This year, the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce added the Lifetime Achievement Award to their lineup for 2023, and the honor has gone to Larry Wysong, owner and founder of Wysong Construction. Larry and his company have been building up Atascadero in the 38 years he’s been a resident. If you’ve been on a San Luis Obispo County school campus lately, you’ve seen his work.
“It’s great. It’s wonderful. I’ve gotten quite a few awards from the Chamber — Business Person of the Year and all those neat things. I’m honored to have it. It’s great,” Larry said on receiving the award.
Larry moved to Atascadero close to four decades ago from Utah, where he was raised by his single mother and grew up with four sisters in a 900-square-foot house.
“It was a little place, but it was all good. We all lived,” Larry joked about his childhood.
Larry got his start in construction back in Utah after he was fired from a restaurant job when he was 20. Larry had always thought it would be cool to be a carpenter, so he applied for a job framing apartments. The company hired him the day after, almost 40 years ago.
“[I was] making $4 an hour. I was living large,” he said. “So that’s how I got into it, and after probably eight or nine years, I decided to go out on my own. Get my license and start [working] for myself. So I started my business up in Utah.”
Work initially brought Larry to the Central Coast when he was sent here to build The Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo.
“I was going to come and live here for a year and build Apple Farm, and then I was going to move back to Utah. And, well, it’s been a long year. It’s just kept going and going and going and going. It’s been good. I like it here,” said Larry. “Apple Farm had been bought by Big Boy Restaurants at that time, and I did all Big Boy Restaurants’ work.”
Big Boy Restaurants told Larry they would build more restaurants in California, and that’s when he bought his first home in Atascadero. Three months later, Big Boy called him up and told him they were shutting down development because of financial difficulties. He added that it was a nice change of pace because when he worked for Big Boys Restaurants, he flew all over the country for jobs. He’d fly to a job for the week and then fly home every weekend with his crew.
“I decided to stay here, so I just started bidding on school [construction] work on a very small scale. I’m still doing it,” continued Larry.
Wysong Construction has done work for San Luis Coastal District, Paso Robles School District, Atascadero School District, Templeton School District, Cuesta College, Cal Poly, San Miguel, and many more. Larry’s been working in the area so long that he’s gotten to the point where he’s remodeling schools for the second or third time. Basically, if it’s a school in the county, he’s had a hand in building it.
“I have anywhere between 20 to 45 employees, depending on how busy I am,” he said. “I use a lot of Atascadero and North County sub-contractors. We keep a lot of people going at times, which is good. Everybody needs a job.”
Though he primarily works for the local school districts, Larry has also done work for Camp Roberts and Atascadero State Hospital. He also built the Atascadero Police Station and was the one who put the new foundation under City Hall during its rebuild.
“I got the honors of building the new foundation under a building that was on top of it, which, that itself, was an insane project. But it was fun, and we did it,” stated Larry about City Hall.
Currently, Wysong Construction is building the long-awaited swimming pool at Atascadero High, where Larry’s been doing work for years. He even built the main office building in front back in 1997.
“I’ve tried to contribute a lot to the community, and that’s been important to me,” he added. “I feel like I’m a part of Atascadero, and I’ve created jobs here and stuff here, and I’ve built a lot of things here.”
Between Larry and his wife, he has five children and 15 grandchildren. The whole family is local, aside from one of Larry’s daughters and her seven kids who live in Utah.
“Keeps us busy. Keeps my wife very busy,” Larry added.
In the past, Larry was president of Atascadero Main Street and was also on the board. He added that he’s excited to see the big changes happening downtown, where some buildings he owns are. He also owns the building that houses the Wysong Construction offices.
“It’s [been] a little bit of everything, and it’s all interesting, it’s all fun. When you walk away, form something you go that’s going to be there for a while,” he said. “It’s great because most of the stuff I’ve done is to improve facilities for the school kids, and that improves the community because our schools don’t need to be wrecked; they need to be nice, and that raises everything up. It’s been fun. It’s been a good ride. Someday I’ll retire.”
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