Press Release: Willow Construction, one of the largest commercial construction companies on Delmarva, has announced the kickoff to its year-long 50th anniversary celebration. Willow is planning events, charitable donations, and a social media series to look back on its history, all culminating in its 50th anniversary date on August 23rd.
Willow Construction has become a fixture on the Eastern Shore, building high-profile projects throughout Delmarva. The company broke ground on its first project in 1973. At the time, the company was owned by William “Bill” Ditman and had just a handful of employees. Its first few projects were residential until the company grew large enough to take on commercial work.
From the beginning, Willow’s leadership emphasized the importance of integrity and reliability. These values set the company apart and helped it grow through reputation and word-of-mouth. Today, Willow employs 36 associates and provides work to hundreds of contracted tradespeople. The company serves a wide range of industries including medical and healthcare, religious institutions, schools, corporate clients, car dealerships, recreational facilities, banks, and more. Willow has even built an air traffic control tower at Easton Airport.
“We take a lot of pride in the variety of work we do and the reputation that has allowed us to reach 50 years of service in an industry that is highly competitive with many unique challenges,” says Michael Hiner, President of Willow Construction. “We always say, ‘Integrity is the foundation of every Willow project,’ and that foundation, along with our team, have gotten us where we are.”
Hiner began working at Willow Construction in 1981 as a draftsman, eventually becoming President of the company in 1996. In 2001, he and Andy Cheezum, another long-time Willow employee, purchased equity in the company and became owners, along with its founder Bill Ditman. Cheezum’s career with Willow began when he was a college intern in 1989, and he joined the company full-time as a project manager in 1994. In 2011, Hiner and Cheezum became the sole owners of the company.
Willow’s leadership says preparing for another 50 years of success is one of their most important duties. In 2015, employees Justin Hiner and Eric Milhollan became junior partners as part of the company’s succession plan. By the time they take over, they will have had many years of development in the ‘Willow Way,’ maintaining the company’s values, systems, and high standards.
“I’m really proud of the succession plan we’ve developed,” says Cheezum. “We take our responsibilities to our clients and employees seriously, so we always have to look toward the future. It will be exciting to see where the next generation of leadership takes the company.”
Mike Hiner says he sees abundant opportunities and possibilities on the Eastern Shore. “One of the things we’re most excited about is the revitalization of our small towns. Any time we get to play a role in improving communities for the local residents, we absolutely love that.”
Willow will commemorate its 50th anniversary throughout the year via a weekly social media feature that spotlights special moments, projects, and people from its history. The company will also make a charitable donation each month to give back to the communities where it has completed projects. Finally, Willow will host a weekend getaway celebration for employees in August that will feature great food and accommodations, fun activities, and a few surprises.
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