VP Andy Cheezum Announces Retirement from Willow Construction

Press Release:

After 30 years with Willow Construction, Vice President Bernard A. “Andy” Cheezum Jr., CHC, has announced his plan to retire, effective December 31, 2024. Cheezum began his career at Willow in 1989, working part-time as a Project Coordinator while completing his bachelor’s degree in construction management from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Upon his graduation in 1990, he left Willow to pursue a career with a national general contractor based in Baltimore, Maryland, where he gained valuable experience. In 1994, Cheezum returned to the Eastern Shore and restarted his career at Willow as a Project Manager. His first set of projects in Easton included the fifth-floor addition to Easton Memorial Hospital for the labor delivery and postpartum suite, the Easton Volunteer Fire Department renovations and addition, and the construction of Asbury Place Senior Apartments. This apartment project was his first of many in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

In 1998, Cheezum was promoted to Vice President and continued to manage projects. He became an owner in 2001, along with company Founder William W. Ditman and President Michael S. Hiner. At that time, Cheezum became more involved with the operations side of the business, serving in the role of Project Executive and overseeing all construction projects and project-related staff. He also fulfilled the role of company Safety Director. Under his leadership, Willow has become a perennial recipient of the Associated Builders and Contractors STEP award for Excellence in Safety and Training. In 2023, Willow Construction achieved Diamond status in ABC’s STEP Safety Management System, the highest achievement of its kind.

“Over the years, I’ve taken tremendous pride in having developed such a strong team of project managers, assistant project managers, project engineers, superintendents, and assistant superintendents,” said Cheezum. “Many times, I’ve hired graduates from UMES, developing them into valuable members of the Willow team.”

Cheezum’s projects are scattered across Delmarva and include all types of residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial facilities. His experience includes General Contracting, Construction Management, and Design Build projects. He prides himself on a portfolio of repeat customers that have entrusted Willow to bring their construction dreams to reality.

Cheezum has been involved with healthcare construction projects throughout his entire career at Willow. He has been recognized as a Certified Healthcare Constructor (CHC) by the American Hospital Association. His healthcare clients include the University of Maryland Medical System, Beebe Healthcare, TidalHealth, Atlantic General Hospital, Chase Brexton Health Care, and Choptank Community Health. He takes pride in creating spaces to serve the healthcare needs of the residents of Delmarva.

“We are all going to miss Andy,” said President Hiner. “At the same time, we are excited for him to enter a new chapter and enjoy life beyond the daily grind. He has certainly earned it. We can always count on Andy to offer his notes from practically anything that happened at Willow for the past 30 years. He has been instrumental in solving issues by finding common ground with all involved parties while simultaneously protecting owners’ interests. He is an excellent construction executive and an even better partner. I speak for the entire company when I say, ‘Enjoy your years ahead.’”

Cheezum lives in Centreville with his wife, Gretchen. Together, they have two adult children: Drew, a real estate professional in Columbus, Ohio, and Olivia, an emergency room nurse in Richmond, Virginia. As a native of the Eastern Shore, Cheezum is looking forward to spending more time with his family, fishing, golfing, birdwatching, and traveling starting in 2025.

Cheezum believes that anything can be accomplished through hard work and surrounding yourself with great people. He is grateful to have had such a strong team at Willow over these last 30 years. Cheezum’s retirement is just the next step in the company’s long-standing succession plan.