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Rising from the ashes, Willwork fires up a bright future

Willwork

MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce Chair Elect Bill Morse and Willwork President William F. Nixon cut the ribbon for the rededication as other invited speakers/presenters look on.

David King, vice president of operations and general manager of Willwork Inc. Exhibit & Event Services, was on a business trip across the country when he received word that the headquarters building, to which he had dedicated nearly 20 years of his career, had gone up in flames. King hopped on the next red-eye flight home to assess the situation firsthand.

What he found was devastating.

 

“There was smoke and water damage everywhere,” King recalled.

 

With the full impact of the fire still to be determined, King wondered what it would take to rebuild – and whether the company would survive.

 

He didn’t have to wait long to find out. After touring the damaged facility with William F. Nixon, founder and president of Willwork, King was stunned to receive the good news. Willwork’s staff located a vacant office space across the street, and they were already notifying customers that the company was operating normally and that their projects would continue as planned. Just one day after the fire, Willwork was back in business without missing a beat.

 

Willwork’s recovery and rebirth were marked in September at a re-dedication ceremony to celebrate the opening of company’s new, state-of-the-art 40,000 square-foot facility. Nearly twice the size of Willwork’s former headquarters, the new building (designed and

Willwork

Dave King, vice president of operations, speaks to the crowd at the rededication ceremony.

constructed by the company’s own employees) features an industrial-themed interior, an open floor plan for easy interaction, and as much natural lighting as possible. Flat panel televisions mounted over staircases and on walls accentuate the contemporary design while highlighting the company’s capabilities.

 

Adding to Willwork’s new image is the addition of partner organizations 4Productions, In4Med and Teamwork inside the new building. Willwork University, an in-house training program featuring a hands-on classroom, shop floor, and exhibit floor instruction also operates within the new building. Housing all these capabilities in one place allows Willwork Inc. to offer more diverse services to clients like AstraZeneca, Covidien, Facebook, Google, Monster.com, IBM, Nike, Reebok, and UnderAmour.

 

Willwork’s future is matched by the positive outlook for the meeting, event and convention market in Boston and Massachusetts. A January 2010 report from the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) predicted a “record number of events expected to generate $1.25 billion in economic impact” from 2010 to 2012. Despite the difficult economy, Boston had booked a record number of events during fiscal 2011, and signed the most future events at the Boston Convention & Exhibition and Hynes Convention centers since 2007.

 

Willwork

US Congressman Stephen Lynch’s District Director Bob Fowkes and US Senator Scott Brown’s District Director Jerry McDermott share a citation with Willwork President William F. Nixon from the Senator and Congressman, respectively.

Massachusetts has vaulted into the Top 10 destinations for meetings and conventions in part because of the leadership of Bill Nixon and Willwork Inc.,” said James E. Rooney executive director of the MCCA. “With this new facility in Easton, and Willwork’s strong leadership in the exhibit and events service business, we see nothing but success ahead for Boston and the Commonwealth.”

 

With a new facility and plans to increase its full-time staff by 25 percent over the next two years, the 23-year-old family-owned Willwork is looking forward to growth. The future is a far cry from the uncertainty that enveloped the company just three years ago.

 

“In business, you have to take a chance. With the destruction of the business in 2008, it might have been easy to take the insurance

money and steal into the night,” said William F. Nixon at the re-dedication ceremony in September. “We decided to renovate and here we are today.”

Posted in Northeast News
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