Huff Employee Spotlight: Meet Larry Nelson, Senior Project Manager

Larry Nelson Senior Project Manager Huff Construction Company Celebrating 25 Year Work Anniversary

Name: Larry Nelson
Title: Senior Project Manager
Hire Date: 1997

Where are you from?


I grew up in Salinas, CA and moved to the San Jose area right after graduating from high school. I have since moved to the Turlock area and have been living here with my family since 1987.

How did you get into the construction industry?


Well, right out of high school, I got a position as a carpenter at one of my friend’s construction companies. One of the most memorable projects working as a carpenter was a remodel for one of Alfred Hitchcock’s homes. I also worked on schools, banks, stadiums, and medical facilities.

What makes you excited to go to work in the morning?


I am always excited to come to work but what makes me most excited is working with our clients and fixing any issues or changes that come up on a project.

Aloft Hotel Ground Breaking: Huff Employees, Owners, Community Members, and Government Officials

What’s your favorite part about working at Huff?


One of my favorite things about my position is having the ability to problem-solve. I like to work on large and complex projects because of the amount of problem-solving that is involved. I enjoy accomplishing goals as a team and working with our repeat clients.

What is your favorite project that you have built?


It’s difficult to choose one project but I really enjoyed building Samaritan Village in Hughson, CA. I have always wanted to build a mall and Samaritan Village is in a sense, a mall. It has a post office, movie theater, chapel, stores, barbershop, salon, assisted living space, and more. I also enjoyed working on the Mercy UC Davis Cancer Center in Merced, CA because it involved building a room for a linear accelerator. Some of the walls were 7 feet thick of solid concrete!

What has been your proudest moment at Huff?


I have had a few moments when I felt really proud. One proud moment is when I earned a promotion from a superintendent to a project manager back in 2005. Another proud moment working here is when my son, Kyle, started working for Huff in 2014. Anytime a project that I am working on comes to completion I like to take a step back and appreciate all of the hard work done by the Huff Team and the great subcontractors that work with us. It’s truly a team effort when it comes to building.

What sets Huff employees apart from people working at other companies? Are there certain personality traits or skills that do well at Huff?


What really sets us apart is that the owners of Huff Construction, Gary Huff and Brad Ardis, are deeply involved in every aspect of the company and they truly care about their employees and clients. They shape our company culture by setting high standards and leading by example. Their leadership translates to employees with an incredible work ethic and attitude. We truly work as a team and nobody is trying to climb over somebody else to get to the top which is prevalent in larger corporate settings.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?


I like to work on things around my house, fishing for bass, and I also love traveling with my wife. We really enjoyed traveling to Thailand for one of our son’s wedding and also traveling to Italy which we visited in 2018. I look forward to going on many more trips.

From left to right: Gary Huff (CEO), Duane Huff (Founder), Dave Royalty (Retired Superintendent), Larry Nelson (Project Manager)

Huff Team Work Anniversaries

We are thankful for the following team members who recently celebrated their work anniversaries with our company:

 

Michelle Hayes, Project Engineer | 5 Years
Alex Aja, Project Engineer | 3 Years
Michelle Ardis, HR Manager | 2 Years

We are proud to provide our employees with growth opportunities within the company. It is important for us to build a well-rounded team and create a positive work environment. Thank you all for your dedication and hard work. We appreciate you!

We are always looking for talented individuals who can grow with our team. If you’re interested in starting or advancing your career, we hope you consider Huff Construction.

Check out our careers page to view open positions.

Women in Construction Week

In celebration of Women in Construction Week, we’d like to recognize all of the hard-working ladies who are a part of the Huff Team.

Women only make up about 11% of the construction industry workforce. At Huff Construction, women make up 29% of our total workforce.

Tracy Alicea, Project Manager at Huff Construction, has over 20 years of experience working in the construction industry and has this to say about working in a male-dominated profession:

“It has been challenging at times, especially in the ‘old days.’ Sometimes I have felt like I had to bite my tongue, and other times I’d let them have it. I used to feel like I had to really prove myself to be respected. Today, I am glad to be working at Huff Construction. There hasn’t been a time when somebody mistreated me or made my job more challenging because I am a woman. That says a lot about the culture at Huff Construction and the great subcontractors that we work with. A mantra I live by is to treat others with respect, and others will respect you.”

(Pictured are just a few of the many incredible women who work at Huff Construction)

Huff Employee Spotlight: Garrett Ardis, Project Manager

Here at Huff, we look to build a strong well-rounded foundation for employees by allowing them to learn every aspect of the business through what we call the “Huff Way.”


