The roots of WGI date back to the late 1960s, when Joel Wantman moved to South Florida to escape the harsh northern winters and to pursue his love of the outdoors. Essentially working alone, he took on a few select land development and surveying projects, all the while gaining a reputation for doing extraordinary work on time and within budget.
Before long, Wantman expanded his services and grew the business, slowly and thoughtfully. By the 1980s, the company had offices throughout Florida and more than 150 employees, including Joel’s son David. David grew up in the business, working for the company in various capacities until he entered college. As the economy and business continued to boom, it seemed like the perfect time for Joel to retire.
But how many hikes, bike rides and outdoors adventures can one man take without getting somewhat bored with retirement? In the early 1990s Joel returned to work, re-established connections with past friends, clients and business partners and once again started from the ground floor to build a business that delivers exemplary infrastructure.
In the late 1990s, Joel recruited his son David back to the business with a goal to build the new WGI and to solidify their position once again as a leader in the design consultant arena.
They were awarded the first public infrastructure project they competed for. Then the second. Soon, the floodgates opened and there was no looking back. People were hired, satellite offices were opened, and WGI re-entered the survey business by acquiring a company owned by longtime associate Robin Petzold, who still oversees that division. WGI quickly regained its position as one of the most respected, multi-disciplinary firms throughout Florida and beyond.
What’s the key to WGI’s continued success?
“We think like a big company, act like a small company, and don’t get bogged down with red tape,” says David Wantman. “And we work really, really hard.”