By Turner Burton, President

What exactly is a company culture? Scroll through any corporate website and you’ll find plenty of references to their culture, values, and philosophy. But for us, our culture is more than just words filling an “About Us” page. This past year, we decided to take a closer look at our culture and find out who we are today — and if it still aligns with the values our founders set in place 80 years ago. We interviewed our employees, listened, and took note of how they saw our company and themselves. It was a very valuable exercise because it showed us that the common denominator between employees from all our offices and divisions is that they not only know our core values, but firmly believe in them.


Our employees’ commitment to our core values — The Golden Rule, family-orientated, stewardship, and the relentless pursuit of improvement — can be seen in the way we treat clients, partners, and the members of the communities where we work. But it’s the relentless pursuit of improvement that really sets us apart as builders. As a company, our mission is to be the most respected and admired company in the industry. It’s a lofty goal, but it stems from our commitment to always strive to be the best and do the right thing for our customers and partners. There’s something to be said for setting a goal that you’ll always be working towards. It fosters hard work, collaboration, and productive effort. If we’re always working to find a better way, then we will always be improving. That effort drives better results for our owners and everyone we work with. Essentially, we’re always working towards something. Always improving. Always in process.


The word process holds a lot of meaning for us. First, we are process-driven builders because we know our time-tested processes work. The processes we’ve developed are the driving force behind our SmartBuildSafety, and Quality Assurance programs. These processes help us focus on the details, so our clients don’t have to. They help us keep everyone on our jobsites safe. And they help us confidently deliver projects that meet our clients’ specific requirements and needs.


The word always is important to us because it’s a constant. Always is a commitment to never stopping, never settling. Every time we build, we will always improve — for all the reasons we described above. We will always find a better way and we will always lead with integrity. That’s part of our promise to clients. We will lead their projects for the entire duration — from the design phase until we turn the building over. Every decision or choice we make will focus on adding value to the project and protecting our client’s investment. We’ll be candid. Always honest. And never afraid to have a tough conversation, especially if it means improving the project or correcting an issue. We will always steward resources. That means we’ll be mindful of our clients’ needs — especially when it comes to their schedule and budget, so we’ll work to eliminate waste wherever and whenever we can.


When we say, “Always in Process,” we mean that we’re committed to improving the construction experience for our clients and the industry as a whole. Throughout our company’s 80-year history, we’ve never settled or been satisfied with the status quo. You might hear “Always in Process” and think that means “Never Finished,” but that depends on your definition of finished. We complete projects. But we’re never finished looking for ways to improve. To us, it’s about never being complacent.

Consider this — construction industry studies show more than 50 percent of time in the field is wasted on unproductive work or activities. That means on any given job, half of the work is wasted. That’s a broken industry. That’s why we’re focused on constantly striving to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. With that much waste, you can’t stop trying to improve and settle for good enough or else you’re just adding to the problem. We recently completed a multifamily tower in Atlanta and by all accounts it was a success — we turned the building over on time, on budget, and our client and their tenants were satisfied. However, our client, design team, and project team still met after the project was over for a “lessons learned” workshop to identity what went right and what we could do better the next time around. That’s “Always in Process.”


We’ve never been ones to rest on our laurels. That commitment to improvement has served us well in times of economic downturn. Our teams were able to adapt and evolve — branching out into new market sectors and strengthening our company in the process. As we celebrate our 80th year in the industry, we want to apply that drive for improvement to help change an industry that, as a whole, hasn’t changed the way it delivers projects in over 50 years. We want to eliminate waste. We want to improve the building process for our clients. We want to inspire the next generation of skilled workers to join the industry. And we’ll do that by staying in process, always.