Alabama Construction News

JAN-MAR 2018

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

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27 N ANY GIVEN DAY, ALLEN Harris is focused and committed to getting the job done. That could be leading his company, Bailey- Harris Construction, working on a master-planned community he started a few years ago, The Springs of Mill Lakes, or serving numerous roles through his association with ABC of Alabama and the Academy of Craft Training. "I'm a driven person," Harris said. "I like to be doing something, and I especially like to be doing something in the construction industry." That appreciation for the construction industry started for Harris at a young age. But it didn't start with a random summer job or through the influence of a relative. It all started when he watched a construction company build a high-rise building near his home in Anniston. "I was maybe 13 years old at the time, and when I would get home every day from my paper route I would watch them and find my way over to the job site, before they would tell me I had to leave," he said. Eventually, Harris' persistence paid off. They hired him as a watchman, and then the company elevated him to other various tasks on the job. "I took to it quickly," he said. "I just liked it. I liked being outdoors and having a sense of accomplishment. I also liked working with others and seeing what happens when we all work together for the common good." From then, Harris worked every summer and school break on a construction job site, and that continued throughout his time at Anniston High School and into college. It was actually during college that he learned about the building science program from a co-worker. "I was in mechanical engineering because that was the closest major to construction that I knew of," he added. "As soon as I heard of someone being in a building science program, I immediately switched over to that program. That was exactly what I wanted to do." Harris graduated from Auburn University and its School of Building Science, afterwards going to work for a general contracting firm in Auburn. "I spent most of my time out in the field, and I can't express how much I enjoyed that," Harris said. "For me, being out in the field and being so hands-on and seeing my accomplishments— there's a great fulfillment in that." After about nine years, Harris was presented, however, with a new opportunity: partner with Jack Bailey to form Bailey-Harris Construction. Owning his own business was always a dream, and he couldn't pass up the opportunity—especially working with a friend and mentor. "I learned so much from Jack's wisdom," Harris said. "He was a WWII veteran, and from my time working with him I learned from his wisdom and character." Together, Bailey and Harris created a leading industrial and commercial contracting firm that worked throughout the southeast. After about 12 years, Bailey sold Harris his part of the company, and Harris continued to grow the business. Specializing in all types of construction, today the company represents a client base in over $200 million of construction programs. "There's a lot that goes into building and creating a business, like employing only the best people and having a good work ethic," Harris said. " What has always been so important to me as a business owner is providing jobs. Providing jobs is a big deal for the continuation of a company, and it's part of building a company to last forever." Harris also views being involved in the community and the industry as part of not only building a company to last, but also building the construction industry to last. And because of that, he's been heavily involved in ABC of Alabama, along with being a member of the governor-appointed Alabama Workforce Council and serving as chairman of the Academy of Craft Training. "My involvement with ABC has been so important," he said. "The relationships and knowledge of the industry as a whole gained from ABC is huge. These relationships are the keys to the industry, and the industry needs these companies to come together to be an active association." This year, Harris is increasing his role at ABC of Alabama as he takes over as the chairman of the board. "Since Allen joined this association, he has been committed to making sure we have the tools and resources needed to represent and better construction in Alabama," said ABC of Alabama President Jay Reed. "He's interested in every facet of the association, from membership to craft training to governmental affairs. He takes the leadership role of this association thoroughly prepared and dedicated to leaving ABC better than he found it." Just weeks into his new role and responsibility, Harris is approaching it like he does any other job in front of him: work hard and get the job done right. He's also established numerous goals he's planning to achieve before 2018 is over. That includes increasing engagement levels within the association, creating more social networking functions, growing membership and continuing to improve the Academy of Craft Training. Said Harris, "I like to see things get done, and I'm planning on getting a lot done while chairman to keep pushing ABC, and therefore our industry, forward." 2018 Chairman of the Board "There's a lot that goes into building and creating a business, like employing only the best people and having a good work ethic. What has always been so important to me as a business owner is providing jobs. Providing jobs is a big deal for the continuation of a company, and it's part of building a company to last forever." – Allen Harris O

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