Building for the Next 100 Years

TN Ward Company
Written by Jen Hocken

In 2018 TN Ward Company will celebrate 100 years in business. During this period the company has completed a broad range of construction projects. TN Ward provides three primary modes of construction services including general contracting, construction management and design-build.
Frank H. Wilson started the company in 1918. He was a superintendent who built custom homes in the wealthy Main Line area outside of Philadelphia. Frank was a craftsman, and one of his trademarks was that he would personally provide the carpentry to frame and install the doors of the mansions that his company built. The Frank H. Wilson Company also constructed religious buildings, community centers, schools and fire houses that illustrated his commitment to quality.

TN Ward is guided by a sense of integrity and being focused on what is best for the project. This is driven by the owner of the privately-held company, David Panichi. He makes clear to all employees how important the commitment to the client and the project is while working in a highly cooperative and proactive manner with all project stake holders.

The company’s ability to tackle projects with budget restrictions and schedule constraints, yet still deliver quality results has earned TN Ward a high level of repeat business. Throughout the years, TN Ward Company has adapted to market trends and technology advancement while staying true to its core values and “constructor culture.”

Project managers use computer-based management tools for cost and schedule control and technologies like building information modeling (BIM) for coordination of installations. The company also relies on superintendents with backgrounds in skilled crafts construction to deliver the quality results for which it is known, within a safe working environment. These superintendents communicate effectively with trade foremen to ensure maximum productivity and quality. TN Ward ensures a competitive edge by maintaining the ability to self-perform site layout and control engineering, demolition, formwork, concrete, carpentry, drywall, millwork and acoustical ceiling trades.

TN Ward incorporates prefabrication for its projects to reduce the completion period and realize cost savings. The company’s approach ranges from integrating components within panelized build facades to modular box components for multi-unit residential buildings and education facilities. Interior component prefabrication has been used for highly complex ceiling structures in casinos. TN Ward has prefabricated sections of the casino ceiling in order to avoid high labor density within interior work areas. Assembling the prefabricated ceiling sections near the work area and then installing these ceiling sections has increased productivity while reducing potential safety incidents.

TN Ward currently staffs about seventy-five full-time employees, and the number of personnel can fluctuate up to 100 to 150 depending on how much work the company decides to self-perform. Like other general contractors today, TN Ward will be challenged to find talented project managers and superintendents to fill positions as current employees retire. Construction is a high stress occupation, from which field personnel choose to retire at an earlier age than other professions. TN Ward’s sterling reputation has proven to be a valuable recruitment incentive that results in employment inquiries by many who seek a career opportunity.

TN Ward builds for owners that require educational and healthcare facilities, entertainment venues, affordable and market rate multi-unit housing, hotels, industrial plants, energy facilities, parking structures, sports and recreation stadiums / arenas, retail stores, restaurants, and office buildings.

Among all sectors served, TN Ward has completed the highest volume of construction value in the entertainment sector. Casino and hotel projects, with high-end restaurants and retail stores, have enabled the company to achieve an annual average volume of construction value in the $200 million range since the 1990s. TN Ward initiated a premier builder reputation in the casino and entertainment industry when the company built the first free-standing casino in Atlantic City, which was known as The Sands. To date, the company has completed nearly four million square feet of casino industry assets including gaming / hospitality / restaurant / retail / conference / theater facilities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and other locations in the USA.

Ironically, the sector in which TN Ward has completed the second highest volume of construction value is affordable housing in Pennsylvania. The fact that TN Ward has satisfied consistently the goals of both casino operators and affordable housing developers illustrates the company’s ability to address the needs of very diverse clients. Casino operators require new or updated facilities faster in order to generate revenue sooner; TN Ward has never missed a target date completion. Affordable housing developers must build with budgets that prevail despite multi-year durations until the financing can be acquired and appropriated for construction; TN Ward budgets stand the test of time and earn the trust of non-profit developers.

Today, one of the sectors in which TN Ward is expanding is higher education, as illustrated by a recent $50 million expansion of the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering Building in Southern New Jersey. This highly sophisticated building includes a variety of laboratories and technology spaces. Currently, TN Ward is construction manager for a $20 million renovation of the University of Pennsylvania’s Richards Medical Research Laboratory. This historic building was designed by Louis Kahn, a renowned architect in the 1960s, who taught at Penn.

Sustainability is an expectation voiced by nearly all owners today and TN Ward is a leader in green building. The company has achieved LEED gold certification for buildings and is ranked among the Top 100 Green Building Contractors by Engineering News-Record (ENR).

Safety is another important emphasis of the company. “We are a company that self-performs construction, so it’s important for us to operate safely in order to stay below the 1.0 EMR (experience modification rate) metric,” says Tom Falvey, President of TN Ward Company. “In fact, we have been acknowledged by the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA) for some of the means and methods that we incorporate to ensure safety on our project sites,” Falvey stated.

The company is committed to a safe working environment and culture for all project participants and provides ongoing education and training for employees with a focus on hazard analysis and hazard assessment. A safety plan is customized for each project by the safety director and TN Ward’s project management and site supervision team.

TN Ward Company operates with a sustainable business model by being selective regarding the types of owners and projects pursued by the company. This means seeking to work with owners who present construction opportunities that match TN Ward’s capabilities, expertise and available staff for assignment. “When we find the right fit, the result is a satisfied client and the beginning of a repeat-business relationship,” said Director of Business Development, Mike Sexton. “We are in business for reasons other than chasing a growth percentage per year, which has enabled the company to establish outstanding financial strength,” Mike states.



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