Star City Six – Joseph Wendt
Transforming metal into modern, Ironhide Construction is a locally owned and operated general contracting and structural restoration company. Joseph Wendt is the Business Development/Project Manager at Ironhide Construction (ironhideconstruction.com).
Tell us a little about your business.
Our core services are general contracting and structural restoration, but we also develop phased structural maintenance plans. Additionally, we have a Pre-Engineered Buildings division.
How did you get started in the business?
Other than my first job at a grocery store, I have never had a job that wasn’t in the construction industry. My dad was a draftsman, so I remember growing up looking at plans and drawing my own designs on his drafting table. During college, I started a general contracting company, which I owned for 10 years before I sold it in 2013. I joined Ironhide to help move them into the general contracting side of construction. They had already been successful as a steel erector and it only seemed fitting that the company start managing and designing their own projects.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Especially in our industry, it’s the lack of qualified and skilled labor. Living in a city like Lincoln with very low unemployment rates already, it’s that much more challenging. When you do come across these individuals you need to be willing to do what it takes to retain them.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Starting, growing, and ultimately selling my first company. I was 23 years old when I started it and when the economic storm hit in 2007-2008, I had to completely change directions in order to find a niche that would sustain and grow the company. When I sold it in 2013, we were doing business in 15 states and growing. The grit it took to thrive during those tough years taught me the most about business and how you can do anything if you set your mind to it.
Tell us a little about your family.
I have been married to my beautiful wife Kristin for 7 years. We have a 4-year-old daughter named Makenna, a 2-year-old son named Kyler, and a newborn daughter named Kinley. We also have two miniature dachshunds, Sydney and Tiny.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
When I have one, and I’m not spending time with my family, I love anything outdoors.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I have a degenerative eye disease called keratoconus. Because of it I had to have a corneal transplant in my left eye, and will probably force me to have one in my right eye in the next couple years.
What are you the most proud of?
My family. Being able to help my kids learn and grow into their own little unique personalities is the best feeling in the world.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Take chances! You fail 100% of the time if you don’t try. The growth in a person is a result of what you learn and how you use that new knowledge.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Venue and Kinja.
If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be?
Elon Musk. I feel like he wakes up on any given morning with an idea and then goes out and makes it a reality. I want to know his process.