OGDEN -- Not only is Jay Wadman a builder of buildings, he's a builder of people.
That's how Keith Buswell describes him. Buswell, vice president of business development for Wadman Corporation, said his boss is more than deserving of the Wall of Fame award that will be presented to him next month by the Ogden Weber Chamber of Commerce.
"When I think about what he has done for the community, it just amazes me," Buswell said. "He has given a lot of people so many opportunities in life. I think there are countless people who would pay great tribute to Jay Wadman."
The chamber will present Wadman with the award on Feb. 4 at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center during its 94th annual dinner. The award has been given for 32 years to individuals who have made a significant impact in the Ogden and Weber County area. Some of the past recipients include Willard Eccles, Donnell and Elizabeth Stewart, Rich and Jane Brewer, Len Allen and Ed Kleyn.
"I think it's awesome," Wadman said. "Very few people in the city and county have received it and I'm very grateful that they thought of me to be part of that group."
Wadman is the CEO of Wadman Corporation, an Ogden construction company celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. During the growing years of the company, Wadman felt the need to give back some of his success to the community, Buswell said, so he began supporting organizations and events such as the Boy Scouts, Ogden City, West Haven Days, Pleasant View Founders Day, Ogden Pioneer Days, Weber State University Construction Management Program, the Weber County Fair and Enable Industries.
Wadman also renovated the American Can Building in Ogden and is responsible for raising thousands of dollars in scholarship money for American Indians throughout the country. In 2005, 2,500 scholarships were given for students to attend colleges and vocational schools.
"He didn't just give them away, though. He made the students keep their grades up and earn them," Buswell said. "He wanted them to be serious about it."
Wadman has completed 37 school construction projects for the Ogden and Weber school districts combined. The company has also constructed more than 256 manufacturing plants including Pepsi Cola, Admiral Beverage, Parker Hannifin, Browning Arms, Cutter Laboratories and Great Salt Lake Mineral Operations.
Wadman said while growing up his family was "poor as church mice" but his father, also a general contractor, wouldn't overcharge anybody. He ended up earning the nickname "Honest Ben" and Wadman wanted to live his life by that philosophy. "Naturally he wanted to earn a profit but it was equally important for him to be proud of the things he built and the reputation he built along with them," Wadman said.
Buswell said Wadman's father would be proud.
"He runs a top notch company," Buswell said. "Wadman Corporation has consistently been one of the top contractors in the state of Utah and one of the top 400 in the nation. Not only does he build buildings, he builds people. We are thrilled he is receiving this much-earned award."