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Randall Curtis: ABC’s 2016 Chairman of the Board


By Paige Townley, from ACN First Quarter 2016

A typical week for Hoar Construction Vice President Randall Curtis goes something like this: catching a flight to Texas for a client meeting, squeezing in a trip to Florida for a job site meeting and then spending the weekend with his family. But no matter how busy his schedule gets or what project or problem comes his way, his approach remains the same: listening to the needs of others and leading by example. “What’s important to me is how I treat other people,” he said. “As complicated as things can become, especially in the construction industry, if we approach it as treating people like we want to be treated, then we generally are going to have positive results.”

Thus far in his career, Curtis has achieved pretty positive results. During his 24 years at Hoar Construction, he’s managed five million square feet of projects with 53 total projects. He also successfully started a new division for the company to work with the federal government. “My success is built upon good mentoring, good coaching and great structures and systems we have in place here at Hoar,” Curtis said. “I’ve been able to partner with really good people, from my partners here at the company to subcontractors we work with, owners and architects. I was very fortunate and blessed to get this opportunity at Hoar when I did.”

Curtis got the call to join Hoar Construction shortly after graduation from college. After receiving his degree in Building Science from Auburn University, Curtis headed home to Troy, Alabama, not quite sure of where—or when—his career would begin. “At that time, we were coming out of a recession and the economy wasn’t very good,” he explains. “Only one person in my class had a job lined up at graduation. But about a week after I graduated, I got a call from Rob Burton to come in for an interview.”

That interview has led to a long and successful career for Curtis at Hoar. His first job for the company was project engineer. About six months into the job, he was filling the role of a project manager. “Someone was needed to manage a grocery store project, and Steve McCord came to my office one day and asked if I thought I could do it,” Curtis said. “Here I was just out of school for only six months. But I said sure. They gave me the rope to let me either succeed or fail, and I was fortunate enough that I succeeded.”

Curtis continued to find success as a few years later he stepped into a much-needed role again. “A project manager was needed on a project in Houston, Texas, and a requirement by the project owner was that the project manager had to be on site,” Curtis said. “At the time, we didn’t really have anyone wanting to make that move. So I took that opportunity and, again, I was given the chance to succeed or fail. I was fortunate enough that I succeeded. I’ve had a lot of those types of opportunities through my career.”

In 2006, Curtis was presented with an even bigger opportunity: he was named vice president and placed in charge of project operations for the company. Soon after—facing the economic recession and looking for new markets and opportunities—the company turned to Curtis again to fill a much-needed role: starting Hoar’s federal government division. Curtis was charged with recruiting a team and implementing the steps necessary to secure work with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Corps of Engineers and the General Services Administration. “We started that division from nothing, and we were successful,” Curtis said. “With that group up and running, I moved back into my operations role and focus on providing support to our various operating divisions and our greatest asset, our people.”

The “people side” of the business is one of the factors that originally attracted Curtis to the industry. Being part of a team and working with different people from all walks of life are lessons Curtis learned growing up in a small town in south Alabama and then in the military. Those qualities, combined with his discipline and work ethic, naturally followed him to Hoar and have guided his approach to his role as vice president. “To me, a very important part of my job is to ‘be there’ for our project teams and divisions,” he added. “Being there means providing support for whatever is needed. Making sure our people have what they need to get the job done and making sure it is being done ‘the Hoar way.’ Our culture is very strong and important to our business. Our clients are not hiring the company name, they are hiring our people. Our clients and our people deserve my attention and the attention of my partners. Being there to understand the challenges they are facing and provide coaching to help them deal with their challenges is what I enjoy most about my job. Frequent flyer miles and hotel reward points are just part of the job.”

Curtis also strives to be there to help with the challenges facing the industry. A long time member of ABC of Alabama, Curtis fully believes in and understands the importance of like-minded members of the industry coming together to fight for the merit shop philosophy. “The legislative support, training and development from ABC is fantastic,” he said. But for me personally, what I’ve gotten most out of my involvement with ABC of Alabama is the relationship building in the industry. It’s unusual for a group of people who are driven and competitive to walk into an ABC meeting and all be on the same team, supporting each other and trying to improve the industry—not just our individual bottom line.”

Just like those at Hoar have counted on Curtis over the years to take on important projects, Curtis has also been called on to take on an important role with ABC of Alabama. For 2016, he is spearheading the efforts of the association as chairman of the board.

“Randall becoming chairman of the association during the first year of implementation of a new strategic plan is perfect,” said ABC of Alabama President Jay Reed. “He is vice president of a 670 million dollar company for a reason. He understands the craft worker, the office worker, the subcontractor and, most importantly, how to treat people. The one thing that stands out to me regarding Randall is that he’s wise beyond his years. At the age of 46, he has now been with Hoar Construction 24 years. That’s because he understands how to listen. In association management, it is all about acting on an industry’s need, not one company’s need or one person’s need. That has been Randall’s management style from the beginning of his tenure with ABC. I can assure you the industry will be better December 31, 2016, because I can assure you Randall Curtis is going to do the right thing for this association.”

Robin Savage, president and COO of Robins & Morton and last year’s chairman of the board, reiterates Reeds’ trust and excitement in Curtis’ ability to carry the association forward. “In 2015, we used the second half of the year for planning ABC of Alabama’s future from a strategic perspective,” he said. “There was significant effort put into establishing some long term goals that we can build upon, and Randall was involved in every step of the process. He was energetic, insightful and brought forth some great ideas to assure we had a comprehensive plan. I am confident he will take the next step in meeting these goals as the 2016 chairman. With the many challenges we have in a rising construction market, we will be in good hands with Randall.”

Those who know Curtis best have no surprise in his willingness to take on the major association role—an eagerness to help when needed is all they’ve ever known from him. “Hoar proudly supports Randall’s efforts and are excited he has been elected chairman of the board for 2016,” said Hoar’s Executive Vice President and COO Steve McCord. “Randall’s leadership capabilities have played an important role in our company. He is passionate about giving back and bettering the industry. His serving on the board at ABC of Alabama allows him to work together with other industry leaders to advance both the association’s goals and Hoar’s. He truly cares about both.”

A self-proclaimed problem solver, Curtis is ready to help guide the association. And he’ll do it just like he manages at Hoar: listening to the needs of others and leading by example. “Being from a small town, I can relate to so many of our members,” Curtis said. “I want to inspire our memberships to get more involved and be encouraged about what we’re doing. With our strategic plan, we are poised to fulfill what our members want and expect. We will address the situations facing our industry and our state and achieve results. To do so, we have to be persistent, focused and hold ourselves accountable. If we do that, we’re going to be successful.”

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