It's not every day that executives of a failing business will pick up where their former company left off, but that's exactly how The Wallick Cos. was formed.

In 1966, the late Jack Wallick and Sanford (Sandy) Goldston worked for Kesk Inc., a real estate development and construction firm in New Orleans that got into financial trouble and went bankrupt.

At the time, the company had about 10 projects under construction in the Ohio area. In order to finish those jobs, the two men formed a company with the help of the lenders and bonding companies with whom they had worked on those deals.

When the company began, it was primarily a general contractor with the bulk of its work being deals with some of the lenders that it helped bail out. It now manages more than 130 multifamily communities with 11,500 units. The Wallick Cos., based in Columbus, Ohio, consists of Wallick Construction Co., Wallick Properties L.L.C., Partnership Equities Inc., TA-Wallick Construction L.L.C., Partnership Equities Southwest L.L.C. and Wallick Construction Southeast L.L.C.

Sanford Goldson, chairman the Wallick Cos.
Sanford Goldson, chairman the Wallick Cos.

By forming their own company – which specializes in the development and management of affordable housing – Wallick and Goldston were able to make everyone with whom they had done business financially whole, says Goldston, the chairman. "No one lost anything, and we started a new business."

The original philosophy of the company has stuck with its employees throughout its business transactions: Treat people the way you would like to be treated, says the 69-year-old Goldston. For instance, in a project that the company did with National Church Residences (NCR), there was a job change order that the accounting side of NCR didn't know about, says Joe Kasberg, CFO of NCR. As a result, NCR didn't get enough funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The company didn't have enough money to pay off The Wallick Cos., so The Wallick Cos. absorbed the cost, says Kasberg.

"We built a reputation that said we were honest, that we thought enough about people who worked [with] us to make sure that they made money and that they didn't lose any money," says Goldston. "If we told somebody we were going to do something, we did it. We did contracts with a handshake."