeWitt picked up six of the seven projects in Missouri State University’s sweeping residential life renovation. Faced with the challenge of completing $12 million worth of work in just 13 weeks, the company returned to past form, among the group earning 2011 Project Team of the Year for the project and Superintendent of the Year at the annual Salute to Construction industry awards.

That long-standing relationship continued to bolster their recovery in 2012, with the completion of MSU’s $30 million Foster Recreation Center. Ganz says the university needed the 100,000-square-foot facility to be “a game-changer,” a potential tipping point for students deciding between MSU and other institutions. It was a complex architectural challenge, blending steel, glass, stone and metal panels, all coming together so as to stand out.

MSU Architect and Director of Planning, Design & Construction Doug Sampson has worked closely with DeWitt over the years, and says they share an organizational familiarity.

“DeWitt brings a high level of responsiveness to each project,” he says. “They operate very well within our organization, knowing where to ask questions and who to talk to get the right answers.”

Ganz said despite the unique nature of the project, as requested, the project ran smoothly.

“Every aspect of the project might not have been the most practical, from a construction standpoint,” Ganz says, “But everything was on purpose – well-thought-out and designed to make a statement. You don’t get to build them like that very often.”

The project drew the expected notice, again garnering awards for Project Team of the Year and Superintendent of the Year. DeWitt also was recognized in 2012 for its work on the Greene County Public Safety Center, which garnered Developer of the Year for the county.

While such awards are harbingers of quality work, Ganz says they underscore a company culture that places the highest emphasis on integrity.

“We’ve stayed true to ourselves, our people and our business practices. We just had to find new opportunities to deliver the quality of work that we know how to do.”

Expansion areas include southeast Kansas and northwest Arkansas, helping DeWitt’s 2012 revenue rebound to more than $68 million – an 87 percent increase since  a $36 million low in 2010.

DeWitt’s latest projects include an 80,000-square-foot hospital expansion with fellow Dynamic Dozen honoree Citizens Memorial Healthcare.[[In-content Ad]]


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