Brad Burns is the president and CEO of Wayne Contracting, a commercial contracting company based in Saint Louis, MO. Born and raised in the rural Saint Louis metro area, he attended the University of Missouri – Columbia for his Bachelor’s degree in psychology and marketing. For his Master’s degree in International Business, he completed his coursework at Saint Louis University in the EMIB program. His background is in commercial real estate and commercial contracting, having spent close to 20 years in those endeavors in some capacity. Brad currently lives in Saint Louis, MO with his wife and five children and has been a lifelong Cardinals and Blues fan.
Tell us about the early days of Wayne Contracting.
Wayne Contracting came into existence in 2014. There was a hole in the market for small- and mid-sized deals that commercial organizations were looking to have facilitated. Wayne Contracting started with me traveling to various markets sourcing labor locally to help complete these projects. Growth in those days was slow and organic. I was unsure if the company would survive year one. It was challenging to gain new customers as most organizations did not want to deal with a new company with less than a year of existence. I kept pushing, working 24/7 to build Wayne Contracting from nothing. I was constantly traveling the country to complete installations and meet with potential clients. Wayne Contracting started small and was built from scratch using hard work, determination, and my own capital.
The early years were challenging, and we had simple goals the first couple of years. We were focused on surviving by providing best-in-class customer service which is something we still strive to provide today. Wayne Contracting did approximately $107,000 worth of business in 2014 and grew to $2.8 million in 2018. We complete everything from small fixture installations to décor roll-outs, up through large scale remodel and TI build-outs. We were always focused on long-term partnerships and always willing to step outside of our box to accommodate a partner’s needs. I have been and always will be directly available to the client partners we have. I would rather have a small group of client partners and cultivate those relationships long-term than have 100 different clients that equates to 500 individual projects. I believe the key to sustainable success is having integrity and standing behind that you do.
Our amazing team has grown from me beating the streets and completing small projects to a team of five people who collaborate to make sure projects run smooth and efficiently and have cultivated resources across the country of carpenters, installers, and general labor. In 2018, Wayne Contracting worked in all 50 states, 6 Canadian Provinces, as well as in Puerto Rico, and is always looking for continued growth and expansion. We look forward to continued explosive growth while building partnerships to help our clients achieve their goals.
Wayne Contracting grew from necessity and opportunity to become an Entrepreneur Magazine “Best Entrepreneurial Company in America” in 2018, ranking #337 out of the top 360 companies. In 2019, we were fortunate enough to be ranked #750 on the Inc. 5000 with a growth rate of 583% from 2014 to 2019. We were also notified that we (again) made the 2019 Entrepreneur list of “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America”, ranking #176 out of the top 360 companies. Wayne Contracting was also named the #17 on the “50 Fastest Growing Companies in Saint Louis”, which looks at financials from 2016 to 2018.
We look forward to building Wayne Contracting into an organization that is known for quality, flexibility, and partnership. Those just aren’t words to us; they are an ideology.