Wiley|Wilson Marks 75-Plus Year History of Federal Work

Wiley|Wilson is proud to mark the anniversary of the firm’s first federal project, for work at what was then called Camp Lee, supporting the country’s impending involvement in World War II. Here’s how it all began:

In the summer of 1940, Martin Johnson, a Wiley|Wilson engineer, was sent out to look for available war effort support work. World War II was starting to escalate and it was becoming more obvious that the US would have to get involved. That September he landed an interview with the Construction Advisory Board, a panel of industry experts who advised the federal government on key programs. According to Mr. Johnson’s account of how it happened, “Firm representatives were interviewed according to the order of registration and I had to wait in the lobby until called for the interview so I would not lose my place on the agenda. Finally, I was called in about 3:00 pm.”

The interview lasted longer than an hour and Mr. Johnson was told to check back later to see what, if any, work would be assigned. He called every week. In early October the firm got a call at 11:00 am, requesting someone be in Washington for an interview at 2:00 pm. Mr. Johnson said he’d be there and Mr. Wiley secured a plane to get him to the interview. He made it right on time, and the Board asked where Lynchburg was located. “Considering this was 1940, I think it impressed them that we got there on short notice.”

Based on that interview, the Board awarded the firm the Camp Lee (Fort Lee) work on Friday, October 19, 1940.

From the beginning, Wiley|Wilson established itself as a go-to firm that made things happen, from dropping everything to make a last-minute interview to assembling a team in record time to begin work at Camp Lee. This can-do spirit is still evident today for all of the company’s clients.