A Historic Foundation
In the early 1900’s, the invention of the automobile and the passing of the Highway Act of 1921 opened a new industry in road construction and transportation.
In 1923, W.W. Clyde recognized this opportunity and traveled to Nevada with a family member to pursue a road contract. They left Utah with only a “Fresno and four,” which included just 1 dirt scraper and a team of 4 horses.
W.W. Clyde recalled that project in a Deseret News article, saying “We got nothing but experience, and a lot of it, on that job.” W.W. immediately recognized the potential in the road construction industry and sought out the advice of his good friend, James Sumsion.
James Sumsion had been gaining experience in construction with his 3 brothers, who formed the Sumsion Brothers Construction Company. W.W. Clyde proposed the idea to create a joint venture to build a road construction project near Pequop Summit in Nevada, just west of Wendover.
The two friends reviewed the Pequop project together, and they could see an incredible opportunity. The numbers indicated it was a fairly sizable job, around $150,000. They pulled together all their resources, received additional capital from a family investor, and successfully bid the Pequop job. And that’s how the Clyde-Sumsion partnership was born. W.W. Clyde managed the project on-site as the superintendent, an all-encompassing position. From bookkeeping and blacksmithing to cooking and tending the animals, W.W. Clyde’s leadership was essential to the success of the project.
Eventually, the company they started went two separate ways, but W.W. Clyde and James Sumsion remained good friends and competitors. W.W. Clyde and Company was incorporated in 1926 and today is part of the Clyde family of construction companies.
The Pequop Project Today
Before Brent Sumsion retired last year, he said to Wilford Clyde, “You know, we are doing a job right in the area where my grandfather and your grandfather started their first job.”
In this area, the first road done by W.W. Clyde and James Sumsion was laid almost 100 years ago. Today, that same road is being worked on by W.W. Clyde and Co. for a lane expansion and improvement.
On September 10, 2019, family members from the Clyde and Sumsion families and executives at Clyde Companies and W.W. Clyde and Co. gathered together at this historic place to commemorate the origin of where these two families came together. Today, the company they started has expanded to a billion-dollar company.
Wilford thanked family members and employees who have made the company what is it today. Attendees enjoyed a mule-drawn scraper demonstration and a tour of the construction site.
Pequop will continue to stand as a significant place for these two families and for the company – where it all began.
Attendees: Dustin Olson (President of W.W. Clyde), Jeff Clyde (President of Clyde/Geneva Group and grandson of W.W. Clyde), Wilford Clyde (CEO of Clyde Companies and grandson of W.W. Clyde), Richard Sumsion (son of James Sumsion), and Brent Sumsion (grandson of James Sumsion)