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  1. Not all Cancer is Pink

    October 3, 2016 by Jeff Forrest

    Traditionally, October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness month. At WPC we recognize the importance of this effort and display that awareness around the company in many ways. There are pink hard hats, safety vests, and t-shirts on every job. Pictures will be taken and displayed throughout our social media and we will raise monies for specific charities. But not all cancer is pink…

    This year WPC is expanding our cancer awareness in memory of WPC Superintendent Robby Musgrove. Robby had been with us for 2.5 years. In mid-August, he was working on a project in South Carolina and developed a nagging cough. Thinking it was perhaps a chest cold or bronchitis, he eventually went to the doctor. Unfortunately for Robby, it was much more than either of those. Initial tests results showed Robby had large cell carcinoma on his right lung and one of his kidneys. He returned to Orlando with the recommendation of starting radiation immediately. He would need to have daily treatments of radiation and once a week sessions of chemo. The news continued to get worse as doctors realized that the cancer was in more places than could be treated. After the doctors had explored their options, they recognized that his time was limited. On September 18th, just over one month after being diagnosed, Robby passed away.

    It is fair to say that I didn’t know Robby very well. We had exchanged conversations in the office during his tenure at WPC and I knew him as a dedicated and likable guy. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten to know him better; but isn’t that usually the case after someone is gone. Robby was a part of WPC’s Special Projects and Renovations Division and had successfully worked on a number of projects throughout the years. He respected WPC’s reputation and worked hard to maintain quality on each job he was involved with. He is survived by his wife Gail and with support from the WPC family, she will be moving to Arizona to be with family.

    The sudden loss of Robby is a stark reminder to all of us that life is short, and more importantly, life can be taken from us at any time. Almost all of us have been touched by cancer in some way, whether it be a family member, a friend or a coworker. Although Robby lost his fight, other WPC staffers have battled and won and we are fortunate that they did.

    Sooner rather than later, both men and women should be getting regular physicals and exams. Early detection of many cancers improves the chances of full recovery with proper treatments. Please take the time to visit your doctor.

    As we mourn the loss of Robby, we are reminded to take care of ourselves and hug our loved ones more often.

    “Supporting the Fighters, Admiring the Survivors, Honoring the Taken, and Never, Ever Giving up Hope.” – Author Unknown


  2. Building Community

    June 18, 2014 by Jeff Forrest

    Building communities is something we do everyday, however it’s our service, volunteering, and support of non-profit organizations of which we are most proud. At the end of January, WPC was able to support a local grassroots organization, which helps families with the unforeseen costs of cancer treatments, in a very unique way. WPC resident blogger and President, Jeff Forrest, passes the writing baton this month to employee and son, Jeffrey, as he tells a story of fighting cancer through a deck of cards.

    Welcome to my inaugural WPC blog. This should be easy to write since I’ll be talking about the same thing my old personal blog was about, poker. One of the best things about working here is the easy accessibility to working with different charities. In the past 6 months, I’ve helped build towers out of cans for Canstruction, began renovations on the new school for the Conductive Education Center of Orlando, and now played in a charity poker tournament for the Cancerbank. All have been great experiences in their own way.

    The Cancerbank charity poker tournament, held on Friday January 31st, was exciting because I could use skills I’d molded over the years for two families in need. I was actually able to play with one of the fathers we were helping in the event. He lost quickly but told us all about his young daughter with leukemia and thanked all of us individually for coming out and supporting him when he was in need. It gave me a little extra incentive to focus and play the best I knew I could.

    We started with 7,500 chips and within an hour I had almost 40,000, most of which was from a nice elderly woman sitting next to me. She didn’t mind so much when I told her who I was and the company I was representing. How, when asked to sponsor an ex-professional in a charity event, my coworkers pitched in a combined $360. That whatever was unused was still being donated, and whatever was won would be donated back to the charity. It gave me a great deal of pride to be there on behalf of WPC, and to know that it’s likely we wouldn’t have pitched in as much if I hadn’t played. Unfortunately, after another hour and a few bad runs of the cards, I was heading home early.

    In the end, the Cancerbank raised over $8,000 that night and 100% of that money will directly benefit the two families battling cancer. Nearly 100 poker players from the area came out to compete and support a great cause to help others in our community.

