How a Partnership with USG Pays Off

St. Louis contractor TJ Wies turns Sheetrock into profit for their family-owned business contributing editor Diana Henry recently spoke with Cameron Wies, President of TJ Wies Contracting, and Justin Delk, USG Midwest Contractor Specialty Representative, in St. Louis. This is a shortened version of their conversation.

Cameron Wies: USG has always been an innovator, starting as the company that brought drywall to the commercial market. They’ve always been the leader. Being that they are headquartered out of Chicago, it’s always been a very close Midwest neighbor to TJ Wies. Both TJ Wies and USG have always had a lot of alignments overall – from their location to their core values. USG has been one of our major suppliers over the past 30 years. One of the things that they do better than most is they collaborate and they share knowledge. They really keep us informed and they keep us at the forefront of the industry.

Justin Delk: Anything that we have at USG that is innovative is driven from the end users, the contractors, by their wants and needs in the market, in their industry, and on the application and the installation side. We have a huge corporate innovation center with people that that's all they do. They try to innovate different products, innovate within different systems. And when we do come to fruition and have one of those ideas, we draw in top tier contractors like TJ Wies. We have a relationship with them, a trust and we get advice from them and give advice to them. We want to see how our product works for our customers. We want to see is it useful for them, and then what else we need to change to make it better. Without relationships like we have with TJ Wies and USG, we wouldn't be able to be as successful as a company as we are.

Cameron: Another thing that we've been really trying to be at the forefront is prefab off-site construction innovation that comes in just how do we build something more efficiently and better overall. Smart investors in construction, big buyers of construction, are definitely looking at how do we utilize prefab to make the construction schedule much quicker.

Justin: It’s about providing a solution to a need. They might need it in a special cut length, and we can provide that for them to help them produce faster. Anything we can do that separates USG from our competition on a manufacturing side is a benefit.

Cameron: We have to say yes and have solutions. And that's who we are looking for in our partners. We're always looking for good opportunities, the right opportunities, whether it be a new market or different scope that we get into. But we also try to find what can we be an expert at, where can we bring a value-add to our current list of clients and customers. What really brings more value is what really pushes the needle for the industry. We're in our fourth iteration of healthcare pods, for instance. This is the BJC Hospital in downtown St. Louis, and USG has really been helping us on finding solutions that really build in for bathroom pods and innovation there. 

Justin: What we offer as a company is a wide portfolio of products to be used in interior and exterior. And we have this array to meet the contractor needs. When TJ Wies calls up and says, “Hey, we need a certain panel for this application.” They know that we either have one or we can get them one. That’s where the relationship comes in for us. Being able to provide a solution to the wants and needs, which just helps our relationship to grow even further. It's like a family. You have to work through distribution, through contracting firms, work with architectural, work with general contractors. You have to work with all these people to make everything fit at the end of the day. And without a good team in place, and without the relationships that we have through the dealer channels and the contractor channels, none of that would work. I'm only as successful as my customers are. And without customers like TJ Wies neither USG, nor myself would be as successful as we are.