The Building Blocks of Barton Malow Culture


Building with the American Spirit: People. Projects. Communities.

Today, these familiar words inspire Barton Malow team members, educate clients on what makes Barton Malow stand out among competitors, and proclaim to the industry a commitment and responsibility that goes well beyond the construction site.

But behind those words are a century of the deeply embedded beliefs of thousands of Barton Malow team members, from leaders to laborers, who collectively built the exceptional culture of today’s Barton Malow enterprise.

And as Barton Malow continues to grow, the enduring principles of integrity, partnership, and empowerment are the recognized foundations of purpose that propel the enterprise forward with clarity and conviction.

“Building with the American Spirit: People. Projects. Communities.” — isn’t just a slogan. It’s the culmination of decades of vision and commitment, starting with the original founders Carl Barton and Arnold Malow, and continuing today.

Cultural Foundations Laid

“I had always felt that if I gave my employees a better deal than anyone else, we would always have loyal employees. And if I gave my customers a better deal than anyone else, I would always have loyal customers. If I had loyal customers and loyal employees, I felt I would never have to worry about profits.”

These words from Founder Carl Barton in a 1972 letter to Ben Maibach Jr., who was company president at the time, expressed a simple philosophy that showed the inspiration behind today’s culture.

It’s the genesis of how Barton Malow behaves today as a people-first enterprise.

“What you had to do and what you do, there can be a difference, but (Carl Barton) always did what was the right thing,” notes Chief Community Officer Ben Maibach III. “It’s been who Barton Malow is from day one and is still today.”

Building with the American Spirit

It’s the foundational concept that represents the honesty, grit, and transformational ingenuity that has always kept Barton Malow at the center of so many important industries: from steel to education, sports to healthcare, and automotive manufacturing to battery manufacturing plants for today’s electric vehicles.

“You think about our history as a nation. It took a lot of courage to come to America, to build America, to go out to the frontier,” notes former Executive Vice President and Chairman of the Board Doug Maibach. “You think of innovators. These were people of strong character who helped shape this nation. And you use the word ‘innovator’ — again, that American spirit, whether it’s developing the cotton gin, whether it’s Thomas Edison coming up with a light bulb. That innovation helped define, again, who America is and that American spirit.”

Building More than Just Buildings: Building People

At the very heart of Barton Malow is building people — their skills, their careers, and their growth as individuals.

“It is who we are, our core purpose — Building with American Spirit, People, Projects, Community, and as I say, ‘people’ is not first by accident,” says Chief Community Officer Ben Maibach III. “That is who we are … and getting our newer employees on board and understanding [that] is a tremendous asset of who Barton Malow is, our culture, and gives a solid base for a great future for all of us.”

Adds Doug Maibach, skeptics “kind of raise their eyebrows at the ‘people’ side, like, ‘Really, you build people?’ Yeah! If we don’t grow as individuals — through leadership development, through education, through passion in reading, passion in learning — we’re going to just keep doing what we’ve done. So we have an obligation as an organization to help people grow, to build people up.”

It's Not Just What We Do, It's How We Do It

People. Projects. Community. Integrity. Partnership. Empowerment. These are the six elements that give Barton Malow purpose as the enterprise builds, grows, and innovates. It describes the culture that began in 1924 and still lives on today.

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