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A Discussion with Dennis Crimmins of Alamogordo, New Mexico About the Importance of Conducting Business Honorably

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Based out of Alamogordo, New Mexico, Dennis Crimmins is a veteran commercial developer and structural contractor. Dennis accepted a position with White Sands Construction in 1982, a residential remodeling firm with a track record for fast and effective work. Seeing vast potential in the company, Dennis resolved to work hard and give them his all, eventually becoming one of their key employees. After working there for four years, one day, Dennis spoke to the owner about moving up further, and very much to his surprise, was given the opportunity to purchase the company outright. He agreed, and under his leadership, White Sands expanded their operations, shifting their focus from residential to commercial development and finding much additional success after doing so.

In the ensuing decades, Dennis Crimmins has enlarged his expertise to include the building of government facilities and military installations, and more recently, transitioned into a role concentrating on development. As the owner of WSCI LLC for many years, Dennis worked in conjunction with several high-profile clients, including several well-known national and international companies, as well multiple municipal and state governments, to build commercial retail centers, 911 dispatch centers, detention facilities, and residential subdivisions, among other prestigious projects. Although he has recently sold the construction portion of the business to his children, he remains CEO of WSCI LLC. Dennis Crimmins still resides in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Why did you decide to create your own business?

For a good stretch of my career, I headed up White Sands Construction. I was fortunate enough to have been offered the company by its original founder, and so I gladly bought him out and began to re-focus its efforts from residential remodeling to commercial construction. As the years passed, the company became immensely successful—so much so that I felt very comfortable walking away when I felt the need to start my own venture. I wanted to become more of a real estate developer, and so I began WSCI LLC, which was incorporated in 2013. Since then, we have established ourselves firmly and accomplished a lot. Recently, I sold the construction division of the business to my children, and now I mainly serve as a consultant. My role focuses primarily on development, these days.

What would you tell those who are looking to get into your industry?

With development and construction in particular, a lot of the really difficult work tends to come at the end of a project. In many ways, the planning stages assume that nothing or very little will go wrong. But as you dig in and begin the process of building, unanticipated events tend to pop up. The best advice I can give for dealing with that would be to put in extra effort as construction moves into its final phases. You want to be sure to complete a job correctly—for its own sake, but also for the sake of your business’s reputation, as well as your own.

What is one important lesson you have learned managing your business and team?

Paramount to success in any endeavor is treating others as you would like to be treated. That goes for employees, clients, colleagues, and suppliers alike. There’s a reason it’s called ’the Golden Rule.’

If you could change one thing you did in the beginning of your career what would it be?

I would’ve started working with national franchised companies earlier. They’re fantastic business partners; very organized and very consistent. I think doing that would’ve reduced my overall stress while maintaining a similar income for my companies and momentum in my career.

How do you maintain a work life balance? 

The shift I made from construction to development took care of much of that problem. I have to be on-site supervising projects far less than I once did. I’ll admit, earlier in my career, I had issues with work life balance, although they were mitigated by the fact that I was able to work with my wonderful wife much of the time. Having a supportive partner who also happens to understand, share, and have a real stake in your professional goals does wonders for the achievement of balance.

What are your traits that make you a successful leader?

I’m tough but fair. I’m very organized, and I willingly accept input from others.

What was the hardest obstacle you have overcome? 

A long time ago, I went into business with someone I thought I could trust. It turned out he was the polar opposite of me when it came to conducting business, in that he didn’t mind cutting corners and doing a sloppy job if it meant making more money. I learned my lesson. From that point on, I started heavily vetting anyone I considered taking on as a business partner. I still do that to this day.

What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

Money isn’t the be-all and end-all of existence, and it pays to be wary of those who think it is.

Outside of work, what defines you as a person? 

First and foremost, I love my family. Spending time with my grandchildren brings me such joy. They’re really into Motocross racing at the moment, and as fate would have it, they spend a lot of time using a local race track I built years ago! How’s that for life coming full circle?

What is one thing you would change in your industry today if you could? 

I would get rid of the RFP (Request For Proposal). This is very corrupt, as it allows the using agency, whether it’s a city, state or federal, to pick their favorite contractor. They should not be allowed to pick a contractor because of friendships or other benefits they receive from or for that client.

Brandon Foster is a multimedia reporter. He covers a variety of topics.

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