The story of Haselden Construction LLC is one of a family business that maintained its core values during the recession while adopting new strategies and carefully managing risks.
"From the onset of the recession, we were thinking about the recovery and what we could do to make ourselves stronger at the other side," says Byron Haselden, president. He leads the Centennial, Colo.-based company, along with his two older brothers, Ed and Mike, chief executive officer and chief operating officer, respectively. Their father, Jim Haselden, started the business in 1973.
Instead of building its reserves or handing out employee bonuses and raises, the company chose to reinvest its profits. That allowed Haselden to keep most of its people working and avoid the widespread layoffs that plagued other firms.
"We value our people like family, and rather than letting people go during the recession, we looked for ways to keep people paid and working," Byron says.
Haselden's profitability is up but not yet at pre-recession levels, says Troy Schroeder, Haselden's chief financial officer. "It will be a slow climb back up to those levels, but we're starting to see improvements," he says.
The company earned $291 million in revenue in 2012, Schroeder says. That boom year included the start of the five-story, LEED-Gold Union Station North Wing Building in Denver, now the home of IMA Financial, and ongoing work on a $61-million expansion of Aspen Valley Hospital.
Work on the $262-million Anschutz Cancer Pavilion at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora also buoyed the company's bottom line in 2012. Haselden completed the 735,000-sq-ft, 12-story tower in 22 months—beating the owner's expectations by four months. The key to the fast-track schedule was Haselden's extensive use of prefabrication and modular systems and components built at a 50,000-sq-ft warehouse four miles from the construction site.
This year, Haselden anticipates nearly $250 million in revenue after reporting $244.2 million for 2013. Fueling the company's recovery are a number of high-profile projects in Denver, including the 12-story Steele Creek luxury apartment tower in Cherry Creek, scheduled for completion in March. Haselden crews are on target for the year-end completion of the Art, a nine-story, 165-unit boutique hotel in the city's museum district.
With new projects and resort work down in other states, Haselden has shifted its focus closer to home, working mostly along Colorado's Front Range and deeper into Wyoming, where it has opened a second office, this one in Laramie—a decision that seems to be paying off.
The firm's Wyoming work includes an $85.6-million high school in Laramie, scheduled to open in fall 2016; the $26-million, 60,000-sq-ft Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center at the University of Wyoming in Laramie; and the $30-million west patient tower at the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper. This month, the company will finish a $23-million addition to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie.
In addition to upgrading its computer systems and establishing a formal talent development department for training and recruitment, the company has restructured around five divisions: Colorado, Wyoming, health care, education and on-call.
"We recognized the need to have more specialization among people to compete more effectively in our core markets," Byron says. "The divisions also gave us the opportunity to empower our top people with more control and responsibility. To some extent, division managers run their own divisions."
Anticipating the decline in big projects, Haselden established an on-call division in 2008 to take on smaller jobs that may require a quick turnaround, typically anywhere from a week to two months.