  3. Forty and Counting

    December 9, 2013 by Jeff Forrest

    In January 2014, WPC will be celebrating its 40th year in business. It is a little hard to believe, but what an amazing ride it has been! From our humble beginnings as a small framing and remodeling company so many years ago to becoming one of the nation’s most prominent general contractors, we have enjoyed success that many only experience in their dreams.

    Although our reach spans from one side of the country to the other (and many stops in between), we’ve maintained that small company feel and continue to provide the quality and dedication that has earned us our reputation. We’ve earned countless awards and recognized by many organizations for our outstanding workmanship and, equally as important, for what we’ve given back to our community. We gauge our company’s success on many factors, though one of the most important metrics is the tenure of our employees. Approximately 25% of our staff have a tenure of more than 15 years. These dedicated team members (and many others) worked through the very good times and some extremely difficult times, yet remained committed to the company. They exemplify WPC’s culture and are a significant part of its history.

    Reminiscing and feeling nostalgic over the telling history of WPC, however, will not ensue our future sustainability. Staying ahead of the competition requires more than just a great story. It necessitates constant and never-ending improvement. It beseeches a relentless pursuit of excellence and execution of the processes and procedures that have been and will be developed throughout the company. It requires tenured staff and current leaders to cultivate the youth of WPC and guide them along a path of successful growth so that they, too, can be on this list. The momentum of WPC allows no room for complacency and the route to our success involves little relaxation. All of our clients have put their trust in us and need our full attention; taking a break is not an option.

    However, many of you know that I like to celebrate and the company’s 40th year will give us many opportunities to do just that. Though we will remain focused and steadfast to our goals, 40 years is a milestone that entails a party or two. We hope you will celebrate with us – cheers!

  4. I Remember That

    September 5, 2013 by Jeff Forrest

    I’ve always been a “look forward” kind of person – looking ahead to what needs to be accomplished, rather than what has already been done. By not living in the past, I don’t worry about what I may have missed. Time moves so fast that if I spend too much of it in regret, I’d neglect what is right in front of me. I’m a “today’s-a-new-day” guy, so let’s get to work creating memories we’ll forget. I suppose that last statement doesn’t make much sense, but it sure does seem that I’ve forgotten more than I’ve remembered.

    Why do I say all this? I’m turning 50 years old next month and it’s causing me to stop, turn around, and look back. It seems like just yesterday I was 15 – still in high school and working weekends and during the summer as a laborer, then eventually a carpenter. In those days, my career at this company was just getting started. Little did I know, 35 years later I’d be leading (along with some great partners) one of the largest and most prominent general contractors in Florida, and working for a fantastic group of clients building some “memorable” projects.

    As I get ready to celebrate half a century of living, WPC is getting ready to celebrate a milestone, as well. In January of 2014, our company celebrates 40 years of business. In this instance, my memory serves me well and I reflect upon how we’ve affected the landscape of our hometown, many areas of Florida, the Southeast and other parts of the country. There are too many projects to list here, but as we go through old photos in preparation of the festivities that will last all year long, I’ll be sure to share our projects, as well as the people who’ve worked and shaped this company into who we are today. It will indeed be a fun stroll down memory lane.

    On a forward thinking note, I’m very proud to announce that another generation of Forrest’s has joined (or should I say rejoined) the WPC team. My son, having taken a 7-year hiatus from the construction industry to attend college and play professional poker, has recently retired from one form of gambling in order to “enjoy” another. Winning the WPT World Championship highlighted his career as a professional card player and I know his memories of those days will not fade anytime soon. Although faced with the challenge of being the boss’s son will not be easy, I know that his skills at the poker table will come in very handy as he maneuvers the waters of our very challenging business.

    It’s time for me to take my Ginkgo Biloba and catch up on some Luminosity exercises. Check out our web page for the latest project news and stay tuned for another 40 years of great memories.

  5. Customer Service and Beyond

    July 31, 2013 by Jeff Forrest

    WPC recently received a letter from the supervisor of The Villages Public Library at Belvedere. For those of you who may not know, WPC is building our fourth project for Sonata Healthcare in The Villages – the third Serenades by Sonata. This letter was very complimentary and recognizes one of WPC’s superintendents for delivering exceptional service and commendable character.

