“I really like the creative process of working with the design team and owner, understanding what they are trying to achieve. Presenting possibilities and offering choices that line-up with the stakeholders’ ideas and budget is a creative and technical process that I love.” – Fritz Behrhorst
It’s no secret that Fritz has been a builder from a very young age. When he was growing up in rural Kansas, he and his friends would spend hours building whatever they could dream of. One summer, while Fritz was in high school, he and his friends saw an opportunity to build something bigger. They gathered the remaining railroad ties from a family property and spent their entire summer building a cabin. Complete with a wood-burning stove and porch, the cabin served as the teens’ hideout during their high school years. This building project prompted Fritz to begin his first formal job working for a local home building company. He then continued his education at Kansas State University in Construction Management.
When asked what advice he would give to his 20-year-old self, Fritz remarked, “I wish I would have been more collaboratively minded; reaching out to others for mentorship and advice when I was younger. I think I missed out on learning opportunities then.” Fritz feels that Haydon’s collaborative community is what sets them apart, he commented, “There are many different individuals who draw on each other’s strengths and expertise. It’s great to have spent the last 26 years surrounded by such a depth of knowledge. No matter what we’re building, we have an expert here who does it, not just someone who learned it in school.”
Throughout his 26 years at Haydon, Fritz has seen and demonstrated great leadership. He explained, “A good business leader is someone who has a foundation of competence in their market sector, understands people and what motivates them, is able to separate themselves from the day-to-day to make logical decisions, and isn’t afraid to seek outside advice when necessary.”
When Fritz first arrived at Haydon, there was no pre-construction department. He was originally hired to oversee estimating and later took on marketing and business development. While wearing many hats, Fritz saw Haydon through the market shift from hard-bid to CMAR and is largely responsible for laying the groundwork for Haydon’s later growth. Fritz recalled, “There was no one to build those departments and it had to get done, I thought why not me?” Although Fritz is currently the Vice President of Pre-Construction, he still remains largely involved in the pursuit of work and the strategy behind it. Cross-department collaboration is what builds and maintains a foundation of trust among departments.
Over the years, Fritz and Haydon’s Operations Team have developed Haydon’s Project Integration Process, in which experts across departments are highly involved throughout pre-construction. When the whole team gathers, they are able to solve issues before they arise. “During pre-construction, we set the tone for the project and position our teams for success.” By understanding the business model of clients and design teams, Fritz and his team are able to maintain relationships and deliver excellence every time.
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