In my continuing series of profiling Servant Leaders, I wanted to write about my friend Gary Langmuir, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wohlsen Construction Company since 1990. Gary is an ideal example of a servant leader as he views his role as owner and leader of Wohlsen Construction Company as one of a steward, to assure that the company thrives so the legacy of the company and its values continue for future generations.
Founded in 1890 and recognized as one of the leading construction firms in the Mid-Atlantic States, Wohlsen Construction Company provides general construction, construction management, design/build, and facilities services to customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey.
Something few people know about Gary is that he started his career in Public Accounting and was a CPA (something I particularly love about him). He was assigned Wohlsen Construction as a client and fell in love with the company. In 1980, he went to work for Wohlsen and eventually purchased the company from the Wohlsen family.
Gary has strong ethical behavior in his business activities and has made it a point to act with the highest integrity in dealing with customers in order to satisfy their goals and to create repeat business. Wohlsen Construction Company has been able to generate extreme customer loyalty and as a result, they are able to provide 75% of their private work for repeat customers.
He also embraces being open in all dealings with both employees and customers. For Gary, integrity is essential and his strong values drive the company by word and example.
Gary also gives generously of his time on community boards. He is on the boards of Messiah College, the PA State Chamber, and the Harrisburg Regional Chamber. In 2008, The Samaritan Center named him the winner of the Ethics in Business Award.
Gary is also doing his part to look at business practices and the effects they have on our environment. In April 2010, Wohlsen Construction Company became the third company in Pennsylvania – and 67th in the nation to receive Green Plus Certification. Green Plus, a National Organization, promotes sustainable business practices in three key areas: People, Planet, and Performance. Wohlsen Construction Company was commended for their work in these three areas, recognizing new training and education initiatives, their attempts to do their part in becoming “green,” and for continuing to improve their bottom line performance even amid the economic downturn and while maintaining their industry leadership position. In June 2010, Wohlsen was named a Green Plus sustainable Medium Sized Business of the Year.
Gary continues to look toward the future. He was quoted as saying,“Now it is more important than ever to consider the environmental impacts of our business practices. We are being proactive with regards to green buildings and our own sustainable practices. By reducing our energy consumption, our waste stream and our depletion of natural resources, we are meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The employees of Wohlsen Construction Company share their pride in working for a company whose leader demonstrates ethics and integrity. As Gary says, “Without ethics, you have nothing.” There’s no better way to put it than that. Gary Langmuir is a genuine servant leader.