A few former SeaBees with fond memories of time spent in Gulfport have returned as businessmen and engineers to help rebuild the post-Katrina area. Their company, Broaddus & Associates, is an Austin, Texas-based building design and construction program management and planning firm. They opened a small office in Gulfport in 2006 and have now expanded to a larger space at One Hancock Plaza. An enthusiastic crowd turned out to welcome the firm to its new location July 17.
Company founder and CEO Jim Broaddus, Ph.D., calls the open house one of the best days in the life of the company. “It was great,” he said. “I love the Coast and want to help it recover.”
While stationed at the U.S. Navy’s Gulfport SeaBee Base, Broaddus and his wife, Kay, lived in Long Beach. He credits Kay with Broaddus & Associates move to Gulfport, its first office outside Texas.
“She encouraged me to set up the office here,” he said. “She said you have the expertise to help them rebuild. You have to go.”
With 10 employees, the Gulfport office is run by Vince Hartmann, professional engineer and company vice president. He recalls buying his first home in the Orange Grove area while stationed in Gulfport. Other company employees who spent time in Gulfport as SeaBees include Mark Hopper, David Bowen and Tom Haggee.
‘Committed to rebuilding’
“Along with Jim (Broaddus), we’re all retired from the Navy,” he said. “We came here with no work on the books because Jim wanted to pay back to the community. We are committed to rebuilding the area, and we’ve been well received here.”
He points out that Broaddus & Associates functions as an owner’s representative to assist and manage entire projects, including design, budgets, programming, construction and repair. They assist with bidding and selection processes and interface with federal agencies as needed.
“Program management is new here and it’s different from construction management. This is not a new concept nationally,” he said. “It’s been done a lot in Texas but we are the first firm of this type here. We’re progressing and the concept is becoming better understood.”
Broaddus stresses that the company takes an owner-focused viewpoint, striving to ensure that the client’s vision becomes reality. “There are so many roadblocks to getting projects accomplished,” he said. “We make sure all questions are answered. Projects everywhere get hung up for many reasons, but more so here with all that’s involved with rebuilding. Staying up to date with federal regulations and keeping budgets under control are part of what we do.”
The firm is managing municipal work and vertical construction for the cities of Pass Christian, Gulfport and Moss Point along with restoration of Gulfport’s small craft harbor in Jones Park. It has also done some work for Tradition, a planned community development north of Biloxi, and the University of Southern Mississippi’s Coast campus.
“We allow clients to do what they do best, such as run the operations of a city, while we help them manage projects,” Hartmann said. “That’s what we do best.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at email@example.com.