August 12, 2011

Four on Friday: Gary Parkes

Field measures by day and fox trot by night. This week’s Four on Friday guest, Gary Parkes, can do it all. As executive vice president with The Parkes Companies, Inc., Gary is helping carry on the business with his two brothers that his father started over 33 years ago. With a leadership team passionate about innovation, The Parkes Companies offers a comprehensive range of building and development resources. Gary and his team turn to Hartman Simons for everything from land control documents to leasing agreements. Read on to learn more about trends in the construction and development industry and what moves Gary across the dance floor. (Gary pictured below!)

Gary Parkes HS:  Describe the company platform.

GP:  We are more than a construction company. We have a comprehensive range of expert building and development resources. We operate as a building contractor, site contractor, and joint venture developer.  We can offer our services “a la carte,” but many of our clients hire us for complex design-build and development projects. We have an in-depth knowledge of design, construction and development, in addition to offering single-source convenience and accountability.

HS: What are some of the advantages of the design-build process?

GP:  In our over 30 years of experience, we noticed many developers struggling with site-work. They have difficulty getting a handle on costs early to make prudent decisions and completing projects within budget. In order to do a better job, we decided it was important to offer our clients turn-key design-build services in the site development area. This helps us guarantee budgets early, with a minimum of engineering expense. We have a lot of internal engineering talent that help us do a better job designing, estimating and forecasting, so our clients can make more informed decisions.

HS: What construction trends have you seen over the past few years?

GP: During the Great Recession, the larger private projects, like large shopping centers and mixed-use developments, virtually disappeared.  The majority of private construction was in small and single-tenant projects. While some of the larger private projects are still slow to return, we are seeing continued health in the smaller stand-alone projects.

HS: What keeps you busy outside the world of construction and development?

GP: I have recently gotten into ballroom dancing. It was originally a gift for my wife for her 50th birthday, but I’m really enjoying it too. My coach and I recently participated in the Volunteer State Dance Challenge. We competed in the American Smooth division which included the waltz, tango, fox trot and the Viennese waltz. To all the guys out there, don’t be afraid to try it. It is a blast, and the women are extraordinarily talented and beautiful too. (Don’t tell my wife I said that!  Wait, I’m had – she was there!)


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