Wilford Clyde’s first job, as a 14-year-old, was to tend the rose garden belonging to his grandfather W.W. Clyde.

It was just across the street from his own house, but that didn’t mean the job was easy. It was, he remembers, a “really big rose garden” owned by an exacting businessman.

“He was as meticulous about his garden as he was in his business,” Clyde told me over the phone Thursday. His grandfather was a stern man who “preached the gospel of work.” He would say, “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.” A Clyde job was to be done right, on time and without cutting any corners.

And yet young Wilford Clyde thrived on the job. He thrived so much that some of the rose bushes he maintained are still there today, bearing flowers.

That garden, you could say, is a metaphor for what Wilford Clyde has done with his grandfather’s business.

Today, Clyde is chairman of the board of Clyde Companies Inc., which provides construction services in Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Arizona, with headquarters in Orem and plans to expand into other states. The original rose, W.W. Clyde, is still there, but it is a subsidiary — along with Geneva Rock, Sunroc, Sunpro, Beehive Insurance, IHC Scott, GWC Capital and Bridgesource — of Clyde Companies, providing jobs for nearly 5,000 people.

That’s a big garden, indeed.

The Salt Lake Chamber is honoring Clyde as the 44th Giant in our City with a gala dinner and celebration Thursday. It’s a prestigious award given annually to someone who, according to the chamber, has accomplished “exceptional and distinguished service, as well as extraordinary professional achievement.”

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With Clyde, the anonymous adage “Work hard in silence, let success be your noise,” comes to mind. Clyde isn’t one who seeks flashy media appearances. “When I receive this award,” he said, “It’s not just for me but for all the people who have helped build the company.”

You may not have heard of him. But it’s safe to say that without him, your life would look a lot different.  His companies build roads, bridges, dams, city streets — all types of infrastructure that people tend to take for granted. It’s there when you need it. Without it, nobody could conduct business, go to school, worship in church or tend to family matters.

But to Clyde, the companies’ mission statement, “Building a Better Community,” means more than just completing construction jobs. His list of community involvement positions is much longer than his list of professional titles, but no less impressive.

He was the mayor of Springville from 2009-17. He was on the city council from 1989 to 1992. The governor appointed him to the Board of Regents (now the State Board of Higher Education). He was chairman of the Utah Manufacturers Association, president of the Utah Chapter of the Associated General Contractors, a member of the advisory committee of the Construction Management Program at Brigham Young University, and chairman of the board of trustees at Utah Valley University, where he helped start the Clyde Institute of Construction Management, emphasizing heavy and highway construction.

The list goes on. He was president of Beavers, Inc., a national construction organization. He even co-chaired the Springville Museum of Art Annual Ball and was national president of the BYU Cougar Club. A full list would wear out my keyboard.

Having set the example, he has encouraged his employees to do the same. They have been known to serve on planning commissions, hold positions in their church, serve in professional organizations and volunteer in other ways. The companies have donated time to build parks and finish “a lot of Eagle Scout projects.”

Clyde is retired now, although he retains his position as chairman of the board. He has the luxury of being able to look back over the years since he tended grandpa’s garden.

If there has been a surprise, it is that, along with growing his own business garden, Clyde has ridden a wave of tremendous and unforeseen growth in the Intermountain region.

“I knew it would grow,” he said of Utah, where he has lived his entire life. “I didn’t expect it to explode like it has.”

Now, like many of us, he expects that growth to continue, even if the fundamental aspect of his business will stay the same. His son-in-law, Jeremy Hafen, is now president of the companies, the fourth generation of family leadership.

He hopes the original owner of that garden would be happy.

“We’re a family owned business,” Clyde said. “That’s the foundation of who we are. He led the way.”