Paul Lyman

Family enterprise leans on ABC support

PAUL LYMAN - High Country Contractors and Developers

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Paul Lyman, the owner of High Country Contractors and Developers, was raised in the framing industry. Both he and his father were working for different framing companies when Paul decided to branch off on his own and start up High Country Construction in 1994. High Country grew as a family enterprise, with his father joining as a partner 6 months later, and his brother, Tom, joining as an owner several years later. Since their father passed away and Tom branched out on his own last year, Paul has continued to grow High Country Contractors and Developers into the well-rounded company it is today.

We recently caught up with Paul to see how he’s been doing, to learn more about how High Country has changed over the years and how ABC of Western Washington (ABCWW) has helped along the way.

With High Country Contractors moving completely into multifamily development in recent years, how has the company evolved over time?

Originally, we focused, primarily, on custom home framing, but as High Country continued to grow within the framing industry, we moved into much larger multi-family framing projects. At one point, we were one of the largest framing companies in Washington State. It was a very busy time and that’s probably where I acquired most of my gray hair. As the company continued to evolve, we progressed into General Contracting and multi-family renovations, which continued to open doors for more opportunities in development.

The most exciting thing that I've been able to wrap my arms around over the last decade, is development – getting into partnerships, building projects and holding onto them. Our first development project was back in 2007 and we have thrived in this area since. Unfortunately, my dad left us a couple years ago and that has left a huge hole, both emotionally and on the business side of things, but in his honor and true spirit of perseverance, we kept pressing on. He used to love to say, "We got this," and that has become our mantra over the years.  

How has High Country been involved with ABCWW over the years?

My dad was a huge supporter of ABCWW, and he really ran with that partnership. He would show up to every single meeting and convention. If they had a Business Development breakfast or banquet, he was always there with my mom and he loved being a part of it. More recently, I’ve found our partnership with ABCWW to be extremely helpful and reassuring during these distressing times. ABCWW is an organization that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.  

I really appreciate the open lines of communication, they are there when you need them. During these crazy times, we really owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude. ABCWW has been out there on the front lines, striving to support their members – from providing PPE resources to lobbying to get us back to work quickly, they have been there.

How does ABCWW’s make a difference for your business?

The overall support that I've felt – specifically, this year – would be enough to keep me a member the rest of my working days. There is a lot to be said for a company that steps up when circumstances are bleak. ABCWW has done that and we have, most definitely, been the recipient of their efforts. The Safety Retro Program checks come in every year and we distribute that money back to our employees to incentivize them to work safely, which has, in turn, really helped us keep our rate and costs low. We also take part in the health insurance trust they facilitate, which has been a big value to us and our employees, as well as, other great businesses ABCWW is associated with that have been very helpful to us. ABCWW really goes to bat for small businesses and we are so thankful to be part of their program. Our experiences have been nothing but positive and I would encourage new potential members to research everything they do and understand the benefits of being a member that have only led to positive results for High Country.

You’ve done a wide range of interesting projects. Do you have one that you would count as your favorite?

I would have to say a building my dad and I owned. It was, actually, the first building that we built and owned together. It was called Centerwood. We built it back in 2009 during the economic downturn, but we did very well on it. It was our first official venture into successful development projects and it really opened our eyes to the possibilities of future investment opportunities. It may have even been the last framing project where we pulled together our crew and framed it ourselves. Among the many projects over the last decade, that project was, probably, the highlight for me. It was a simple, little project, but it definitely has many fond memories surrounding it.