Dale and Wendy Belsley made an invincible team. The husband and wife duo of 45 years built The Summit Company, a general contractor out of Livonia, Michigan from the ground up and shared the roles of President and CEO.
It seemed they were both destined to be in the construction business. Dale had an impressive industry pedigree, having worked at prominent companies like Detroit Edison, Darin & Armstrong/Walbridge-Aldinger, and including extended family ties to Barton Malow. Wendy’s father owned TH Marsh Construction, so she grew up around construction.
Like most stories of building a successful business from scratch, the beginning was less than auspicious. Ultimately, a business disappointment led to striking out on their own and, in 1997, with their friend and partner Jerry Bell, launching their own general contracting business. While on vacation in California, during those early days, the family took notice of a beautiful mountain range inspiring a new company name, The Summit Company.
Those formative years at the Summit Company were marked by struggle as many new businesses face. They often skipped paying themselves a salary in order to pay their loyal, valuable team. Slowly they began to build the business. Early clients included Bill Knapp’s restaurants, Beaumont Hospital, Wyndham Gardens, The Archdiocese of Detroit, and Shell Oil.
Today, business is booming. This year may end up being the most successful yet. Among their projects are renovations to ZF Friedrichshafen facilities in Livonia and Washington Township, the Ward Church Welcome Center, the Robert Bosch Chilled Water Addition, Option Care Infusion Center in Troy, and Westside United Methodist Church. They recently finished large renovations and additions to the Woodhaven Retirement Community in Livonia, which Dale had been involved in the original building project in 1986.
Dale and Wendy have three grown adult children, Scott (Debbie), Kimberlee (Rain) and Jennifer (Tony) along with 12 grandchildren.
The hallmark of the Summit Company is their family values. It is undeniably a family business, as it’s not uncommon to see kids and grandkids in the office on a workday. Wendy now serves as President/CEO of Summit and their son-in-law Tony Dattilio was recently promoted to Vice President/COO. There is a collaborative spirit around the office starting with the front desk as assignments often overlap and various staff play a role in many of the major decisions and brainstorming.
Dale ran his business with both his head and his heart. Adjectives used to describe him include words like efficient, methodical, discerning, humble, just, and charitable. While his intuition and sixth sense for business were often admired, Tony has said that Dale was a much greater influence as a personal mentor, insisting on meeting every other week—even until the very end—to help build his son-in-law’s character and qualities he described as “Biblical manhood.”
Those personal values were rooted in early tragedy for Dale. Growing up in Redford, at 8 years old his dad was involved in a tragic accident which had a great effect on the family with Dale often having responsibilities put upon him at a young age.
Those early life challenges burned deep and became the foundation of a strong Christian faith and traditional values of hard work, integrity, and compassion that define the DNA of The Summit Company. With Dale’s passing, those values remain an indelible cornerstone for both the family and their construction business.