History of Layton Construction
Alan W. Layton, a decorated World War II veteran, returned from the war to recover from injuries sustained in the Battle of the Bulge. His engineering studies at the University of Utah had been interrupted by the war, so, faced with the pressures of providing for a young family, Layton took a job with the Bureau of Reclamation. Over four years, he worked in the Design and Construction Division doing contract administration work. His knack for construction was tapped on several occasions in that capacity, providing him with the skills to earn extra money as a moonlighter building a drive-in restaurant and some homes, including his own.
One fateful day in the mid-winter of 1952, Layton announced to his wife Mona that he wanted to leave his government job, telling her, “I think I would like to start my own construction company.” On Feb. 13, 1953, Layton Construction Company was officially organized, funded by Bureau of Reclamation retirement savings.
Layton got his first big break and stable base when awarded a contract to construct 17 offices for City Finance Company in Utah and southern Idaho. The beginnings of a long history of school construction began when Layton sent his wife and young daughter to a bid opening on an addition to South Summit High School in Coalville, Utah. Layton Construction won the bid, and the school addition was completed on time and within budget.
The company continued to broaden its horizons in the 1970s with a wide range of commercial projects and more than 30 jobs on the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah, including high profile tasks like a renovation and expansion of Cougar Stadium (now LaVell Edwards Stadium) for the 1982 football season.
David S. Layton
President and CEO
As the company grew, Layton included his family in the business. His wife and daughters answered phones, paid bills and helped with payroll, and his three sons learned the construction business from a young age at the handle of a broom or shovel. His oldest son, Alan S. Layton, completed engineering studies at Brigham Young University in 1972 and transitioned into the company, learning management skills by working all facets of a construction job and working side-by-side with his father. In 1979, Alan S. Layton was asked by his parents to become president of Layton Construction. Later that year the two Laytons attended a national construction conference in Houston, during which Alan S. visited a large construction company headed by a friend of his dad. “It was there that I saw for the first time a company, organized like a business, which did construction,” he said. That insight was the beginning of transition from a small, family held construction company to a major business that applied principles of organizational structure and management. A foundation was established that would allow Layton to grow immensely in the coming decades.
After completing the Jordan River Temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1981, Alan W. Layton made plans to step aside. In 1985, Alan W. and Mona Layton left to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the responsibility of the company rested completely upon the shoulders of Alan S. Layton and his management team. At that time, David Layton, the youngest of the Layton children, was completing his engineering degree and began taking a more active role in the company and its management.
While serving his church mission, Alan W. Layton sent a letter to “Alan, David and everyone at the office” to offer some management advice and counsel, which included the following 12 points that are still the foundation upon which the organization operates today:
- Only contract and work for those that pay.
- The company hallmark has been and should always be quality.
- We pay our bills on time.
- Employ quality employees and work with skilled subcontractors.
- Stay clear from lawyers and legal entanglements. Compromise is better than a courtroom confrontation.
- Maintain a sound financial base.
- Get involved with all employees. Let them know you care about their well-being.
- Safety is good business. Insist on a clean, safe workplace.
- Act instead of being forced to react.
- Cultivate good relationships with architects.
- Modern tools and equipment, well maintained, compliment a tight schedule and a good job.
- Every project must carry its own weight. Volume means nothing without a fair profit.
The important value of Constructing with Integrity, integrated into the company’s logo in 1993, represents the company’s commitment to excellence. It articulates the company’s fundamental values of hard work, thrift, honesty and fairness.
The 1980s were a time of transition and addition to the organizational structure of the company. Business management, accounting, business development and marketing professionals were added to the team. Trusted members of the construction team were given specific responsibilities including safety, quality assurance and scheduling to enhance the performance and quality of the Layton organization, management and projects.
Despite a soft economy and high interest rates in the early to mid-1980s, Layton Construction continued to find projects to maintain its stable base. As the economy began to grow in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Layton was well-positioned to take advantage of construction opportunities. In 1987, Layton Construction established an office in Phoenix, Ariz., a strategic move to diversify geographically and enter a market not affected by the same economic forces that were driving the Utah market.?
The sluggish economic drought of the mid to late ‘80s was followed by the “golden decade of the ‘90s.” It was a season of tremendous economic growth and optimism in the state, as Utah was discovered by corporate America as a place with a stable and well-educated labor force. Economic development officials relished in one of the country’s fastest growing economies. Government leaders basked in the increased tax revenues that funded state growth and infrastructure development. The International Olympic Committee selected Salt Lake City to host the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Layton Construction built office buildings, warehouse and distribution centers, manufacturing plants, health care facilities and sports venues. High-profile projects like the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium and the Utah Olympic Oval raised Layton’s presence and stature in the community and nationwide.?
David S. Layton became president and CEO of the company in 2004 after Alan S. and his wife left to serve their own church mission. David has been instrumental in expanding the business from a regional contractor to a major, national corporation. The past 10+ years have been marked by growth that can be attributed to an increased base of national customers, diversification in many industries and the strength of Layton’s clients. Additional office locations have been established in Boise, Irvine, San Jose, Orlando, Honolulu, Kauai and Nashville. Divisions specializing in interior construction (Interior Construction Specialists), namely tenant improvement and remodel work, have been established and become important aspects of the company’s success.?
Sheer growth of the company is not critical to company management. Most important are the relationships forged and maintained with clients, employees and subcontractors throughout the years, an ideology that Alan W. Layton strived to establish and cultivate within his company. “Those relationships help the Layton organization learn and grow in an industry where the rules of finding and developing opportunities keep changing,” said David S. Layton, President and CEO.