Post 5 of ’90 Years in the Making’ – A W.W. Clyde & Co. Blog Series
Government Sponsored Contracts
The government’s investment in road construction helped keep W.W. Clyde & Co. busy during the Great Depression. W.W.’s attention to detail and flexibility allowed him to be extremely successful on government projects, where government mandates often required per hour contracts to maximize employment for American citizens. If contractors agreed to abide by these new rules, they could bid for government sponsored jobs.
One of the most memorable government sponsored projects of the 1930’s was part of a highway east of Rock Springs, Wyoming to Thayer Junction on Highway 30. W.W. Clyde & Co. was under a contract that had a penalty clause of $1.30 per hour if the number of man hours specified was not met. W. W. Clyde & Co. was assigned 130,000 man hours for this job. Cornell Clyde said “we spent $40,000 hand-ranking the shoulders and slopes of the roadway in order to fulfill the letter of the contract and ended up within 200 hours of the assignment.”
In spite of these restrictions, W. W. Clyde & Co. continued to prosper. The combination of work opportunities and W.W.’s hard work ethic, personal commitment to each job, and attention to detail really started to pay off. By 1939, the company’s annual revenue increased over 240 percent.
Bigger and Better
1939 was also the year that W.W. Clyde & Co. outgrew its “small beginnings”. This growth in business required newer and larger shops and expanded equipment storage spaces. W.W. Clyde & Co. had built up a large fleet of machinery and anticipated an increase in their holdings. With the rapid increase in growth, expanding operations was a top priority.
W.W. started discussions with Thomas F. Pierpoint of the Provo Foundry & Machine Company in regards to a steel frame building and many pieces of heavy equipment. Five days later, W.W. Clyde & Co. presented an offer of $10,400 for the purchase of an 11,500 square foot steel frame building, as well as a five-ton traveling crane. W. W. Clyde & Co. also submitted additional funds for a radial drill press and a 300-ton hydraulic press, which would make it possible for the company to do all their own diesel repair and overhead work. The deal was accepted and the Provo Foundry moved the steel building to the Clyde Companies new headquarters, a ten-acre site north of Springville on Highway 89.
In his book W.W. Clyde: The Builder, Leonard J. Arrington stated “This relocation of the company’s headquarters from the Clyde farm homestead marked the beginning of a new period of significant stature and permanence. Characteristically, Wilford had moved to the new site the old frame house that had served as his office until a new one was built many years later.”
By 1939, W. W. Clyde had become prominent throughout the Mountain West. In the same year, Wilford was elected president of the Utah Chapter of the AGC (Associated General Contractors).