WEHR Renovated – BLOG
March 5, 2020
Every project in which Wehr is involved is unique in some way. Different projects mean different challenges to overcome to make the project a success. One of the challenges we face on almost every project is scheduling, more specifically the phasing plan of construction. Very rarely do our clients have the ability to vacate an entire area at one time so that all the work can be completed at one time. We pride ourselves in working with our partners to plan these phases well ahead of construction starting to ensure a smooth transition from one phase to the next. We must work around staff, customers, patients, church services, carpool routines, etc. depending on the type of project to get the construction completed. While we understand this is an inconvenience for everyone involved, site logistics often dictate this as a necessity. We strive to minimize the impact as much as possible and we understand that people have to shift around temporarily to complete the scope of work. We call this “Short Term Pain for Long Term Gain.”
For instance, at the recently completed Louisville Regional Airport project, we had well over twenty different phases to complete, each requiring set up, mobilization, placement of temporary barriers, clean up, removal of barriers, and moving to the next area before new phasing begins. We are used to this and our clients understand this process.
What we learned the hard way over the last year is our clients are much better accepting the inconvenience of a multi-phase project than we are at our own office. In 1972, Wehr Constructors moved its headquarters from a small building on Floyd Street in Louisville, KY, to where we are currently located in Jeffersontown, KY. From 1972 to 1999, we had a small, one-story building on Plantside Drive, and in 1999 we built a second-floor addition onto the building because we were busting at the seams with our current staff. If you’ve ever heard the old saying that “the Cobbler’s kids have no shoes” this is what it was like to work in the headquarters building from 1999 to 2019. We decided in late 2018 that it was time we give our building a much-needed facelift.
Much of the first floor had the same 1970’s wallpaper that was here when we originally moved in, complete with two layers of “shag” carpet under an outdated third layer as well. The second floor had gone pretty much untouched since the late nineties when the addition was built. Needless to say, styles have changed a little since then. We have close to forty full-time employees that work out of the Louisville office/Headquarters Building and scheduling and phasing the construction around each one of them made this a monumental challenge. At one point during construction, we had our CEO, COO, as well as their assistant in a construction trailer in the parking lot. We had six to seven project managers working out of a conference room we nicknamed the “collaboration station”. We had people stacked on top of one another for weeks. I moved our CFO four different times into four different offices in order to renovate each room. At one point he even set up a laptop in an abandoned restroom! More of a joke than anything, but it did give us all a good laugh. The employees were great the entire time and we made it through, but let’s just say I have a lot more gray hair now than I did a year ago.
Going through a renovation in our own building made us appreciate even more what the construction process puts our clients through on a daily basis. We renovated every square inch of our nearly 9,000 sqft building and transformed the look of our office building into the twenty-first century. During the renovation, we uncovered hundreds of pictures, drawings, newspaper articles, artifacts and tools no one knew were there. We have saved a lot of those pieces of history to incorporate into a Legacy Wall in our office to honor the last seventy-five years of Wehr Constructors. One of the best parts of the renovation was revealing a piece of artwork that we had made from my Grandfather’s desk, where he worked to build what Wehr is today for over fifty years.
As we move forward toward the next seventy-five years as a company, we reflect and honor the rich history of Wehr, but also, we recognize the need to adapt both our company and our building to the current times. As part of our seventy-five years in business, we are planning on hosting an open house at some point this year where we will invite our friends, family, and clients to come see our renovated office. It is our hope that you will see just how far we have come from the early seventies both as a building and as a company.
We are excited about what lies ahead for Wehr for the next seventy-five years and we are excited to show you our completely renovated headquarters building in 2020. Please keep an eye on our social media platforms for upcoming events as well as project highlights and updates. We hope that you are off to a great start for the new year.
Dale “DJ” Berry, Jr.
President of Louisville Operations
Wehr Constructors, Inc.