These are clearly trying and uncertain times. Individuals, families, businesses and organizations of all types are facing the difficult challenges presented by COVID-19 and adjusting daily routines and business practices to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
During difficult times like these, it is natural that we depend more on our friends and those we have worked with before. As a result, most astute businesspeople know that when times are tough, they must rely on the relationships they have built with key customers over the years to help weather the storm and ensure continued success for their organizations.
I believe long-lasting relationships are built in a number of ways, but I’m reminded that several of my most notable and beneficial relationships emerged from my service and commitment to my community.
A thriving, healthy community is good for everyone — citizens and businesses alike — and I was encouraged early on by an important mentor to get involved and to start my involvement close to home. I did so by serving as a board member of United Way and Red Cross, as well as my local school foundation board.
It was at a meeting of that school foundation board that I became better acquainted and began building a lasting relationship with an important community and business leader. He and his company would later become one of Welty Building Co.’s longest and most important customers. So although it is not the reason I give back to the community, in a variety of ways, giving back often gives much more back in return.
Another example is the Bowery Project, a $42 million restoration and rehabilitation of six historic downtown Akron buildings into a mixed-use residential, office and retail complex.
The project is the result of a public/private partnership and will transform a highly visible but long vacant and underutilized area of the city’s urban core. I mention the Bowery Project because for more than 15 years, a variety of developers, financiers and municipal officials tried to get it off the ground.
It was only after dialogue between Welty and significant partners with whom we had successful financial and business experience and relationships that this project was able to move forward. This group was able to come together, take the lead on this effort and make something happen. Without the trust and respect earned by each of the partners over the years, the Bowery area would still be a blight.
Welty has been serving the construction needs of commercial, industrial, corporate, health care and civic organizations for more than 75 years. Strong companies endure in part because they have leaders and employees who come together and commit their time and talents to help make the communities in which they live better. In the case of Welty, the communities and the long-standing customers we have built successful relationships with have committed their trust to us and enabled us to survive even the most uncertain and challenging times.
Don Taylor is president and CEO at Welty Building Co. Ltd.