Batson-Cook’s Randy Hall Almost Missed His Rewarding Career in Construction
Tuesday, October 4th, 2016
Randy Hall, president and CEO of Batson-Cook Construction and the newly-installed president of Associated General Contractors of Georgia, might have missed the career in construction he enjoys so much today had it not been for Auburn University’s co-op program.
“My first co-op job was with a large general contractor,” Hall said in a recent conversation with Georgia CEO. “I was good in math, so I chose civil engineering as my major. But when I got to that first jobsite and discovered how rewarding construction could be, I was hooked. I changed my career and never looked back.”
Hall’s passion for construction has only grown more intense during his three-decade career. Now, as AGC Georgia’s leader, he has embarked on a mission to ensure that high school students are exposed to the rewards of a career in construction - before they miss out, like he almost did.
During his “President’s Challenge” message following his acceptance of the gavel at AGC Georgia’s annual conference in June, Hall challenged every member firm to participate in the organization’s workforce development initiative by adopting a high school in their area and educating its students on the rewards of a career in commercial construction.
To help set the pace, Batson-Cook has adopted three Georgia high schools with construction education programs: Crimm High School in Atlanta; Kennesaw Mountain High School in Cobb County, and Hardaway High School in Columbus. “We are currently developing a plan to assist teachers at each of these schools with instruction and building materials,” he explained.
Though this is Hall’s first opportunity to connect personally with Georgia’s high school population at large, he has participated in other initiatives to present students with opportunities for the same hands-on experience he had in college. “By serving on the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia Board of Directors and attending SKILLS USA competitions, I have been exposed to bright young students who have a passion for building,” he noted.
He has also enjoyed the satisfaction of personally mentoring a young man, now his stepson, who is about to embark on his dream to become a project superintendent.
“I have counseled a number of high school graduates searching for purpose in life, but I am most proud of my stepson, Darrel, whom I met before his mother and I married. Darrel was taking a few college classes, but none were of interest to him. I knew he loved working outdoors and with his hands, so I asked him to spend a few days on the job with me and let me show him the career opportunities found in construction.
“Darrel quickly latched on to a vision of working outdoors and building buildings. He enrolled in a local technical college while also working as an intern with our company. He has since worked on multiple high-rise buildings, both commercial and healthcare, all while paying his own way through school. I have watched with delight as his leadership skills matured and his passion for a career in construction grew.
“That was four years ago. Darrel is set to graduate this year with a degree in construction management from Kennesaw State University,” Hall said.
“In my opinion, a career in construction is one of the most honorable careers in the nation today. In a world where people prefer to talk about problems rather than fix them, people in the construction industry are a refreshing change. Construction people at all levels solve problems – all day, every day.
“There is plenty of room in the construction industry for those who love to get things done,” Hall concluded. “Darrel will be a fine project superintendent one day, and other young men and women who go into construction can also do well, whether they become carpenters, masons, project managers, or estimators.”
New AGC Georgia board officers serving with Hall, a 20-year veteran of the organization, are Scott Clark of R. W. Allen, LLC of Augusta, vice president; Kevin Kuntz of McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. in Atlanta, treasurer; and Brian Daniel of Carroll Daniel Construction Company of Gainesville, secretary.