Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on March 28, 2021.

MADISON, WI – When the pandemic arrived, Dan Fitzgerald was certain of one thing: His employee culture, built purposefully and over time, would carry Horizon Develop Build Manage through all of the disruption.

“We built a culture here that people hung onto and that helped us pull together and build an even stronger team — even though we’re spread out and working under new circumstances,” said Fitzgerald, Horizon’s president and CEO.

“We talked about trust, we talked about accountability, systems and policies and procedures that hold each other accountable,” added Fitzgerald, whose firm takes pride in annually reviewing the way it reviews successes and challenges after every project and using the information to build strong practices and teams.

Horizon’s 52 Madison-based employees work on development, construction and property management, with a focus on affordable and market-rate senior housing, and a variety of other projects.

Top Workplaces survey results this year earned the company special recognition for making its employees feel that they found a sense of meaning in the work they do. Fitzgerald said his staff values providing top-notch, safe and accessible housing for seniors — something that employees have adopted as their mission.

“The seniors are the fabric of every community … and now, they’ve moved on to the next level of their housing needs,” he said. “That allows them to be independent even longer, without the risk of injuring themselves.”

Fitzgerald said the company sends a handful of staff members to celebrations that mark the opening of every new building project, so they can meet the new residents and see their appreciation up close.

“Our employees can see the joy in the residents’ faces and the pride they have in living in a Horizon community,” he said. “When you ignite that spark in a team member’s mind, it creates a heightened sense of purpose.”

The 37-year-old company is also proud of its employee retention rates. “You surround yourself with team members who all want to be winners, and when projects win, it’s the fuel that keeps everyone enthusiastic to come back and do the next project together,” he said.

Read the full Wisconsin State Journal story here.