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Surviving In A Down Economy

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Four Intermountain firms involved in a variety of construction disciplines have had to reinvent themselves in some manner. Some have seen more dramatic changes than others, yet each firm has worked hard in its own way to adapt to those changes.

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Owyhee Construction, Idaho
Joe McClure is president of Owyhee Construction, an Idaho underground utility company in business since 1977.

McClure says that Owyhee has downsized its equipment fleet as well as field staff from 80 employees to about 25. They have also expanded their work-search area.

“We used to look for work about 100 miles out. Now we are looking 150 to 300 miles out, so the scope of our market has changed,” he says. “The thing is that one job would instantly make us better off for the next six to nine months.”

McClure says that Owyhee had no specific plan for the future, because he can’t predict it. “As things get better we’ll take the work and grow as the work allows,” he adds. 

McClure says that while the worst might be over, things are not getting better. “It’s been the same the last two years. I don’t see any improvement in 2010 or 2011. He predicts the economy will come around but not in the robust way it was six to eight years ago when there was so much work that they had to turn some of it away.

Alan Rindlisbacher

Layton Construction, Utah
Layton Construction is a Utah-based general contractor that employs approximately 650 people with satellite offices from California and Hawaii to Tennessee. They specialize in a wide variety of construction work from educational and correctional institutions to office, health care, tenant improvement, renovation and remodeling.

Alan Rindlisbacher is marketing director for Layton. He says that during these times, Layton has stayed the course and focused on what it does best. “We are going forward and adapting our present model to reach a variety of entities and geographic locations and find the opportunities that are out there. We are encouraging clients that now is a good time to build if they have the resource because the costs now are lower compared to the future.”

Layton is also working closely with the public sector, even though tax revenues are down and everyone is cutting back. In the past year, it has opened offices in California and Tennessee while maintaining efforts in Hawaii and Idaho.

Rindlisbacher says the company is more nimble, progressive, proactive and mobile. “Our Phoenix office is probably struggling the most because of the lack of opportunities, and we actually have some Arizona staff working jobs in California. It creates a personal sacrifice, but if there is nothing in Arizona, a job in California sure beats no job in Arizona,” he says.

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