    The superintendent for this project is fairly new to WPC, but he exemplifies one of our most important attributes – providing outstanding customer service. What we do every single day, big or small, makes an impression on someone. How we answer the phone, interact with clients, vendors, consultants, fellow employees and, in this case, an adjacent property owner reflects how our company is viewed. Giving a little extra is how we standout from our competitors. It distinguishes us, makes us unique, is a catalyst in choosing WPC for future projects and is a WPC requirement of employment.

    Amidst being busy with the daily grind, WPC team members remain focused on going “above and beyond” the regular routine. We consider all of our site staff conscientious construction neighbors whether or not they receive a letter from someone they have impacted. It is nice to be recognized, however, especially in a time where people put pen to paper more often to complain than to give praise.

    We are proud of our onsite project staff, as well as the whole team of Serenades by Sonata at the Villages for delivering on the reputation of WPC. We stand confident knowing that we deliver this level of customer service to all of our clients and this type of respect is a permanent pillar of our culture.

  6. 2013: Different Challenges and New Opportunities

    June 15, 2013 by Jeff Forrest

    As was the case many times in 2012, I am writing this month’s blog while traveling. It is my first trip of 2013 and it’s a great way to kick off the New Year by checking out a fresh project opportunity.

    As we head into 2013, the vibe is definitely changed and one many companies haven’t had in many years. Just one year ago, many in our industry were still trying to endure the economic impact of the past four years. It was an unpleasant period of time, though we never abandoned our optimism.

    Due to market changes, rising costs present a new set of challenges for 2013. Lumber, for example, has risen in price more than 30% over the past 3 months. Labor costs are also going up and quality labor is becoming difficult to find for certain trades. It is yet another reminder that we trade one challenge for the next as we experience the ebb and flow of business in an economy that’s not quite yet stable. And although the tests of 2013 will be different, we’re hopeful that the industry is showing signs of recovery.

    As for WPC, we’re blessed to be working hard on new projects throughout our target segments. Two premier student housing projects have broken ground for new clients near University of Central Florida and Florida State University. We have multifamily projects in Celebration, Bradenton, and Tampa well underway and we’re wrapping up two senior housing projects in Lake Mary and Winter Garden, while preparing to start two more in Ocala and Lake Wales. In addition, we’re building two new timeshare buildings in Kissimmee, which is a positive indicator of growth for the hospitality market. Last, but certainly not least, our renovations division continues to work diligently on projects in Florida and Las Vegas. I can’t thank our clients enough for placing their trust in us and I promise we’ll live up to our reputation and exceed your expectations.

    Although we’re busier than we were last year and market conditions are improving, we still haven’t reached our capacity. Estimating is working hard on many promising opportunities and we remain steadfastly competitive while adding the value our clients have come to expect from WPC.

    WPC has yet to be deterred by a challenge, and the trials of 2013 will be no exception.

  7. The Season of Giving

    June 12, 2013 by Jeff Forrest

    We are already in the second week of November and Thanksgiving is fast approaching. You may have heard me say before that this is one of my favorite holidays; there is nothing better than turkey sandwiches and pumpkin pie for days on end.

    This season is less about food, however, and more about gratitude and the WPC family certainly has much to be thankful for this year. In addition to the improved economic conditions that have increased our workload, we are thankful for our many clients who continue to put their trust in WPC and select us to be a part of their construction teams. We are grateful for the hard work of our subcontractors and vendors across Florida and the rest of the country, as well as their participation in our many philanthropic endeavors that allow us to give back to our community.

    Our most recent event was Canstruction Orlando, a design-build competition using canned and packaged foods as the materials for building theme-based structures. At the end of the competition, all of the food is donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Our design was the recreation of the Give Kids the World Village logo, a 70-acre non-profit fantasy resort in the Orlando area that provides weeklong cost-free vacations to children and their families suffering from life-threatening illness. Our design supported this year’s theme of Orlando Can Be Magical. It was so well received from our subcontractors and vendors that through our joint efforts we donated 2,500 canned and packaged foods, as well as donated $2,000 to Give Kids the World Village. We are pretty excited to have been able to support 2 non-profit organizations through one event.(We also took 2nd place for Structural Ingenuity and earned the Daily City’s Biggest Heart Award).

