2 min read June 2022 — Wilson & Girgenti is experiencing a gangbuster start to 2022. In an interview with Invest:, President Joseph Girgenti discussed the great growth and demand experienced over the past two years, as well as how the firm has been impacted by various market dynamics.
How does the beginning of 2021 differ from the beginning of 2022?
These last few years have been so strange. At the beginning of 2021 we were struggling to catch up. At the beginning of 2022, we are desperately trying to gather the resources and talent we need to accommodate growing demands for our services. I’ve never seen anything like this. In 2022, you’re either going to purposefully grow, or you’re going to shrink—not of your own free will, but with talent. Experienced people are getting picked off at top dollar. If you’re not growing and providing much needed relief to stressed staff, you’re going to lose those people and shrink by default.
How has your merger with WG and Dixon Engineering fared over the course of 2021?
Our structural group that we brought in during 2020 had a fantastic year in 2021, breaking every record they had before joining forces. We’ve seen a proof of concept for having structural in-house with mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire sprinkler systems. Our customers that we had before are using our structural services, and all of our structural group’s customers came along for the ride as well. All parties and stakeholders have received great benefit from the merger.
To what degree have you surpassed 2019 revenues at the firm?
We are surpassing 2019 levels. We grew in 2020, and we grew again in 2021. At the end of 2021, we were about 60% higher in sales than we were at the end of 2019. Part of this growth came from positioning ourselves well and expanding our reach with new disciplines and into new markets. It also doesn’t hurt when your city is on the short list in terms of attractiveness for business expansion and relocation. Since Q3 and Q4 of 2021, activity has been gangbusters.
What sector is the hottest in Tampa at this time?
Multifamily is through the roof right now. Historically we have always done some multifamily projects here and there, but now we have a number of them happening at the same time. Multifamily seems to be the hot topic among developers in Tampa.
What is the biggest challenge you face today?
Growth capital. We have all of these developers coming into town with deep pockets, and we want to keep up with their demand. However, we have to front some growth costs, such as hiring new employees, in order to keep up with demands, and to be frank their pockets are deeper than ours. That’s our current challenge, keeping up with the growth.
How have your timeframes and costs been impacted by supply chain woes?
We’re rolling with the punches job by job. There has been substantial increases on both project timelines and costs. Depending on who you talk to and the products, products are anywhere from 30% to 200% higher than they were. Timeframes, from my perspective, seem to have doubled or even tripled in some cases. It’s very hard for people to keep construction schedules on pace when they can’t even get commitment dates for shipping. How do you schedule a sequence of events when you can’t even get an estimate as to when the materials are going to show up?
Has Wilson & Girgenti experienced an impact from the Great Resignation?
Unfortunately, we did have some participation in the Great Resignation, but we were able to recover and even add some great team members on top of that. Our employee base was 14% higher starting in 2022 than it was starting in 2021. We’ve focused on employee initiatives and retaining top talent, promoting various individuals to help us accommodate our growth.
What does the future work environment look like for Wilson & Girgenti?
We will certainly continue to have a hybrid component. Moving forward, we will be somewhere in the range of 75% in-person and 25% remote. Everyone likes flexibility. At the end of the day, we’re professionals and we treat each other like professionals. We have to coordinate frequently in-person, but outside of that our team can work elsewhere as long as they’re performing well.
What is your outlook for Tampa Bay’s construction sector for the coming five years?
I don’t think we’re slowing down anytime soon. The more I travel, the more I realize how many other cities are significantly bigger than Tampa, but I also realize how much space and natural beauty we have. We have so much growth potential, and many, many people around the country have noticed that. Tampa Bay has been growing my entire life. I see the construction industry in this region remaining very strong for a long time.
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