In 1911, David S. Warfel started out with a toolbox and a dream. Little did he know that a century and three generations later, the modest, two-man operation he founded would become one of the most successful and well respected contracting firms in central Pennsylvania. The past 100 years have brought about many changes for Warfel, with each decade presenting its own challenges and fortunes. D.S. Warfel laid the strong foundation for the company with a focus on providing quality construction with professionalism, honesty and integrity. A century later, these standards continue to guide the business.
Ralph Simpson, Matt Hartzler, Rupe Taylor, Hugh McGettigan
During its dynamic history, Warfel Construction experienced change and growth in its services and leadership. Here are some highlights that tell the story:
- 1911 – D.S. Warfel’s first construction job was a small church in downtown Lancaster.
- 1920s – The late 20s brought some very impressive projects for the young firm, including the new Pennsylvania Railroad Station in Lancaster. Built for $517,000, this exorbitant amount was almost unheard of in the area at that time.
- 1933 – The company was awarded the new Lancaster City Water Filtration Plant for $460,000.
- 1936 – Warfel’s permit was given to build the new $900,000 McCaskey High School. This was the largest high school to be built in PA at the time.
- 1936 – Warfel also received a permit to build the Facenthal Library for Franklin and Marshall College at a cost of $163,000.
- 1940s – World War II made commercial work almost nonexistent due to shortage of building materials.
- 1940s – 1950s – D.S. Warfel focused his efforts on the residential market and built over 300 homes during this period.
- 1952 – D.S. Warfel retired and handed over the reins to his son Dick and Melvin H. Peters, son of Harry Peters. Under their direction, the newly formed D.S. Warfel Associates thrived – taking jobs not only in Lancaster, but branching out to surrounding counties.
- 1950s – 1960s – This period brought about unending construction in school construction while industry boomed with plant expansions and new facilities popping up all over the county.
- 1972 – Long time employee, Ken Whitney, joined with Dick and Mel to form the present day Warfel Construction Company.
- 1978 – The retirement of Mel and Dick had Ken bring George Rakoczy and Tim Peters in to join him in the respective roles of President, Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer.
- 1987 – Ken’s retirement left the company in the capable hands of George and Tim (a third generation family member) who doubled revenues as they steered the company into the 90s.
- 1970-1980s – During these years Warfel came into its current specialties – performing mostly educational, health care and commercial work. The company also stepped to the forefront of the industry by providing construction management as well as general contracting services. Their growth included pursuing work in other states including Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.
- 1995 – Planning for the future, George and Tim invited long time employees Ralph E. Simpson and Rupert H. Taylor to join in the firm’s ownership. After the passing of President George Rakoczy in 1998, Warfel continued its history of growth and success under the leadership of Tim Peters, Ralph Simpson and Rupert Taylor.
- 2007 – After a career spanning nearly 40 years (nearly 50 if you count the early years as a waterboy!) Tim Peters, the last family member of the original partners, retired.
- 2008 – The current partnership that makes up Warfel was formed. Simpson now serves as President/CEO, Taylor, Executive VP/CFO and new partners and long time employees, Matthew Hartzler and Hugh McGettigan, both serve as Vice President.
Today Warfel, with over 100 employees, is widely regarded among the industry for its efforts in sustainable building practices, ethical standards, and providing innovative construction solutions. Partner involvement as Project Executives on each project gives clients direct access to an owner at all times, while their ‘open door’ policy gives employees the same access for grievances, problems or just catching up on family news.
Ralph Simpson, President/CEO, presents a vision for the future: “It is not our goal to be the largest contractor in the area. Rather, we plan to stay focused on the type of work we do best and concentrate on ways to better serve our customers. Complex and multi-phased projects are where we excel.” The firm has enjoyed client loyalty and repeat business, and they anticipate the same reputation going forward.
Lancaster Central Market
Warfel boasts a great reputation for employee longevity. Given responsibility and being held accountable for success and failure, employees grow both personally and professionally within the organization. They appreciate the freedom to make decisions, learn from mistakes, and grow within their positions to take on more and more challenges.
When asked to describe the value North Group brings to their organization, Matt Hartzler, Vice President & Manager of Operations, says:
“North Group focuses on leadership development. They help us to be intentional in growing as leaders. “
To learn more about Warfel Construction go to : www.warfelcc.com