Although Detroit-based contractor Walbridge is known as the fourth-largest contractor of automotive facilities in the world – as well as a go-to firm for Detroit automakers – diversity drives much of the firm's work, which ranges from airports, hotels, offices and hospitals to educational, mission-critical, government and waste/waste water facilities.
Projects such as Bell’s Brewery Comstock Campus Expansion in Kalamazoo, Mich., a fast-track project awarded in April, Michigan State University's 500,000-sq-st Special Housing Needs/Spartan Village Redevelopment, an East Lansing-based multi-functional facility awarded in March, and the historic renovation of Detroit's beloved David Whitney Building, a project completed last year, provide a measure of the firm's versatility, as well as its ability to execute complex projects.
One of them, the William G. Milliken State Park and Outdoor Adventure Center, a project involving restoration of Detroit's 120-year-old Globe Trading Company Building, earned the firm an ENR Midwest Best Projects Award in the category of Renovation/Restoration last year. In 2013, Walbridge won in the category of Best Office/Mixed Use Project for its work on the BAE Systems Building in Sterling Heights, Mich.
The firm is on a roll. In 2014 alone, regional revenues increased by nearly 30%. It currently is Michigan's second-largest contractor.
If versatility has emerged as a calling card, common denominators include safety, sustainability and an ability to self perform concrete work, equipment installation and facility management.
In the arena of safety, Walbridge requires all employees and subcontractors to participate in the Management and Unions Serving Together (MUST) safety program. In 2010, it was the first company to receive the Michigan Voluntary Protection Program for Construction (MVPPC) Star Award from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA. It currently boasts more than 12 million hours worked without a lost-time injury.
In support of environmental issues, Walbridge incorporates its GreenWISE (Walbridge Intelligent Sustainability and Environmental) program on all jobsites. GreenWISE identifies 18 on-site environmental practices to reduce a project’s impact on the environment and grades personnel on their ability to execute them. Practices involve temporary wood and formwork, fuels and construction equipment emissions, temporary power generation, waste management and recycling. Last year, the National Association of Business Resources selected Walbridge as winner of a 2014 National Best & Brightest Sustainable Companies Award.
Walbridge also has executed more than 70 LEED certified or registered projects, including the 850,000 Chrysler Trenton Engine South Plant in Trenton, Mich., which achieved LEED Gold certification.
For these and other reasons, ENR's team of regional editors has selected Walbridge as ENR Midwest's Contractor of the Year. Walbridge will be profiled in the July 20 edition of ENR Midwest, which also will include a ranking of the region's largest contractors.