Hello Forma Construction, goodbye Berschauer Phillips.
A new era has begun at the homegrown construction company Forma Construction, changing its name and leadership to carry forward a business that has served Thurston County and Puget Sound since 1985.
In addition to the name change, Jim Phillips, 37, son of Berschauer Phillips co-founder James Phillips, has been named president, taking on a title that also has been shared with brother Drew Phillips and Jace Munson, a longtime employee and co-owner.
Each has a one-third ownership stake in the business.
In light of the changes, including the Berschauer family selling its stake in the business, the company principals decided a name change was in order.
As part of the process they sought feedback from employees, finally settling on “Forma” because it felt “professional, approachable and strong,” Jim Phillips said.
The vision for the business, meanwhile, is to continue to build on what they do best, he said, which is to work collaboratively with its clients, not just merely bid and build.
Pat Rants, president and chief executive of commercial real estate company The Rants Group, said that’s exactly what stands out about Forma, their willingness to work closely with a client from the start of a project.
“It helps us mold a project and its gets a much better project for our tenants,” Rants said, adding that Forma and The Rants Group have worked together on about 15 projects, including Yauger Medical Park and The Rants Group’s Market Place and Market Centre buildings near the Olympia Farmers Market.
The company also was careful during the boom in construction — choosing to be patient instead of chasing everything available — and that helped them weather the recession better than most, Munson said, resulting only in a temporary drop in sales.
Munson worked for several major construction companies before joining Forma in 1998. His stint as president lasted until 2007, followed by Drew Phillips as president until last month. Phillips said he has worked nearly every job at the company, including answering the phone and cleaning up when he was a kid.
Jim Phillips studied math and physics in school, then lost interest in physics as it became more and more abstract, preferring instead the tangible world of construction, he said. After a stint with another construction company, he joined Forma in 2000.
Munson’s title is chief operating officer, while Drew Phillips is director of business development and preconstruction services.
Owners: Jim Phillips, Drew Phillips, Jace Munson
Location: 2823 29th Ave. S.W., Tumwater
Type of business: Construction company
Years in business: Forma Construction, formerly Berschauer Phillips, was formed in 1985
Offices: Forma has offices in Tumwater at Mottman Industrial Park, and in Seattle and at the University of Washington
Employees: More than 150
Projects: The company has worked on several high-profile projects, including the engineering building at Saint Martin’s University, buildings at South Puget Sound Community College, airport terminal renovations at Sea-Tac and the new Olympia Orthopaedic Associates in west Olympia. Current projects include the new Olympia Regional Learning Academy and renovations at Garfield Elementary School.
Advice to business owners: Be disciplined, be passionate, have a vision for your business but also talk and listen to your customers. “You will be alone if you don’t,” President Jim Phillips said.
Did you know? The three owners of the business have each been president. The newest to be president is Jim Phillips, 37.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org