Building New Foundations Across the Southeast

By Cade V. Carney
Project Manager
Davie Construction Co.

In the Beginning
My career with Davie Construction Co. dates back as far as I can remember, helping out on weekends and school breaks, first as an enthusiastic kid and then promoted to Construction Laborer at 16 years old. I helped out sparingly during the summers while pursuing my Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication at Wake Forest University, where I had the honor of serving as Football Team Captain for two seasons and Running Back for four. A personal academic highlight while at Wake Forest was completing an intensive Business Management Program at Wake’s School of Business. After graduation, I enhanced my on-the-job training as a Field Coordinator with Rodgers Builders, Inc. in Charlotte. The experience gained from working with this first-class GC prepared me to rejoin Davie Construction as a Project Engineer in August 2021. I was immediately assigned to help finish an ongoing apartment complex project, then begin The Ammons at Asheville Highway multifamily housing project in Knoxville, TN. I moved to Tennessee two weeks after getting married.

Developing the Tennessee Team
Although it was difficult to temporarily leave my new bride in Advance, NC, this was the absolute best project for me to learn how to manage the construction of an 80-unit affordable housing community. I was paired to work under, and eventually alongside, Neil Pardue, a General Superintendent with three decades of experience and a known track record for successfully managing complex construction projects. Neil was already working on another job in Knoxville, so once I was settled in and managing The Ammons project, he bounced back and forth between the two sites, supporting me when the “training wheels” came off. Neil was, and continues to be, a key resource that has fostered my growth in the field.

One of the reasons this was such an excellent project for me is that I got to take part in the process of developing a reliable out-of-state team. This included finding and vetting many local subcontractors, as well as relying on known companies based in North Carolina who we trusted to effectively carry out their scope of work. Over the course of the last couple years, we have built a solid network of construction professionals whose values and work ethic align with our goal of being a trusted contractor in the Tennessee market.

This affordable housing project was partially funded by the City of Knoxville, state entities, and private investors. The regulations, permitting, and inspections processes were complicated, so it was vital that our administrative team correctly prepared all the required documentation and met strict timelines. They have plenty of experience in this area and knocked it out of the park. Onsite, we focused on developing positive relationships with the authority having officials and ensured that the inspections process went smoothly. This process can be difficult for out-of-towner’s, so doing things right the first time went a long way in quickly building their trust.

Creating a Home Away From Home
Upon learning that The Ammons project would take 15 to 18 months to finish, I realized finding a place to live and establishing a life in Knoxville would be necessary. Thankfully, my wife, Victoria, was willing to give up her position with the Wake Forest University Wellbeing Center to join me once we learned I would be having an extended stay in Knoxville. We found ourselves loving all that East Tennessee had to offer. Hiking trails, lakes, and great food stuck out as some of our favorite ways of making Tennessee home for a while. Another Project Superintendent’s wife eventually came to stay as well. The Davie Team spent time together exploring Tennessee and connecting with the local folks who partnered with us on the project. Knoxville is a football town with many activities that help cure any homesickness! Making Knoxville home has proven to be beneficial- We have been awarded additional projects by the same developer, as well as an upcoming project with new local developers.

Hanging the Light on Challenges
Every construction project, no matter how well-planned, will face issues that can impact it’s overall success. In this case, the plans called for demolition of a decrepit motel campus that had become an eyesore and magnet for unsavory activities. The local community was thankful when we demolished the four existing buildings. Still, when we found the asphalt was covered in 20+ year old cracks and water had seeped through to corrupt the soil below, we found ourselves with unanticipated extra steps of site remediation. Two feet of unusable soil was hauled out across the entire site, clean soil was brought in to fill, and we had to regrade the whole property before starting the process of our new construction build.

This time-consuming situation required immediate input from our management team to brainstorm for the most efficient and cost-effective way to go about remediation of the soil. When faced with costly issues that impact a project’s duration or budget, we address them as a team by shining a spotlight on the issue. We call the process of illuminating obstacles to management our “Hang-a-Light” procedure. This is an expedited approach in which the field staff reports an impactful concern to the project manager, who quickly updates the upper management team, including Carl, so that they can leverage their years of experience and arrive at the best solution. Solid communication practices are critical in keeping a project on schedule and within budget, whether down the street or across state lines.

A Job Well Done
We received much positive feedback from the developer who had the vision to provide this affordable housing to the community. We also received praise for a job well done by community officials for The Ammons project. Mayor Indya Kincannon, Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation, and Tennessee Housing Development Agency were visitors to the site and participated in the ribbon cutting at the opening of the apartment complex.

Asheville Highway is a major route in Knoxville, and since we now have two more projects in the city, I get to drive by The Ammons Apartments frequently. Seeing the parking lot full with tenants, the active playground and sidewalks, and knowing Davie Construction was able to help create a housing opportunity for those needing an upward boost is personally and professionally very fulfilling.

Expanding Our Horizons
Davie Construction Co. is a licensed General Contractor in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Alabama. We are qualified for licensing in 16 states. With each out-of-state project we complete, we expand our footprint and build our reputation for integrity and excellence.