If you have subscribed to our magazine or visited our website recently, you have likely come across the phrase “beautiful orthodoxy.” Our ministry’s core cause, it speaks to our desire to communicate the true, good, and beautiful gospel in every article we publish.
“Beautiful orthodoxy in action” was more or less the theme of our series This Is Our City, on Christians pursuing the common good in six US regions. It’s also the theme of a new web series, titled “The Work of Our Hands,” from Jeff Haanen and Chris Horst. The series will spotlight Christians bringing truth, goodness, and beauty to their workplaces and sectors of influence. We believe Christianity has something positive to contribute to every realm of human activity, from electrical lighting to legal justice to lattes. This profile of Colorado business leader Karla Nugent is a great place to start. —The editors
“Come, let me show you around.”
As we rise from the conference table, Karla Nugent—cofounder of Weifield Group Contracting, a commercial electrical company in Denver—leads me into the pre-fabrication shop. Coils, wires, and electrical boxes are being assembled for installation. The only woman in the room of more than a dozen men, Nugent introduces me to employee Justin Hales.
“Electrical work is art,” Hales, an electrician’s apprentice, tells me. “Two years ago, they put me on the platform at Union Station. I would lay out the floors, locate everything, like a switch or outlet on the wall.
“When you turn your pipes, make them uniform—that’s art.” He pauses. “It probably goes unnoticed to the average person, but we see it. We take pride in our work.”
Nugent co-founded Weifield in 2002 alongside three business partners. Since then, the company has grown to 250 employees and has emerged at the forefront of electrical construction. For example, Weifield was behind the Net Zero, a LEED-Platinum research facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. It’s one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, operating solely on power generated at the building site.
Denver’s business community took notice of Nugent because of her philanthropy. As leader of sales, marketing, and human resources, she’s created a culture of generosity at Weifield. The company donates to more than 30 nonprofits in the city, including organizations that support women, veterans, at-risk youth, and the urban poor. Employees join in the generosity as well, taking bike rides to raise money for MS and building houses for Habitat for Humanity on company time.
In 2014, Nugent won the Denver Business Journal’s Corporate Citizen of the Year Award as well as the award for Outstanding Woman in Business for architects, engineers, and construction.
But light began to flood into Weifield when, several years ago, Nugent decided to bring the community’s needs into the company. After seeing growing income inequality in Denver, she created the Weifield Group apprenticeship program.
Becoming an Apprentice
Scott Ammon, a journeyman electrician at Weifield Group, joined the Army after high school. After serving in Desert Storm and four years in the Middle East, he worked for 11 years in the US Postal Service. “I’d actually been suffering from PTSD while I was there,” Ammon tells me. As a result, he “jumped into a pretty bad coke and meth addiction.” To get treatment, Ammon spent two years at the Stout Street Foundation, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility.