March 30th marks Pinkard Construction's 60th anniversary, a milestone few companies have reached. In 1962, James W. Pinkard (known to his employees as Jay or JWP) founded his company, believing that working hard for your clients and striving for excellence was the right way to do business. As he put it, "The harder you work, the luckier you get."
Today, his son, Jim Pinkard, has announced his retirement after many years of service and is looking back at all that has been accomplished and all there is yet to do. He says that he admires how Pinkard Construction has always innovated to keep a competitive edge. At the company's founding, self-performance was a key differentiator.
"Owning and utilizing this equipment and the manpower to perform this work was a competitive edge since much of the work at that time was competitively bid," said Pinkard.
Now, the company excels at utilizing building techniques that streamline the building process. Pinkard says he is incredibly proud of the way his employees innovate.
"Pinkard Construction was the first to utilize flying deck forms which were originally made using steel beams before aluma joist systems were available. Senior and affordable housing projects were typically completed with mid to high-rise construction. That became a niche that remains a significant contributor to our annual revenue."
Pinkard has always responded proactively to market changes, and new opportunities as CM/GC and Design-build delivery systems became popular with publicly funded construction projects.
"[Years ago], there was a shift to negotiated projects within the housing sectors for public housing authorities and public projects as a whole," said Pinkard. "[Pinkard Construction] developed those markets building maintenance facilities, public recreation centers, and university projects for community colleges and higher education projects throughout the state. These markets are still a prominent niche for Pinkard."
Pinkard maintains that, primarily, the company's people and family-oriented culture is what has helped fuel its success.
"The culture remained very family-oriented and continues to this day. Paula Kafer, my sister, was our office manager and corporate secretary for over 30 years. But more importantly, she was a torchbearer for our family-oriented culture," he said. "She knew the names of everyone's wives, husbands, and children throughout the company because she cared deeply for all the employees."
Kafer, who passed away in 2013, prioritized JWP's people-first attitude in running his company. There are countless examples where employees' expenses or medical bills were taken care of quietly behind the scenes.
"Employees were family," Pinkard said. "There was never a project they wouldn't tackle regardless of complexity or size. He surrounded himself with peers that shared his work ethic. The company's stable of quality superintendents is a great example. They were able to find less expensive ways to build to gain a competitive edge."
Pinkard says his father took great pride in being a builder and was very proud of the projects he built as a superintendent, like the historic Denver Mint and St. John's Episcopal Church in Denver.
"He was an orphan with an 8th-grade education. He was a savvy deal maker. He was a family man,” said Pinkard. “Above all else he was humble. The early company was absolutely a reflection of him and his work ethic.”
Jim Pinkard became president in 1985, then became CEO from 2017 onward. He says he sees great things continuing for the organization, "That example continues to remind us to this day who we are and how we conduct business. My dad liked to say, 'Do something right, and someone may hear about it. Do something wrong, and everyone will know tomorrow.'"
Just like JWP, Pinkard Builds. With over 33 million square feet of construction with a combined value of over $3.6 Billion, Pinkard looks forward to seeing how the new company leadership grows the company and its people.