From its humble beginning in 1936, Cadman Inc. has gone from a company supplying concrete aggregates to local farmers, timber crews and the occasional road project to a well-known name in the industry.
Despite having grown to an international level, Cadman has maintained its strong ties to its Redmond roots. Cadman human resources supervisor Gwyn Hart said the company provided the concrete for many local projects such as the Nintendo and Microsoft Corp. campuses — adding that Cadman poured nearly all the concrete for the latter. This was largely due to the company’s location in town, which is not necessarily the case these days.
“There was a time when suppliers respected each others’ territories,” said Hart, who has been with Cadman for nearly 27 years.
She explained that nowadays with the recession and overall construction down, companies tend to take jobs where they can.
Cadman has also provided materials for most roadways into Redmond such as state route 520. In addition to providing ready-mix concrete for these larger projects, the company also offers concrete aggregates and building materials such as decorative concrete that could be used for decks, patios, driveways and other projects around the house.
These building materials are sold at the Cadman store on Union Hill at 18816 NE 80th St., which general sales manager Tom Whiteman said is the location of the company’s original sand and gravel pit. The original location was a farm and Whiteman said it is rumored that Cadman also used to sell eggs along with the concrete products.
While it’s just rumor, Whiteman, who has been with the company since 1987, remembers his early days with Cadman when they would receive calls from their truck drivers on two-way radios saying they were stuck on Union Hill Road because cows from farms in the area would migrate across the road and block traffic.
Having been with the company for more than two decades, both Hart and Whiteman have seen Cadman expand from the single site in Redmond to having multiple locations throughout western Washington, including Black Diamond, Issaquah, Mill Creek and Monroe. They have also seen the company through a number of owners throughout the expansion — Cadman is now part of the Lehigh Hanson company family, which is owned by HeidelbergCement Company, a major cement producer from Germany.
Hart said having a bigger company backing them helps a lot when it comes to obtaining permits and licenses because the process can be expensive and time consuming.
Despite these many changes and the international ties, Cadman is still very much a Redmond company. A large number of employees live in town and they support the local community. In the past, Cadman has painted its trucks different colors in support of the Redmond High School Mustangs, Seattle Seahawks and other local sports teams. One truck was even painted half purple and gold, half crimson and gray in support of the Husky and Cougar alumni among the employees.
“Our customers look at us as a local company,” Whiteman said.
Hart said they were fortunate to be able to maintain the local feel even when bought by companies abroad (Cadman was bought by CBR, a Belgian company, before being bought by HeidelbergCement), partly due to Cadman’s success and reputation.
“We had a good name in the industry because of how we did business,” she said.
Both Hart and Whiteman said their favorite part of working at Cadman has been their coworkers. They really enjoy where they work and the people around them. And they are not the only ones. Hart said there are a number of “boomerang” employees who have left and then come back to the company because they preferred the environment at Cadman; there are also employees who have just never left.
“It is our people,” Whiteman said. “We’ve had 40-year people. It’s a fun environment.”