After 38 years in business, Bill and Nancy Bryant are retiring, and they are passing the reins to Christopher Bryant and Robert Paugh. The progression is a natural one, as both men have already been a driving force behind the company and in the community for many years. Christopher has 27 years with the company, and Robert has 17. They share a vision for the company and a love of service to the community.
Outwardly, nothing will change. The company name stays the same – except for going from Inc. to LLC – and will continue to provide the high level of quality and professionalism for which they are known.
Building a Foundation
Bill Bryant is from Washington, D.C., and first worked for several national builders in Columbia, Maryland, Houston, Texas and Palm Beach, Florida before making his way to Vero Beach to work for Vista Properties. He and Nancy were married in 1977. They started Bill Bryant & Associates in 1981.
Nancy’s background in construction began when she was 16, working alongside her grandfather, dad and brother in the family business, so she had the skills and knowledge to set up the company and run the office while Bill focused on the building projects. Christopher was 13 and worked alongside them. “I started in the business cleaning up jobs,” he says.
While in high school, Christopher went to work for Babcock Building Supply where he learned everything from management to shipping to sales. He graduated from Vero Beach High School in 1986 and went to college in Colorado for a year before joining the Navy where he became a hospital corpsman, and then the Marines to serve as a field medical corpsman. He worked almost 5 more years in the military in Italy as a certified Orthopedic Technician, and then returned Vero Beach to join the family business, Bill Bryant & Associates.
“That was 1992, right after Hurricane Andrew,” says Nancy.
The timing was perfect because Bill and Nancy needed help with the growing company.
“And Rob – I still remember when he walked in the door from Connecticut in 2002,” she says.
Since those early days, the company has grown exponentially and continues to support community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Children’s Home Society, Riverside Theatre, Vero Beach Museum of Art, Exchange Club of Vero Beach, and so many more. Currently Christopher serves on the board for the City of Vero Beach Building Code Enforcement and Robert is a second-term Chairman for the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce and also serves as the Vero Beach Airshow President.
The Path Here for Robert Paugh
Robert was born and raised in Connecticut, and his introduction into construction was like Christopher’s. “My dad was building a house and he had me cleaning up, pushing a broom,” says Robert. “I always liked carpentry and always wanted to be a carpenter.”
Robert apprenticed under his master carpenter uncle and then earned a degree in residential construction from Northern Maine Technical College. He then moved back home to Connecticut and started R.H. Paugh Custom Builders.
“I remember my first job I took was building a 4’ x 5’ little front porch stoop,” he says fondly.
That grew into building high end homes and massive commercial construction projects.
Business As Usual
Bill and Nancy made the decision three years ago to retire and have used these years to slowly phase everything over to Christopher and Robert. The staff has also been with the company for many years, and so while it is truly the end of an era and the passing of a giant torch, there won’t be any wrinkles to iron out.
“For the past three years, Bill and I have been semi-retired and they have run the company, so this is a good transition,” says Nancy. “We are very happy with it.”
The company will continue to deliver quality residential and commercial construction, always supported by the determined focus to do things right. And of course, a passion for building.
“I love handling the high-tech jobs,” says Christopher. “Very careful precision work. That is the stuff I like to do!”
With great passion, Christopher describes installing massive, sensitive equipment for the Indian River Surgery Center.
“We went in on a Friday into this clean, sterile environment to seal and protect it from any dust, and then we worked all night installing a CT Scan, the X-Ray machines, and an MRI that weighs 16,000 pounds! We had to float it in on a pad of air. If you push it too hard, you can’t stop it and it will keep going through the wall! Also, since it is sensitive technology, we had to be sure we had the power exactly right.”
Working under this kind of pressure is no problem, and even welcomed.
“Like the banks where we have to work all night so they can be open on time,” says Robert.
They have built and renovated over 25 banks from Cocoa to Boca Raton through the years.
“It has been absolutely wonderful working for Bill and Nancy,” says Robert. “They have treated me like a son and have taught us to treat our employees well and respect them and give them room to grow. I was once told employees are your most valuable asset. They have lives and families and ambitions so keeping that in mind with every decision you make running the business is important. You need them.”
Longevity is on their side. “Yes, we do have longevity,” says Nancy. “People have left only because they aged out! And here we are! It is our turn aging out. And we are keeping it in the family.”
Speaking of family, Christopher has two daughters, 20-year-old Taylor and 16-year-old Megan; and Robert and his wife Anna have a son, 18-year old Ryan, and a daughter, 15-year-old Elie.
“We just wish them well and we know that they will continue to grow the company and have great success,” says Bill.
Bill Bryant & Associates is located at 1550 Old Dixie Highway in Vero Beach. The phone number is (567)-0045 and the website is BillBryantAssociates.com