Halifax Paving weathered the downturn in the economy in 2008 with some fortunate government contracts, and a lot of perseverance, and now look to a brighter future.
Tad and Joey Durrance are the third generation to run Halifax Paving of Ormond Beach. They started working summers for the company when they were 14. The construction bust of 2008 fundamentally changed the nature of their business. With the rebounding economy, asphalt has become the lion's share of their work compared to excavation and grading earlier in the millennium.
We sat down with the brothers to talk about their views of the business.
Everything changed when …
Tad Durrance: “The economy went bad. In 2008, we were in free fall. We were lucky that we'd bid on a few government jobs that we otherwise would not have. The county came to us and said people are so busy making subdivisions nobody was bidding. We ended up backing into three or four big jobs we wouldn't have gotten otherwise. So when we started getting the calls in August of '08 saying, 'I want you guys to stop whatever you're doing on my subdivision. Pull your equipment out,' at least we had work to do.”
My biggest fear last year was …
Joey Durrance: My only fear as how much we were going to lose on some long-term jobs.”
Tad Durrance: “It really wasn't a fear, it was more of a relief of getting out from under a couple of bad jobs from the slow times. It was good to get them behind us, and get on to some work that we had on hand.”
The best advice I ever got was …
Tad Durrance: “An effective president never has to do anything because he gets the right people in place underneath him, and everything goes smoothly. I heard that back in college in one of my business classes. Joey and I have different management styles. He likes to get out there, be hands-on, run the guys, and know what they're doing. I like to get the people out in place and say 'this is your job, run it.' If everything's going well, I don't have to mess with it. If there's a fire, I'll go put it out.”
When I was first beginning, I wish I knew …
Joey Durrance: “How to deal with your employees, and the people you work for. I learned it through running projects. I'm still learning every day.”
Next year I look forward most to …
Tad: “Hopefully the trajectory of the market keeps up. It seems like our area is in a small boomlet, between private investment and residential building coming back on line. If the cities, county and state keep decent spending, it will be great. I would love to see a decent infrastructure package like Trump was talking about.
"We're also looking forward to making investments in the company that we put off. We've gotten our paving operation caught up. Now it's time to start getting our excavation and grading operation back up to speed.”
The worst thing that happened to us …
Tad Durrance: “To lose our grandfather and father within two years of each other. Aside from the personal loss, that was a lot of knowledge that we'd never get back.
“There was a moment there when we were going to lose our bonding, which would have made it impossible to bid on government work. We made some calls and we got some people in here who were willing to take a chance on us. If was pretty iffy. It's scarier looking back on it.”
I regret …
Tad Durrance: “Not paying closer attention back in the boom, I think everyone was so happy, we were doing so well that we weren't paying attention, and the company could have been manged better during that time.
Joey Durrance: “If we lost on one job, it didn't matter because we were going to make it all back and more on the next job.”
Tad Durrance: “During the slow time, we started counting every dollar that came in and out of this place and once we did that for a couple of years you look a back on the boom years a say, we could have managed it better.”
Joey Durrance: “Tad and I learned most everything in the slow times.”
“Hopefully the trajectory of the market keeps up. It seems like in our area is in a small boomlet, between private investment and residential building coming back on line.”
- 814 Hull Road, Ormond Beach
- President: Tad Durrance, Vice President: Joey Durrance
- What they do: Halifax paving can construct any type of conveyance – bike path to interstate highway, from clearing the land to putting down the final striping and everything in between. They've built numerous subdivisions and apartment complexes, excavated 200 reclaim water reservoirs, and constructed major runways at international airports. They recently performed dune restoration and temporarily rebuilt a 1.3-mile stretch of State Road A1A damaged by after Hurricane Matthew.
- Awards: Recognized by Governor Rick Scott for their swift work on the restoration of State Road A1A in Flagler Beach after Hurricane Matthew.
- Origins: Although started by Leonard Durrance in 1955, Halifax Paving uses their year of incorporation in 1968 as their inception date. After graduating from the University of Florida, his son Tommy Durrance joined him in the business in 1975. Grandsons Tad Durance, current president and also a Gator, and Joey Durrance, current vice president, joined the firm in the early 2000s.
By the Numbers
48 Years in business
110 Employees as of January 2015
110 Employees as of January 2016
3% Increase in revenue Jan. - Sept. 2016 compared to same period in 2015
144% Increase in net profits Jan. - Sept. 2016 compared to same period in 2015