The gift of life long relaionships

The Culture of Lifelong Friendships
This morning I had breakfast with Frank Haase, President of B.C. Construction and former President of Ross Construction. We met at Pomme Restaurant on Central Avenue in Clayton as we have for at least ten years and it was Hampton Diner or Schneithorst’s before that.
Frank and I have been meeting for business and friendship since 1984. Before that, we competed against one another on publicly bid work for the city, county or state while I was working at Brunson Construction. During that time while we competed with one another, I was conflicted by the thought “I like this guy. Why can’t we be friends?”. However, since I wanted to beat his company and he wanted to beat mine, we were set up to be enemies.
However, in 1984 when I was growing my team of contractors during the days of Tocco & Associates, Ross Construction was my first choice as a small to medium size General Contractor.
Over breakfast this morning, we discussed the culture of an organization and how his company’s culture is the context from which the employees operate. Frank and I were then, and still are today, driven by long term thinking expressed in the opportunity every day to treat someone in a special way, in a way we would want to be treated.
Frank started his days around 6:00am each morning. Whenever I called him that early, the phone was always answered with a cheerful and friendly “Ross Construction!” If Terry or Liz or Joan answered the phone, I had the experience of calling a friend. Each of them would hand me to Frank with a “How are you doing today?” and many times it was a superintendent or director of field operations answering the phone. When it was, I had the same experience.
When we did projects together, I never had the experience that anything was too much work. Nor did anyone complain that they were too busy.
All of the superintendents knew me by name and, when my wheelchair became an important part of my mode of transportation, they would come to my car so they could assist me in getting in and out of the job site with relative ease.
In recent years, I have had the good fortune to associate myself with Arco Construction. This same culture of treating others the way you would like to be treated started with Jennifer who answers the phone or greets you as you enter the building and seamlessly flows through every part of the organization.
During our weekly meetings with Principia College in Elsa, Illinois, Dave Wilke, the Project Superintendent, knew I would want to see the job before our 8:00am meeting, and without requesting assistance, he was prepared to help me up and down the steps at the entrance to the job trailer. Dave supported me in a way that had me feel special and acted in a way that had it seem effortless.
This morning I ran into Mike Scully, the President of PNC Bank in Clayton, at Pomme’. With great pleasure I introduced him to Frank Haase and Brian Silvestri, the civil engineering intern assisting me this summer. I say with pleasure, because I want good people to know other good people in our relationship-rich community.
Yesterday Brian and I met with Greg Ancel, a Vice President of Construction with the Lawrence Group. And, without prompting, both Greg yesterday, and Frank today, expressed one of the most critical components to success in business (and I say in life). It is the power of consistent, trustworthy relationships. Relationships built upon trust and courtesy and respect for one another.

Posted in Community.