rand* Superintendent Mike Willhide started with the company back in October 1992. With only drywall experience, Mike decided to apply for a job at rand* after being recommended by a close friend, and the rest is history. Mike is rand*’s longest-tenured employee (except for Founder and Chairman Linda Rabbitt), and we are grateful for his leadership and dedication to the company. We sat down with Mike to learn a little more about his background and time at rand*; here’s what he had to say:
How did you get started in the construction industry?
My Godfather owned a drywall company and hired me at 21 as a laborer. I started off stocking drywall, building scaffolds, and cleanup labor. I worked at the Hagerstown prison for years and learned new skills by watching the craftsman onsite that I still use to this day.
Why have you continued to stay at rand*?
First and foremost is because of my sincere commitment and loyalty to Linda. She was my first professional mentor and taught me so much about how I conduct myself in this industry, which has led to tremendous success. For the last 15-20 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working on the best projects that have all challenged me. I’ve learned a lot during those years and have developed new skill sets along the way.
What advice would you give to someone starting a career in the construction industry?
Always be honest and trustworthy. Construction is a demanding profession but also rewarding. At the end of the day, you get to see the fruits of your labor and the hard work everybody puts in to build gorgeous spaces.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years?
Patience- Things don’t get resolved overnight. But also, don’t let being patient jeopardize the overall goal on the project.
Understanding- In construction, many people are around the table. Sometimes your opinion doesn’t matter, and as a leader, you must be open-minded and listen to other ideas and input.
Where do you see rand* in 30 years?
Over the last 30 years, Linda has worked tirelessly to bring together strong leadership to create a path for the next generation. Today, she has done that. rand* has some of the most brilliant business-minded leaders who are collaborative, innovative, and all-around great people. The company started out producing less than $10 million in revenue and now we’ve reached over $400 million annually with offices across the US. I see rand* growing at the same rate or better in the next 30 years, especially as growth continues in each regional office. I hope now Linda can sleep better at night and take a little time off because she deserves it. She’s built a great company and a great team that will lead the company into the future.