When Albert (Al) Schellenberg took his first job with Geneva Rock after graduating from BYU in 1972 with a degree in civil engineering, he wasn’t exactly sure about his future at the subsidiary of Orem-based Clyde Cos.Photo courtesy of Clyde Cos.Al Schellenberg, 65, is retiring after serving as president of Utah’s Clyde Cos. He was with the firm for 40 years.
But 40 years later, those doubts proved unfounded. At the end last year, Schellenberg, 65, retired after serving in numerous positions, including executive vice president of Clyde Cos. and, finally, president of W.W. Clyde.
“When I first joined Geneva, I thought since this a family-owned company, there was probably limited opportunities, but I’d try it out for a few years,” he says.
“As we (Geneva and Clyde Cos.) grew, even those of us who were not members of the family started to feel kind of adopted. It has been a wonderful place to work and have a career.”
In fact, Schellenberg says he felt that many times his engineering skills and hands-on construction experience (he operated his own small contracting business to pay for school) complemented other senior managers like the previous president, Wilford Clyde, whose background was in accounting.
Schellenberg says as he continued to move up within the different Clyde Cos., he continued to learn different aspects of the business, especially early in his career.
“I started doing engineering and then estimating, then I got to know the government requirements and I was the safety officer. There was a time before we grew enough to hire specialists and so everyone had to wear a lot of different hats,” he says.
Another hat worn by Schellenberg during his 40-year career has been involvement with the Associated General Contractors of Utah. He served a term as chairman in 2009 and says a highlight of his involvement with the AGC was overseeing construction of the association’s new headquarters.
“We thought we needed about $3.7 million to build the new facility. We got some funds from selling the old building and then we ended up getting $2.5 million in donated time and materials. It was great to see competitors all come together to work on it. It was like an old fashioned barn-raising. We built it without incurring any debt.
AGC of Utah President Rich Thorn says Schellenberg was an asset to both the AGC in Utah and for construction in general. “He led our highway division and has been involved on behalf of our industry both locally and nationally,” says Thorn. “He was always very good at giving a boots-on-the-ground view of why quality infrastructure is so important in everyday life.”
Thorn says Schellenberg was always thoughtful and never forgot the human element of construction. “One of his best attributes was his dedication to people. He is an engineer and salesman, but he never forgot that it is people that make everything happen,” Thorn says.
Schellenberg has also contributed his engineering and construction talents to his home community of Highland, Utah, by serving on the Highland Water Co. board of directors and now the Highland City Water Advisory Committee. He helped transition the privately held water company to the city to increase efficiency and reduce duplication of efforts in operations.
Schellenberg says he plans to continue his civic involvement, spending time with his family and serving a mission for the LDS Church.
“I plan to take the advice of others who’ve retired—and stay busy. Not just busy fishing of traveling, although I plan to do some of that, but busy doing meaningful things,” he says.
Wilford Clyde, CEO of Clyde Cos., says Schellenberg will be missed. “He is such a talented leader and will leave huge void in our company,” Clyde says. “We are sad to see him leave, but we know he will continue to make an impact wherever he is involved.”
Schellenberg’s retirement was effective January 1. Jeffrey R. Clyde was promoted from his role as vice president of the heavy/highway division to become the new president of W.W. Clyde.