WPC: Big on Relationships

01/01/2006

When Jeff Forrest, vice president of Winter Park Construction (WPC), is discussing the company's strengths, he is quick to point out that the firm does not have a marketing staff.

"There is no one person here who has the sole responsibility of selling the company; everyone is responsible," he says. Even so, he notes, the company enjoys a positive reputation in its industry because its main concerns are setting standards for quality and value and building longterm relationships.

"At our core, our responsibility is to do a good job," Forrest says. "We want to provide our clients with a construction experience that most of them aren't used to - a good experience. That involves managing relationships. Everyone has an interest in the success of the company. I, along with all of the senior team, work closely with our customers to maintain our relationships - this all fuels our business."

Building strong relationships with key people in various businesses helped WPC get started, Forrest notes. The company was founded in 1974 by Forrest's brother, Tracy, as a small remodeling operation. A few of the firm 's customers were so impressed with its work, Forrest says, that they recommended WPC for some commercial jobs. Through this work, Tracy Forrest was introduced to Kemmons Wilson, the founder of the Holiday Inn organization, which allowed WPC to get involved in the timeshare and resort industry. Because of its work, Jeff Forrest notes, now more than 95 percent of its business is from repeat customers.

"Our business took off once we got into the resort industry," he says. "We really started to grow with that work and now we are one of the largest general contractors building vacation homes, time shares and resorts."

Based in Maitland, Fla., the company has v the numbers to back up that claim. Since its inception, WPC has delivered more than 6,000 time-share units, 14,000 apartment units and 2,500 hotel rooms, totaling more than 27.5 million square feet of finished living space. Also, because its operations are located in the "world's NO.1 vacation destination," the company says, WPC has been able to work with some of the giants of the resort industry, including Hilton, Marriott, Tempus Resorts, Bluegreen, Starwood, The Berkley Group, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Orange Lake Country Club, Pritzker Residential and Westgate Resorts, to name a few.

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