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From Trees to Streets

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At the foundation of every construction project is, quite literally, the earth upon which it is built. Whether it be industrial, commercial, or residential, it can be argued that preparing the land for the vertical building process is the most critical and complex step. Site development professionals mass grade and shape the raw land, build roads, install utility infrastructure, all while navigating a world of unknowns that exists below our feet.

Wynn Site Development, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, has been providing comprehensive site development services for more than 16 years. Founded in 2007 by Lee Smith and Tommy Brinley, Jr Jr., the company has established itself as a trusted partner for its long-time, repeat customer base. Forward planning and continued process improvement has led to steady growth and has made Wynn one of the largest and most dynamic site development contractors in the area. Lee joins me today alongside business development analyst, Michael Molinaro, to tell me the story of how it all began.

From its office in south Raleigh, Wynn Site’s operations currently extend about 80 miles in all directions. The company boasts an impressive roster of over two-hundred employees, alongside a robust collection of 235 pieces of heavy machinery and more than 100 vehicles in its fleet. Vice President Lee Smith highlights the company’s strong relationships and repeat business, noting, “We do a lot of repeat business and we’ve had some customers with us since day one. I think that says a lot about our company.”

Founded in 2007, Wynn Site Development quickly faced the challenges of the recession. Yet, according to Lee, the company emerged “unscathed,” a testament to its resilience and strategic prowess in navigating economic downturns. This ability to thrive under pressure underscores the essential nature of site development, a field that continues to see demand through all economic conditions.

Lee proudly acknowledges the company’s substantial revenue growth over the years, positioning Wynn Site Development among the top four site development firms in the region. This growth not only showcases the company’s excellence and leadership in the industry but also its commitment to providing top-notch services and fostering lasting relationships with clients.

President Tommy Brinley, Jr and Vice President Lee Smith bring a wealth of experience to their roles and remain actively involved in the company’s operations. Lee mentions, “Our customers can still call us directly if they need to.” Tommy, who has been part of the industry since childhood, oversees field operations, while Lee, leveraging his accounting expertise, primarily handles financial management. Over time, they’ve assembled a dependable core team responsible for the company’s daily activities. Lee points out, “Most of our key guys have been here for eight or nine years, so we have really good employee retention.” This strong retention of employees and customers enables Wynn Site Development to grow while preserving the close-knit, family-owned atmosphere foundational to its success. This commitment to collective success binds the leadership, employees, and customers in a shared vision.

“Wynn’s approach is about transforming land with precision and care, upholding their values—the Wynn way.”

Wynn has a history of delivering high-quality projects across commercial, residential, and industrial domains. Lee details the array of services Wynn Site Development brings to these sectors. Offering land clearing, grading, and comprehensive erosion control solutions are just the start. The company also expertly handles the installation of essential public utilities, including potable water lines, storm drainage, sanitary sewer and sewage pump stations, all managed in-house. Wynn also employs several specialty crews that focus on detailed roadway construction and soil stabilization.

Lee showcases several of Wynn Site Development’s successful endeavors, highlighting a diverse client base that includes both loyal and new customers. It’s clear that many newcomers become repeat clients, drawn back by exceptional service. Among the highlighted projects is Falls Village in Durham, North Carolina, described by Lee as one of their largest undertakings. This residential project, in partnership with Stanley Martin Homes, uniquely incorporates a neighborhood within a golf course layout. With a challenging timeline, Falls Village represents a significant opportunity for success for both the client and Wynn Site Development.

Another noteworthy project is High Grove Oaks, a development of 200 homes situated in the vibrant community of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. This project, carried out for Mattamy Homes—a repeat client over several years—exemplifies the strong, ongoing relationships Wynn Site Development maintains with its partners.

Bexford subdivision, Fuquay-Varina, NC project aerial view by Wynn Site Development
Bexford subdivision, Fuquay-Varina, NC

Additionally, the Bexford Subdivision, also in Fuquay-Varina, for the national developer Forestar, boasts 900 homesites. Kicked off in late summer, the project is progressing smoothly and is expected to complete its first phase by this summer.

Lastly, Ashby Village in Sanford, North Carolina, is a 600-lot development marking the start of a promising partnership with Matrix Construction Co. from South Carolina. Thanks to its successful progression and on-schedule performance, Matrix Construction has already proposed further collaborations, currently under negotiation.

Through these projects, Wynn Site Development not only demonstrates its capacity for handling large-scale developments but also its ability to foster lasting relationships with clients, setting a foundation for future success.

“The Skatepark in Downtown Raleigh stands out as a smaller yet equally impactful project. Initiated by the community and supported by one of our loyal clients, Stanley Martin, we proudly donated our services and time to bring this project to fruition. It demanded extensive concrete work and some demolition, culminating in a grand opening covered by local news. Our involvement was a privilege. At Wynn Site Development, every project, from large-scale residential developments to community-centric skateparks, receives our utmost professionalism and commitment to customer satisfaction. Our approach to the dynamic field of site development, marked by practicality and attention to detail, sets us apart – we call this the Wynn difference.”

Skatepark, Raleigh, NC project aerial view by Wynn Site Development
Skatepark, Raleigh, NC

Wynn Site Development is steadfastly advancing into the future, grounded in its four fundamental values encapsulated by the acronym DIRT: Dependability, Integrity, Responsiveness, and Timeliness. Lee emphasizes the importance of these values as the company eyes expansion with a strategic approach. The blueprint for growth involves attracting new clients while bolstering the workforce. Lee notes significant strides in enhancing competitive edge and diversification through the introduction of in-house erosion control, maintenance services, and the acquisition of a novel full-depth reclamation machine, or cement stabilization machine, sparking success in specialized sectors.

Moreover, Wynn is venturing into property development, taking raw land through to fully developed lots ready for builders, further illustrating the dynamic growth strategy. However, expansion is mindful, with an acknowledgment of the challenges, particularly in recruiting skilled labor. Michael underscores the ethos of “controlled growth,” prioritizing managed, sustainable expansion over rapid, unchecked growth. This philosophy ensures that Wynn Site Development can scale effectively, maintaining its commitment to excellence and delivering unparalleled service to both new and existing clients. In essence, Wynn’s approach is about transforming land with precision and care, upholding their values—the Wynn way.

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