    WPC will continue to give back to our community throughout the holiday season and the rest of the year. We are blessed to be able to make an impact in lives of those in need and I am proud of those WPC staffers that volunteer their time towards these causes.

    On a personal note, I just completed my first half marathon at the Santa Barbara International Veterans Marathon in California.  It was a very cool accomplishment and one I hope to repeat many times in the future. This marathon falls on the weekend before Veterans Day and celebrates the many veterans around the world who have served our country.

  8. President’s Log: Stardate 07-13

    by Jeff Forrest

    June 27th – 8:02PM
    I am on board a 5-hour flight to Vegas for my monthly visit to our projects in the western part of the country. The team has been working hard on our Desert Club Resort renovation for Holiday Inn Club Vacations. The latest work should wrap up by mid-August and the Orlando based staff can come home for a much-earned rest in their own beds. Tower 5 at The Grandview at Las Vegas is now complete and our construction partner, Penta Building Group, did another fantastic job.

    June 29th – 10:00PM

    I’m at Tao Restaurant in Las Vegas. My son, who is a professional poker player, is playing in the World Series of Poker events for the 5th consecutive year. Although his 25th birthday is on July 1st, we decided to celebrate a couple days early with a few of our very close West Coast friends.

    June 30th – 5:38AM

    I’m eating breakfast with my son who decided we needed to see the sun come up before we went to sleep. Good thing he only turns 25 once.

    July 1st – 11:00AM
    I’m in a meeting on an exciting new project and will discuss that more in an upcoming blog.

    July 1st – 2:20PM
    I decided to drive to San Diego in lieu of flying. That won’t happen again. I’m meeting with a client based in San Diego who has some new and renovation projects in Florida and Nevada.

    July 4th – 11:40AM
    I’m in flight to Chicago and I notice a Marine in full dress. I figured it was appropriate attire for Independence Day. As it turns out, he is escorting a fallen Marine back home to his final resting place. It is a sad but honorable duty and one that all of us on board did not take for granted. We showed our respect as he exited the plane and it reminded all of us of the price of our freedom. Watch the movie Taking Chance if you want to learn more about the soldiers who volunteer to be escorts.

    July 8th – 8:32AM

    I’m back at my desk in Orlando finding it hard to believe that half the year is gone. Although the economy appears to be improving, we remain cautious and conservative. Our memories of the past 4 (challenging) years are still fresh and though we are busy, we are not busy enough and future work remains high on the priority list.

    Every month we build ourselves out of a job. The WPC team is challenged by the difficulties of a busy labor force, yet faces those challenges with the determination necessary to maintain our reputation. We have some exciting new projects on the horizon – with new clients that have yet to experience the WPC Way and with existing clients whose expectations are high, just as they should be.

    I could not be more proud of how hard everyone is working. The younger generation of assistant project managers and project managers like Curtis Husselman and Kevin Ivey, whose fathers worked for WPC, as well as newly appointed project manager, Ben Abernethy, are stepping up. John Russo and Sarah Makie of our pre-construction and estimating department are also rising stars. They have shown they deserve their titles and responsibilities. We’ve hired some great new talent both in the office and the field that will have opportunities to grow and learn, and our hope is this next generation of leaders will one day be running this company. The seasoned staffers are also working harder than ever and showing the newbies the ropes and helping them mesh with our culture.

    Watching my son turn 25, seeing the next generation mature, and realizing that time waits for no one can be a sobering experience.

  9. Blogging from the Beach

    June 11, 2013 by Jeff Forrest

    I suppose the title of this month’s blog might conjure up images of me sitting on the sand with my computer, drinking Mai Tai’s.  Although that would be fun, I’m actually sitting in the lobby of the Westin Diplomat Hotel in a suit taking a break from attending ARDA World 2013 in Miami Beach, FL. Technically, I’m in Hollywood, FL, but it sounds so much more chic to say Miami Beach. This is the American Resort and Development Association’s (ARDA) annual conference and one I truly enjoy. It gives me an opportunity to see old friends and clients, and meet new ones. If the activity in the main lobby area is any indication of how the timeshare industry is doing, then I’m very optimistic.

