“If you set out to replicate the Kiewit company, you could put as much capital into the business as it has. You could move into corporate quarters that rival Kiewit’s. You could even buy all its equipment and replicate its organizational structure.
But, you would not be able to build a culture like Kiewit’s.
That culture is the result of the vision of an extraordinary man, carried on and moved forward by extraordinary people. You could canvass the world, recruiting the top picks from Stanford, Harvard—you name it—and you would never replicate the magic and success that is the culture of the Kiewit company.”
—Warren Buffett, in Kiewit: An Uncommon Company
“The three best operating companies I’m aware of are Costco, Kiewit, and Glenair. There is nothing remarkable about the product or field for any of these three. But there is something remarkable about the culture of all three.”
—Charlie Munger, in a talk to Capital Group executives
A few years back - OK, maybe it was more than a few years ago, a contract was signed to construct a divided highway south of the Concho county seat, Eden, to the Menard county line.
Now, it’s perfectly normal to see highway construction projects - large and small - throughout this part of the State. What was unusual was the choice of contractor.
Our city is home to two large road construction firms and both aggressively “defend their territory” and everyone was surprised when neither company was selected for this project.
So instead of the usual red & yellow trucks running up and down the highway, there was a new name on all those trucks and the huge pieces of equipment: Kiewit.
As it happens, I travel through that section on a regular basis and was able to keep up with the progress which was nothing short of incredible.
Kiewit’s crews worked throughout the long days and when the sun dipped below the horizon, they turned on the lights and kept on working. Day after day, night after night, until the project was completed months before its due date.
It was nothing short of amazing.
But for Kiewit, it was just business as usual.
Take a look at the world-class construction firm based in Omaha and the man behind the company. A man who became a mentor to none other than Warren Buffett.