Innovative History Creates Path for Bright Times Ahead
Weifield Group Contracting, LLC
A national leader in cutting-edge electrical construction, Denver-based Weifield Group Contracting prides itself on the considerable experience and professionalism of its employees and the company’s in-depth knowledge of the latest innovations in their field. As a force behind some of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, Weifield takes on a range of award-winning buildings within numerous industries. The company specializes in energy-efficient solutions including LED lighting and controls, solar and special systems, LEED buildings, and a great deal more.
As technology and new construction methods evolve, contractors working on new projects or retrofitting existing spaces have to keep pace with the latest innovations. One of the biggest changes is in the scope of electrical services. Years ago, electricians dealt with power and typical systems; today, there are numerous subsystems that see electrical companies taking the lead, such as fire alarms, voice and data, security, and lightning protection. Additionally, with an increased focus on environmental initiatives and cost-savings through improved efficiencies, electrical firms need to be highly skilled in many areas and understand energy modeling. Companies must also keep up with the latest innovations, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), and pass this information on to clients to better inform them of their choices.
Weifield Group was founded in 2002 and was the first electrical contractor in its region to design and build NetZero energy projects and complete Colorado’s first LEED Platinum project. Its unwavering commitment to its customers and the completion of work on-time and within budget has resulted in Weifield Group becoming one of the top ten electrical contractors in Colorado. This has resulted in an amazing accomplishment – nearly all of Weifield’s clients become repeat customers.
Whether it is installing miles of medium-voltage cable or taking on the responsibility for the design-build of the largest dynamometer testing facility in the world, Weifield has built on its innovative history and continues its mission of providing high-quality electrical services while educating clients about the many ways they can lower costs today and into the future.
Weifield works directly with manufacturers, suppliers, and associations to keep abreast of the latest industry developments in LED, virtual design and energy modeling, and other rapidly changing areas. The company’s staffs of about 250 apprentices, journeymen and master electricians, project managers, and estimators combine a number of skill sets. Data center experts, former military officers, engineers, specialists in building information modeling (BIM), CAD designers, prefabrication experts, fire alarm specialists, and others with diverse business and technical skills all work together on a wide array of projects – from design-assist to design-build.
Starting Lean = Good for Business
Formed in 2001 by Nugent and three other partners, James Selecky, Pete Farreny and Seth Anderson – a group including two master electricians – Weifield Group Contracting serves as a model of what a well-structured and carefully planned electrical construction company should be. By establishing solid systems and processes at the inception, Weifield defined its markets and capabilities early on and never looked back. All of its markets present prime opportunities for energy efficiency and include construction (typically new buildings), specialty projects (renovations / improvements), service and maintenance (smaller projects or 24/7 emergency services), and industrial / wastewater projects.
Part of Weifield’s ongoing success and growth comes from its origins. Forming the private company in a time of adversity after the tragedies of 9/11 was actually beneficial, as it solidified the owners’ mindset of doing more with less. They started with no relationships and a grass-roots effort to survive.
“It was a good decision for us and a unique time to start because we got together in a bad economy,” comments Nugent. “Because we started in a lean economy, we knew specifically where we had to be in production rates and what we needed to do to be healthy and alive.” In time, the company grew from just the core group to hiring journeymen electricians, estimators, project managers and others. The focus has always been on having quality people and a culture that promotes innovation, collaboration and career opportunities.
Richly Diverse Project Portfolio
The company has successfully taken on a diverse range of projects including: higher education institutions, K-12 schools, office buildings, industrial, infrastructure and waste water, retail and mixed-use developments, data centers and technical buildings, government buildings, medical facilities and laboratories, hotels and apartments, as well as LEED and NetZero energy-efficient and solar projects. Not being tied into just one or two sectors has helped make the company more adaptable and flexible.
Weifield continues to grow year-over-year and reinvest profits back into the company, adding technology, new people, and maintaining a solid focus on training. As a result, the business is not only economically viable, but has fostered a team of highly-skilled employees with a can-do attitude.
At Weifield Group Contracting, the company believes in doing what is best for all its customers. The company is committed to high-quality workmanship and installation, safety from start to finish, sustainability practices, lean construction methods, strictly adhering to schedules and budgets, eliminating waste, and remaining as cost-effective as possible.
Weifield Group has an emphasis on not only working closely with customers, but informing them about their best possible options from a number of perspectives. The company is backed by considerable expert credentials including the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) & LEED Accredited Professionals, the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA), Associated General Contractors (AGC), and the Colorado Electrical Board.
Leading Technologies Adding Value
Through the use of on-screen take-off, virtual design, BIM and Trimble technologies, Weifield collaboratively designs and identifies potential obstacles or challenges well in advance. Precisely-calculated layouts are then generated into 3-D CAD modeling, as the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) team meets with fire protection experts to ensure any potential conflicts are eliminated. From material lists and prefabrication to timelines for layouts, preconstruction, project managing, field supervision, detailed scheduling, quality control programs, identifying job hazards, and much more, Weifield is able to handle projects of any size with the same degree of professionalism and commitment to excellence.
Its many years of experience and in-depth knowledge of both traditional and new technologies makes Weifield perfectly suited to work on both new projects and retrofits, many in the multi-million-dollar range.