    WPC has been involved in the timeshare and resort industry since 1981, and I’ve been attending ARDA’s conferences since the early 90s If my memory serves me correctly, Tracy and I attended our first ARDA conference just a bit south of here at the Fontainebleau hotel.  In the past 30+ years, WPC has constructed over 12,000 timeshare units equating to 624,000 vacation weeks.  I think that makes us (unofficially, of course) the largest timeshare builder in the world. We are very fortunate to have worked for so many great clients, many of whom we are building projects for today. In addition, our renovations division has remodeled over 2,100 units. It’s no surprise that the hospitality market is one in which we stay well connected.

    In just a few short days I’ll be leaving Miami (I mean, Hollywood) and heading to Austin, TX – one of my favorite cities for food and music. There, I will be attending the Interface Student Housing Conference.  WPC has made quite an impact on the student housing market over the past few years and currently have off-campus projects under construction near UCF, in Orlando, FL as well as near FSU, in Tallahassee, FL. It has been our privilege to work with these two new clients and look forward to being a part of their team for many years to come.

    As I head back into my next session here at ARDA, I realize how lucky I am to be able to travel the country telling the story of a truly solid construction company.

  10. Personal Growth – a Smart Move

    June 7, 2013 by Jeff Forrest

    {WPC President, Jeff Forrest, is traveling the frozen tundra of the northeast, his fingers too frostbitten to blog this month. Normal rants, raves, and ramblings from Jeff will return next month.  In the meantime, enter ghostwriter – who shall remain nameless – to offer you a different perspective from the inside.}

    WPC recently broke ground on a new student housing development at University of Central Florida in Orlando. You may have read about this project, Plaza on University, on our website and social media. It’s pretty substantial and an incredible addition to the Knight campus…or should I say, off-campus.Said ghostwriter is UCF alum, and though this is certainly a great job for WPC, I don’t say this out of pride, rather of sheer coolness because this type of housing didn’t exist when I was a student. Way back when, you know – the 90s – UCF had Fox Hunt, which in comparison to this project should be condemned and demolished. You either lived in, knew someone who lived in, or had been to a party at Fox Hunt. I have the luxury of claiming all three. What can I say? I was committed to my UCF education.

    Anyway, I digress. Plaza on University is huge and it’s pretty. Yes, it looks good –something 90s UCF didn’t have. And, it got me thinking I wanted to go back to school just so I could live there, above one of the fancy stores that will reside underneath. And, then I snapped out of it and realized I’ve already been there, done that. And, I have a job. Here at WPC.  If I went back to school, there would be no one to write this blog. Believe it or not, that brings me to my point. Wait for it, wait for it…personal growth is critical to your relevancy. And stagnancy is stupid. Okay, so that’s two points. UCF peeps are overachievers.

    Fortunately for me, I am employed by a company who encourages growth, both in the organization as a whole and individually among staff. Not only is it encouraged, but provided on multiple levels. There is a consistent theme revolving around achievement within the walls of this building. Personal growth is less of an option and more of an essential principle in the culture of WPC. Training courses for employees, OSHA certifications, conferences and seminars for continuing education, and acquiring the latest software to manage projects with ease and accessibility for our clients are just a few of the ways WPC stays on top of internal growth.

    Why is this important? WPC is interested in sustainability as a company, relevant through all climates of economy and change, as well as in fair weather. It’s easy to sit on your hands and do nothing, especially if things are working. But, WPC doesn’t want to just be… we want to be the best, giving our clients not only a quality product but an experience unrivaled by our peers chock full of the greatest technology and best business practices.

    Just like other businesses, WPC measures growth by revenue. Simple concept. If you are making more money, you are usually busier, which indicates augmentation of your business. The truth is, or so WPC feels, the business is only as effective and relevant as the people who are driving the bus.  Smart people do smart things, ultimately leading to smart business.  Smart, huh? Who needs to go back to school???

    Kidding aside, seeking excellence and industry advancement is something WPC has strived for, attained, and offered to all who walk through the shiny, glass front doors. The goal is to provide our clients with a top-tier experience and deliver projects with innovative technologies. And for this ghostwriter, its one of the reasons I was attracted to WPC.

    I guess I will just have to resort to a PhD in Vicariously Living by watching the progress pics of Plaza on University.