Atlantic Builders changes leadership Clark taking over from resigning Lee

March 29, 1996|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

Atlantic Builders Group Inc. has completed a management shake-up in which its president resigned and its chairman was appointed chief executive.

The reorganization at the employee-owned construction company stemmed from internal disagreements over management between Weldon A. Lee, its president since 1988, and four other majority stockholders.

Atlantic, the successor firm to McCormick & Co. Inc.'s construction arm, has tapped Chairman Donald R. Clark as its chief executive. After Mr. Lee's departure June 1, Mr. Clark also will become Atlantic's president.

"It wasn't so much a loss of confidence, but it had to do with how the organization should run," Mr. Clark, 60, said yesterday. "It was an issue of how to work together, and it was decided that the best resolution would be for Mr. Lee to resign."

The role of chief executive certainly isn't a new one to Mr. Clark, who led McCormick Properties Inc. before its $550 million sale to a joint venture of the Rouse Co. and Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association of New York in 1988.

Mr. Clark also was the first director of the Johns Hopkins University's Allen L. Berman Real Estate Institute, from 1989 to 1992.

The changes pave the way for Eric G. Regelin, a company shareholder and Atlantic's new executive vice president and chief operating officer, to eventually assume the firm's helm. "One of my chief roles will be to act as a mentor, so that a year or two from now I can begin to wind down," said Mr. Clark. "Hopefully this will be just a hiccup. I know there's been internal concern, so one of the other major goals is to make the employees jell as a team again."

Mr. Clark's biggest challenge, he acknowledges, will be sustaining the company's volume of construction backlog at roughly $40 million a year. Atlantic's business -- and its employee rolls -- shrank considerably in the aftermath of the local commercial real estate market's collapse in 1990. Atlantic now has 85 employees, compared with 125 workers in 1989.

However, Atlantic anticipates that its 1996 sales volume will exceed $60 million, up from $42 million last year. Most notably, the company is currently building a $20 million student union for Salisbury State University.

In the past decade, Atlantic has constructed buildings valued at more than $750 million on behalf of Church, Howard County General, St. Agnes and St. Joseph's hospitals, the University of Maryland Medical System, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Stores Inc.

Pub Date: 3/29/96

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