Jim Jordon is not in the business of making mistakes.
As the president and founder of Jordon Construction Company, Jordon has positioned his team to thrive in an industry that offers little room for error.
“We don’t have an opportunity for mulligans,” he said. “With the size of the projects we do, it can only take one job to put you out of business. It’s something we are always conscious of. It’s just a reality, because we can’t rest on our laurels.”
That’s not to say Jordon and his team haven’t earned their fair share of laurels. Since starting out as a restorer of dilapidated houses back in the late 1990s, Jordon has now grown his company to become a key player in commercial construction for private, public and government projects.
Headquartered in Greenville, the company has worked on significant jobs on military bases, hospitals, offices and more. Recent works include the Naval Hospital Beaufort, Camperdown Apartments and Piedmont Hospital.
It’s been a unique arrival for someone entering an industry that is notoriously exclusive.
“The areas we’ve chosen have high barriers to entry,” Jordon said. “You can’t just wake up tomorrow and decide I’m going to work on a job for Prisma. It takes a plan and demonstrating a level of credibility before they’ll even let you come work on their facilities.”
But therein lies the Catch-22: In order to get work on a project of that size, you need to demonstrate you are capable of working on a project of that size; and in order demonstrate that ability, you need to have already worked on a project.
“Find the right mentor,” he said.
In his case, that mentor was Greenville-based Brasfield & Gorrie, one of the nation’s’s largest construction firms, providing general contracting, design build and construction management services.
“An obvious first step for us is to create opportunity and to open doors for firms that can get that first job, get that first opportunity,” said Brasfield & Gorrie CEO Jim Gorrie. “We have plenty of work that would be ideal for that — public, private, it doesn’t matter. But when you see a job that has an opportunity to include someone new to our relationship network, we need to do that.
Jordon was brought under the wing of Brasfield & Gorrie in 2015, as a part of a mentorship relationship that offered what he called “a full indoctrination into the depths of the process.”
“We could’ve been looked at just as a subcontractor to come in and perform a small area of scope, and I would’ve been happy with that,” Jordon said. “But what was decided was, ‘You know what? Your goal is to figure out how to run a company, so let’s bring you in at a high-level to experience everything that’s important to set up and expect on a project.’”
Since then, Jordon has partnered with Brasfield & Gorrie on the Greenville Federal Courthouse build and the 108,000-square-foot tenant uplift of the building at 2 W. Washington in downtown Greenville. Then there are two courthouses in Charlotte, courthouses in San Antonio and New Orleans and the $1 billion Children’s Hospital of Atlanta project, the largest health care campus expansion in the Southeast.
That’s in addition to other projects the company’s taken on, including the new visitor’s center in Unity Park, a partnership with Harper General Contractors.
From Greenville County School buildings to medical facilities to nearly every major military installation in the state of South Carolina, it’s a growing and diverse portfolio that has allowed Jordon to see more than triple-digit revenue growth in just a few years.
“If I could wrap up in a bow everything I learned from Brasfield & Gorrie, it would be that the more time we spend on the front end pre-planning a project, the smoother it goes,” Jordon said. “For us, every time we talk into a job we’ve got to be thinking, ‘Is this the right job for us?’ Because it only takes one to put you out of business.”
So far, he hasn’t chosen wrong.
“Which goes down to our goal as a small business, we have to represent for small business,” Jordon said. “As a minority-owned business, we have to represent for minority-owned businesses. So yes, we have to be conscious of where we stand.”