“We always say that we don’t want to be bleeding-edge technology but cutting-edge technology,” says Seth Anderson, chief executive officer at Weifield Group Contracting, LLC. “We want to make smart, innovative decisions about the technologies and capabilities that can bring the most value to our clients without being lured by the latest technologies that aren’t a substantial value-add.”
“LEEDING” the Way in Energy-Efficient Electrical Construction
From its inception, the company has maintained a focus on designing and constructing projects with an eye on sustainability. The company is a member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and its portfolio – including silver, gold, and platinum LEED certified works – demonstrate its close work with clients on projects which save both energy and money. One of the company’s most successful works remains the completion of a net-zero energy project for the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Lab, which remains to this day one of the most energy efficient commercial buildings in the world.
Well-known today, LEED – leadership in energy and environmental design, which recognizes best in class green building strategies and practices – was in its infancy when Weifield was formed. Even then, the company wanted to be a leader, which required not only superior knowledge of energy model data, but looking at other areas of buildings, including mechanical and plumbing. Realizing that structures are an investment for clients, the company continues to look at costs today and into the future, as it plans expenses for ongoing maintenance.
Weifield has had an increasing focus on LEED work. The company worked on the Signature Centre at Denver West, located in Golden, Colorado. The Signature Centre saw the company work on the core and shell of the five-storey, 279,506 square foot structure and all three garage levels, taking on control systems, fire alarms, CCTV, lighting, and the rough-in for security. The building was the first LEED Platinum office building constructed in Colorado.
Based on the success of this project, the company was then awarded another job at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), also in Golden, Colorado. A select team was assembled by the general contractor and architect to bid on the new net-zero project. With the goal of making one of most energy-efficient buildings that they could, the team set about creating a structure that could be used as a prototype so other industries could learn best practices.
Built between January 2009 and June 2010, the 220,000 square-foot Research Support Facility (RSF) – a research facility with a data center located on the NREL campus – presented a number of unique challenges, namely incredibly strict zero energy requirements set forth by the Department of Energy. The company was responsible for not only adhering to budget, but for designing and constructing an aggressive performance energy model of 35 kBTUs per square foot.
“We provided power and control for four hundred windows, utilized for natural ventilation along with raised floor technology,” says Weifield. “Our BIM team worked with the design team to avoid clashes and ensure maximum productivity despite the highly complex special systems.
“Absolutely no energy consumption was left to chance. Even how many watts used by telephones and computers were calculated and measured. We created four different zones in our lighting control system and created lights specific to the client’s needs. “It is a different way of thinking,” comments Nugent. “Entire commercial buildings can work off the same energy of a residential home.” This work soon led to other Net-Zero buildings and the company pushing itself on emerging technologies which would impact the energy and finance model of buildings and save clients substantial money in the process.
Unparalleled Company Culture and Leadership
The company established itself with an unwavering set of values including honesty, integrity, quality, the cultivation of a safe workplace, focus on customers, and taking care of its employees. Conducting itself with these values has resulted in not only considerable repeat business, numerous awards, an enviable track record and industry-wide respect, but a fierce commitment and high retention rate among staff. As voted by Weifield employees, the company has won the Denver Post Top Workplaces for last four years.
By paying for all apprentices to go through a four-year program and providing other initiatives, the company has invested in its people and itself. “We’ve invested in our culture and care about our people,” Nugent says, looking to the future.
Over the years, both the business and Chief Business Development Officer Karla Nugent have received numerous awards. In 2014, Nugent was honored with three notable industry and business awards, including the Outstanding Women in Business award from the Denver Business Journal, in addition to CREW Denver’s Emerging Iconic Woman award, and Corporate Citizen of the Year from the Denver Business Journal Partners in Philanthropy. The rest of the Weifield leadership team is similar in their high achievement focus – in addition to a multitude of past achievements, partner Pete Farreny, COO, is the current President of the Independent Electrical Contractors – Rocky Mountain (IECRM) association, and partner Seth Anderson, CEO, serves on the Association of General Contractors (AGC) Specialty Contractors Board. The company itself has won a host of awards in the last year, including the 2014 Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce “Small Business of the Year” award, the 2014 IECRM Summit Awards winner for Commercial Project Excellence for the Weifield Pearl Izumi project and the IECRM Summit Awards winner for Service Team of the Year, and the 2014 National Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) “Service Team of the Year” award.
Weifield firmly believes in giving back—so the company integrates that belief / practice into their corporate culture. The senior management team plans, coordinates, and attends all of the organization’s philanthropic events where Weifield matches all donations and 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to the non-profit. The company focuses on charities that provide opportunities for head of household, women and children, military and those less fortunate. The company makes a difference by partnering with non-profit organizations, including Wounded Warrior, The Avista Hospital Foundation, Bike MS Colorado Chapter, Boys and Girls Club, Cancer League of Colorado, Denver Rescue Mission, The Gathering Place, Gateway Battered Women’s Services, Goodwill Industries International, Habitat for Humanity, Partnership for Colorado, Project 127 Adoption Program, Skills2Compete-Colorado, Stout Street Foundation, and may more.
While she is proud of their accomplishments, Nugent is prouder still that their endeavors and awards raise the profile of Weifield Group Contracting and their charities.
“We work hard but we play hard. We are very community-involved, and believe it is our responsibility to give back.”