Alabama Construction News

JUL-SEP 2018

Alabama Construction News is the states only bimonthly magazine dedicated to the commercial construction industry.

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27 JUL–SEP 2018 AL CONSTRUCTION NEWS Garry & Jimmy Ard by PA I G E T OW N L E Y 2 0 1 8 C O R N E R S T O N E A W A R D W I N N E R S GARRY ARD LOVES A GOOD CHALLENGE. It's what led to his passion for bow hunting, something he's done practically his whole life and has taken him all over the world hunting for big game. It's perhaps what also contributed to the establishment of Ard Contracting, Inc. Garry started Ard Contracting, Inc. in 1989, but before branching out on his own, he worked for Harbert Construction for 10 years. "After graduating from Auburn University and working for a year, I thought about immediately opening up a business with a friend, but I knew I first needed more experience, better connections and more financial options," Garry explained. "I knew even in college I wanted to own my own company one day—I've always had that entrepreneurial spirit—but I'm glad I got that much needed experience at Harbert first." During his time at Harbert, Garry was involved in numerous projects as a project manager. He started out working on projects like highway work, dam projects and bridge projects, spending a lot of time out in the field. He got the opportunity to participate in quite a few high-profile projects as well, including working on the Riverchase Galleria and Amsouth- Harbert Plaza (now known as Regions Harbert Plaza). "Garry worked with me at Harbert Construction in the early 1980s as a youngster right out of college," said Jim Rein of BL Harbert. "Even given his youth and inexperience, I found I could rely on him to tackle any task with energy and a can-do attitude. I found his energy and enthusiasm for the job at hand to be infectious and imbued those around him with confidence and respect, especially among the construction people in the field. In fact, even at that at tender age I found him to be a born leader." Illustrating that leadership, Garry—with a decade of experience under his belt—made the decision to forge his own future and start his company. "I developed a business plan, my wife and I had built and sold a couple of houses, so we had some equity, and I took a home equity line out on our house," Garry said. "With that, Ard Contracting officially started." That business plan focused specifically on commercial and industrial concrete construction, a decision that leads back to Garry's appreciation for a challenge. "Because of my time at Harbert, I had quite a bit of experience with concrete construction," Garry said. "But beyond that, I enjoyed that type of construction because it's very hands on and labor intensive." That decision, as Garry soon saw, proved to be providential. "I had just turned my notice in at Harbert and one of the subcontractors that I had done a lot of business with happened to tell me about a project he had with Eglin Air Force Base in Florida to renovate its McKinley Climatic Laboratory for the testing of the stealth bomber," Garry said. "This particular subcontractor didn't have the expertise to construct the concrete scope of the work, so he asked if I wanted to enter into a joint venture with him. That was a godsend. We started off with that project right out of the chute, and we did well with it. From there we had enough equity to push forward." In pushing forward, it was only a couple of years into the business that Garry had another pleasant surprise: his brother, Jimmy, wanted to join him at the company. "It was great when Jimmy came to the company," Garry said. "I knew he would be invaluable. I've never met anyone as diligent as him. Because of the relational problems we had observed in other companies with unequal ownership, Jimmy joined as a 50 percent partner, a decision I have never regretted." Jimmy had attended Auburn and received the same type of degree as On November 30, ABC of Alabama and Alabama Construction news will honor Jimmy and Garry Ard for their commitment to ABC and the construction industry.

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