Keeping a company healthy for the past couple of years has meant sometimes taking a different approach. For the Wm. Winkler Co. and Reed Concrete, both based in Spokane, Wash., this meant joining forces by merging their companies.
“Pete Reed and I have known each other for years,” says Brian Winkler. “I have been a silent partner in his business and we thought the economic times created the synergy to allow us to offer a complete Division 3 package—structural, flatwork, any concrete work. That was a good part of the motivation. We felt there was a growth opportunity. With this downturn, people want to take less risk by hiring one contractor and have less administration and less coordination. Not everyone buys into it but it’s working for us.”
From Pete Reed’s viewpoint the merger made sense in that he would be turning over his company to someone he greatly admired. “Brian and I have been partners in Reed since its inception 11 years ago. He’s quite a bit younger than me and I’m trying to ease out a little bit. Yes, times are tough but Brian Winkler finds a way to deliver value to his clients, to care for his employees, and to support our industry. He has no fear of exploring new technologies but is always vigilant and assures they fit his clients’ needs. He is a true supporter of the industry in every way possible. He is well respected by his employees, his industry, and his community.”
Both Reed and Winkler see great value in participating in their ASCC Mix Group. “We have one of the best mix groups,” says Reed. “That’s something we’ve been real religious about attending—we’re in our sixth or seventh year.” Winkler agrees, calling it “a wonderful blend of people.”
Both Reed and Winkler are committed to the industry. “We’ve got a lot of kids coming out of construction management or engineering programs who can’t find a job in the business,” says Reed. “I’m very concerned we’re losing some of the talent in our industry.” Winkler is doing his part in this regard. “This has been a family owned business since 1919 and I was in the field with my dad from day one,” he says. “And now I have three sons that are doing the same thing, with the oldest being only 14, but they enjoy it. It’s a rewarding business and good work.”