Q & A with Dale Hedrick, president of Hedrick Brothers Construction
by Boardroom Brief Staff on March 18, 2011
1. As a 4th generation general contractor and the president of Hedrick Brothers Construction, a privately-owned general contracting and construction management company headquartered in West Palm Beach, you have been providing services from Broward through Palm Beach, Martin & St. Lucie Counties for decades. Celebrating the 32nd anniversary of Hedrick Brothers Construction in January of this year, you have weathered many storms literally and figuratively. What key leadership principals can you credit for your enduring success?
Trust: There must be a track record of trust you have demonstrated in your personal and business activities. Your employees must trust you, they must feel safe around you, knowing if they work hard and give their personal best they will be recognized and rewarded. Your clients must know that you will be fair and give them the best value and quality product for their trust in giving their business to you. Nobody likes surprises. You need to eliminate them as much as possible by being transparent and fulfilling expectations.
Social Contract: Each member of the Hedrick Brothers Construction team signs the Social Contract upon employment. The Social Contract commits our team members to creating and maintaining an atmosphere of trust and encouragement, ensuring healthy relationships, and continuing to build a high performance company. This “contract” ensures a culture of trust and accountability and a means by which our team agrees to work with each other.
Strategic Planning: All team members contribute to and are responsible for fulfilling established strategic plans by incorporating the company’s vision, mission, brand promise, goals and initiatives, which are reviewed on a quarterly, annual and multi-year time line.
2. During the past few years riding the peaks and valleys in the real estate market, we have seen some well-managed construction businesses become overly aggressive and not survive and poorly managed businesses succumb, as well. Yet you have created opportunity from adversity while receiving numerous awards along the way including the South Florida Business Journal’s Palm Beach Ultimate CEO Award in 2010, the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County Distinguished Alumni Business honoree award in 2010 and the South Florida Business Journalnamed your company as a finalist for Best Places to Work in 2011. Do you feel as a result of the economy and the reset in the industry, Hedrick Brothers Construction is now even more successful and sustainable?
It is a challenge to be as diverse as we are, but that is what has made us successful in difficult times. My Grandfather told me if it can be drawn he could build it. I feel the same way. Our success comes because we have been able to use the selective synergies of diverse market requirements and use them to our advantage. The fact is, when you put numerous construction professionals on a team, as we have, there are incredible strengths that can be harnessed, especially when there is an openness to share the lessons each person has learned over their career.
3. While there are positive signs of economic improvement in 2011, the construction industry struggles to recover as unemployment in this sector continues to climb. Are you more or less hopeful than last year? In what areas are you beginning to see an uptick in activity? Is now the ideal time to build?
We are seeing more activity in the last few months. We have a healthy pipeline of good projects. Many professionals recognize this is a great time to build. The problem is, for the last three years, few people made any decisions, so the backlog has been greatly reduced. The length of time to go through the regulatory and permitting process is the greatest hindrance to future economic growth.
4. Hedrick Brothers Construction has made a firm commitment to the environment by partnering with clients to meet government, community and financing requirements for LEED Certified and sustainable building. Can you share a few of the award winning projects you have helped to build in the South Florida area and what are some of new initiatives we will see in the area of sustainable building in the near future?
Sustainable construction rewards businesses with a healthier workspace, energy efficiency, minimal environmental impact and cost savings. Hedrick Brothers Construction supports and implements practices which increase the efficiency of a building’s use of energy, water and recycled materials through design, construction, operation and maintenance. A positive initiative for building owners and developers is the federal Energy Policy Act which established a tax deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings applicable to qualifying systems and buildings placed in service, which has been extended through December 2013.
A few of our “green” certified buildings include:
Northboro Elementary School, West Palm Beach, Florida, achieved LEED Gold certification under the LEED for Schools category. This $26 million modernization and restoration was completed in August 2010 for the School District of Palm Beach County.
EcoPlex at Centrepark West, West Palm Beach, achieved LEED Gold certification under the LEED for Core and Shell rating system. This 100,000 square foot office building with five-level parking garage was completed in August 2008 for Navarro Lowrey, Inc.
Palm Healthcare Pavilion, West Palm Beach, achieved LEED certification to the Silver level in the category of LEED for New Construction. A state-of-the-art $3.5 million project for children with special healthcare needs completed in May 2008, The Palm Healthcare Pavilion, home of the Mollie Wilmot Children’s Center is also the first healthcare facility and the first medical office building in Florida to be awarded this certification.
Palm Beach State College Technical Education Center, Belle Glade, will receive LEED Platinum certification under LEED for New Construction version 2.2. The new, two-story, 33,982 square foot project is the first building constructed entirely to LEED standards for the College.
5. As an expert craftsmen with exceptional reputations in the marketplace, Hedrick Brothers construction has the incomparable expertise required for complex historical restorations and renovations. As a result, you have been tapped for many high profile projects including the 1916 Palm Beach County Historic Courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach, the Harriet Himmel Theatre at CityPlace and Palm Beach Town Hall. What essential knowledge and unique skills are needed in executing historically appropriate restorations?
One of the most exciting elements about restoration is that while working on the buildings you will find the quality and standards of the original craftsmen and tradesmen. Once you understand how they did the work, you now have the opportunity to achieve the original intent using new materials that most of the time are better than the original. The buildings tell you so much about the time period and the tradesmen working there. For a historic restoration, all of the pieces need to be put back the way it was originally built. A good team is also needed: architect, owner and contractor. Collaborating at the beginning of a project and setting restoration guidelines throughout the building and property before the architect begins drawings can fulfill the expectations of the owner. We work with the owner with setting these historic restoration guidelines.
6. As the father of three sons, your civic leadership and charitable contributions focus largely on education including support for the University of Florida Foundation, where you are a graduate of the Rinker School of Building Construction; the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County; Palm Beach State College Foundation; the South Florida Science Museum and The King’s Academy. Is it important to you that the state of Florida develop its educational opportunities for our children? Why?
If you want to lift a family out of poverty, you educate them. If you want to lift a child out of poverty, you educate them. Education is hard work. The best education occurs where the best leadership exists. We need to reward teachers for the quality of their work. Skill sets are important but more important is attitude and work ethic. Those are modeled by example and mentorship, and I truly believe that you reap what you sow.
About Dale Hedrick
Dale Hedrick is the president of Hedrick Brothers Construction. A fourth generation general contractor active in Palm Beach County since 1979, Dale has been instrumental in building and maintaining the company’s reputation for performing quality construction and conducting business with integrity.
Dale is a graduate of the University of Florida School of Building Construction, College of Architecture, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Building and Construction. His dedication to continued professional development is demonstrated by serving on the board of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, as a board member and past president of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) Florida East Coast Chapter, past president of the State Council of the AGC, on the Executive Council of the University of Florida Rinker School of Building Construction, and Board Member of the South Florida Science Museum.
In the community, Hedrick and his company have supported the University of Florida Foundation, Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach State College Foundation, the South Florida Science Museum, Gulf Stream Council Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, Steering Committee of the Gathering of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach Atlantic University, and The King’s Academy.
Awards include: The South Florida Business Journal Palm Beach Ultimate CEO Award 2010, Sun Sentinel Excalibur Award for Small Business Person of the Year 2008, FCCI Florida Safety Award for Outstanding Safety Record 2008, Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Award 2001 and 2008, AGC Build Florida Awards 2000-2009, AIA Builder of the Year 2001 and 2007, and Palm Beach Atlantic University American Free Enterprise Companion Medal in 2001. Hedrick Brothers Construction projects have been featured in Architectural Digest and Florida Design.