Hungry & Smart in Texas

Commercial general contractor Wyatt Management, headquartered in the Woodlands, Texas, is focused on the restaurant and retail market. The company doubled its revenue in 2018 and continues to grow today. The company is now in the process of opening a third location to re-establish a northern presence to better meet the needs of customers in that region.In the 1990s, company Founder and President Tim Wyatt was working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He had worked for a few different businesses by then and, in every case, found the same thing: the only people who seemed to benefit from the work that those companies were accomplishing were the owners. Workers were promised bonuses that never came, and there was little to no work schedule flexibility.

In 1998, Tim was coaching his daughter’s soccer team. This occasionally conflicted with his work schedule, and he would come in early on those days to ensure that he could finish in time to make the games. He would arrive one hour early – at six o’clock in the morning – to leave the office at four rather than five. When this caused him trouble with his employer, it finally cemented in his mind an idea that had been building for a while. He realized that for a company to truly thrive, it must have a leadership team that respects and values its employees and their family needs.

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Tim understood that a company’s workforce is the primary driver for its success and that empowering employees can enable growth. “I wanted to change things by making a different kind of company. There are three key things: price, speed, and quality. The saying in construction is that you can only have two of three. Our philosophy is that you’ve got to have all three, and the only way you can do that is to have good people. That’s the key ingredient of it all.” Tim left his job and built his company in 1998, and for the first ten years, it flourished with a stable base of clients, many acquired from past relationships.

By 2008, the recession hit and Wyatt Management, like most construction companies at the time, was hit hard. Tim bank-rolled payroll for six months by tapping his line of credit and personal savings, hoping to ride out the storm. Customers like McDonald’s promised work to come, but it never did. Tim was down to a skeleton crew, with only him and his office manager/bookkeeper in the office. He ended up moving to The Woodlands where he had the best shot at finding work.

“The competition was unbelievable,” Tim says. “I went to a pre-bid meeting for some Firestone remodels and there were literally more than a dozen contractors there vying for the business.” Upon meeting new wife, Jeannette, the two set on a mission to rebuild the company through hard work and aggressive marketing efforts.

Today, Wyatt Management has twenty-eight employees at two locations. Its headquarters, which has since moved from Minneapolis to outside of Houston, Texas, employs nineteen people, and a second location in Dallas, employs nine.

Wyatt Management is built not only on the quality of its work-manship but on the principles of its leadership. Tim Wyatt refers to American billionaire investor Ray Dalio as the inspiration for the culture. “He’s one of the most successful investors in the world, and he built his company around what he calls an ‘idea meritocracy.’ Over the last ten years, we’ve been trying to build that type of culture here.”

This business management system enables the best ideas to drive the progress of the company. Under an idea meritocracy, employees feel free to share ideas, and thoughtful disagreement is encouraged, which means that bad ideas can be weeded out. By working to drive the best ideas to the top of the list, Wyatt Management is improving its processes and the value it provides.

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