Customers. Partners. Friends.
A 50+ Year Relationship at its Finest.
It was late in 2022 as we wrapped up West Central Steel’s office expansion that we thought, what a milestone and timing to be finishing another project for this phenomenal customer of ours. We wanted to do something special and have some time while we are still blessed to have two of the three guys with us that started this relationship between West Central Steel and Marcus Construction – so we asked all parties to gather on a beautiful Spring Day in 2023.
As we congregated in West Central Steel’s lobby, it was like old friends that haven’t seen each other in a long time with handshakes and the noise of many greetings happening at once. As we moved the group into the conference room you could feel a high-level of emotion, nostalgia, pride and reminiscing in the air.
The Guys That Started It All
Orvis Pattison reflected on his early years when he and Delbert Allinder bought the business that was known as Hy’s Steel, but as the years and their territory expanded, they changed their name to West Central Steel for a further reach. Taking chances and having a whole lot of faith, they made a go of it and with that growth, in 1972 they needed a new steel warehouse and office building. Delbert, a former plumber knew of Carl Marcus and Marcus Construction in Prinsburg and that’s where this 50+ year story began.
Carl, a risk taker, and entrepreneur himself, had recently expanded into pre-engineered steel buildings and had formed a relationship with Varco Pruden Buildings (VP Buildings) – another 50+ year relationship Marcus Construction continues today. So, the timing was perfect and West Central Steel’s 1972 warehouse and office was Carl’s second building ordered with VP Buildings.
As the decades passed and each family business transitioned to the next generation, both Carl, now 95, and Orvis 94, (Delbert passed in 2015) shook their heads and laughed in remembrance at some of the decisions their boys made – at the time Orvis and Carl each thought maybe their sons were a little crazy – but now they beam with pride where each company has grown because of those decisions.
So how about that next generation sitting in the West Central Steel conference room – stories started flying around by Jeff Allinder, Jeff Pattison, and Ross Marcus of being young boys and helping their fathers at work. Ross fondly remembered getting to ride with Carl from Prinsburg to ‘the big steel building in Willmar!’ Jeff Allinder shared memories of doing a lot of painting at 75 cents an hour – Orvis didn’t miss a beat as he said ‘and you were probably overpaid’ as laughter erupted in the room! Jeff Pattison gazed off as he remembered all the trips to and from Chicago and to St. Paul along with many flights with Orvis as ‘dad took a nap and put me in charge!’
This group of men, still very much a part of each business, have seen a lot and learned so much from their father’s, a special thing to witness for sure.
And now both companies have entered a new era as third generations have joined each business. Bill Pattison with West Central Steel, Taylor Marcus and Darin Bushard with Marcus Construction. These three men also having dreams and directions for their business in the coming years – that so far Jeff Allinder, Jeff Pattison, and Ross Marcus haven’t shaken their heads at too badly!
They too have learned so much from the two previous generations.
A Day of Celebration
What has this relationship between Marcus Construction and West Central Steel looked like? It’s been a wonderful two-way street. To date, Marcus has built around 20 building and major expansion projects for West Central Steel with many smaller projects and maintenance too numerous to count. While West Central Steel provides much of the steel for Marcus’ dry fertilizer storage buildings along with commercial building projects too numerous to count.
As a token of appreciation, Marcus designed a symbolic table that the West Central Steel team helped us pull off without Jeff, Jeff or Bill knowing about. The wood glulam beam tabletop represents Marcus from the wood used in our dry fertilizer storage buildings, and the steel legs represent West Central Steel. Within each leg are 25 steel ends that are welded together to show the strength of our 50-year relationship.
So, coming back to relationships. Both West Central Steel and Marcus Construction thrive on them. The importance of relationships is part of our core values and who we are. And here sitting in this room 51 years later it was pretty apparent it’s not just some words on paper. You could see and feel the sincere gratitude and appreciation through the handshakes, laughter, and reflections.
It was a beautiful morning that we’re so grateful we took pause from the busy-ness of business to gather everyone together and reflect on these friendships Orvis, Delbert, and Carl started 51 years ago.
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