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PAULSEN CONSTRUCTION

Posted - Dec. 14, 2010 at 3:02 p.m.



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This is Chris Redgrave for Zions Bank Speaking on Business.

Did you know that very few family-owned businesses make it to the third generation? In fact, studies show that 65 percent of second-generation family businesses fail, and a mind-boggling 90 percent of third generation businesses fail.

So, the Paulsen family in Salt Lake City is very unique with their company, Paulsen Construction, now in its fourth generation of family ownership.

It all started with Paul Paulsen, a Norwegian immigrant who came to the United States at the age of 19. He became an experienced woodworker and started his own construction company in 1925. His legacy can be seen in a number of apartment complexes he built that are still standing, several buildings on the University of Utah campus, public schools and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City.

Today, Paul's great-grandson John Paulsen heads the company. Its focus is now on a combination of historical restoration, seismic upgrades and new construction. Green building has been an important part of many construction projects in the last few years, and Paulsen Construction is no exception. John hires LEED AP professionals and, in fact, he recently completed a platinum building in Orem, Utah Valley Medical Clinic.

You can also see this company's handiwork in the Salt Lake Community College Student Center, the Tanner Building and Bell Tower on the BYU campus, LDS Hospital, the Devereaux Mansion, Joseph Smith Memorial Building and Keith Brown Mansion in downtown Salt Lake City. One of John's main tasks since taking the reins is to expand business beyond the Wasatch Front. He's been successful too, since it now extends into Nevada and other Intermountain states.

So what's Paulsen Construction's recipe for success to make it through four generations of family ownership? John says you must deliver what you say you're going to provide when you say you'll provide it. Otherwise you won't be in business very long, especially in such a competitive industry. The company is also known for the ability to solve problems and follow through on even the most technical details.

For Zions Bank, I'm Chris Redgrave, speaking on business.

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