Garrett has been a great example of the “Huff Way.” He has had the opportunity to work his way up through various positions from the ground floor. Garrett has been around Huff Construction his whole life and officially started working at Huff in October of 2018. Before working at Huff, Garrett attended the University of Arizona, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban and Regional Development with a minor in Business Administration. Get to know more about Garrett by reading below.

Name: Garrett Ardis

Title: Project Manager

Hire Date: October 2018

 

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Modesto, California. 

What is your job and tell me about your recent promotion?
I am a Project Manager. Before my promotion, I was assisting project managers and managed manpower vehicles as well as worked on small projects. Now I am managing my own projects with an on-sight superintendent. I am now more focused on the budgetary aspect of the job and making sure the project is constructed correctly. 

What did you do before working at Huff Construction?
I worked in commercial real estate for PMZ. 

What makes you excited to go to work in the morning?
The wide variety of tasks that construction has to offer every day. Each day differs from the last which makes me excited and keeps me on my toes. I love problem-solving and every day has a new challenge to overcome. At the end of a project, I get to see a complete physical result of my hard work and that makes it all worth it.

What’s your favorite part about working at Huff?
The team! There is a good relationship between the guys in the field and the office staff. I am also lucky to have a great boss that gives me a long leash and allows me to learn and problem-solve. We are not micromanaged but we get support when needed and I thrive well in that type of environment. 

What has surprised you about working at Huff?
I always figured that the construction industry was regimented but I didn’t know just how serious of an industry it really was until I actually started working at Huff. After coming from the real estate industry, it was a bit of a change for me but I really enjoy that aspect of the job, it allows me to stay organized and on top of my projects in the best way possible.

What has been your proudest moment at Huff?
My proudest moment thus far has probably been my work on Joe’s Premium Carwash. To be able to lead the design-build process, hire the design staff, go through every meeting step-by-step, direct the team out there to build the building, and now to the point where the car wash is open and running. I really enjoyed the whole process and having a successful outcome feels good.

Joe's Premium Car Wash Chowchilla Construction

 

Are there certain personality traits or skills that do well at Huff?
Yes, people who are hardworking, passionate, thick-skinned, determined, focused, resilient, and most importantly have great problem-solving skills.

What do you enjoy most about being a part of a family business?
I have gone my whole life knowing members of the Huff team whether it’s relatives or long-time employees. I have always had great personal respect for them but I have gained a newfound professional respect for them now that I have actually gotten to see firsthand the hard work that they put in.

Why are family Businesses are important?
For generations, we have seen family businesses being important to the growth of our local economy. Economies around the world thrive off of family-owned companies. Being able to be taught by your own father, to learn from his successes and failures in business is a great opportunity to be given to anyone. To pass down those types of skills in the business world is important for future generations. 

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I enjoy golfing, watching sports, barbecuing, traveling, working out, and spending time with my animals. 

What is on your bucket list?
I would like to have the opportunity to travel to Europe one day. 

Where is your favorite place to eat?
Kimos in Maui. Kimos has the best views and the best Sashimi.

Any random facts you could share with us?
I have been playing the guitar for 17 years.

Where is your favorite place to travel to?
Tahoe!

Huff Employee Spotlight: Leroy Kinser, Superintendent | 25 Years of Building Excellence

First and foremost, we would like to thank Mr. Leroy Kinser for his hard work, dedication, and determination over the years. 25 YEARS to be exact! That’s half of our company’s existence as we are celebrating our 50th anniversary as a company this year. It is absolutely incredible to have such a great employee like Leroy and we are so grateful to have such a top-notch Superintendent on our team. Without further ado, get to know more about Leroy by reading more below.

Name: Leroy Kinser
Title: Superintendent
Hire Date: September 1996

Where are you from?
I was born in the Netherlands and raised in Tulare, CA.

What do you do at work?
I am a Superintendent

What did you do before working at Huff Construction?
Before working at Huff Construction, I had just graduated from high school and was attending Modesto Junior College.

How did you get your start at Huff Construction?
I replied to a help wanted ad for warehouse work that Duane Huff posted at the JC.

What has changed at Huff Construction since you started?
The main thing that has changed since I started is the growing use of technology.

What makes you excited to go to work in the morning?
Tackling and solving the day’s unexpected issues.

What’s your favorite part about working at Huff?
One of my favorite things is knowing that you have a solid team behind you to help accomplish the project.

How does Huff support you as an employee?
Huff supports me as an employee by trusting that I have their best interests in mind and therefore they help facilitate me achieving my goals.

What has surprised you about working at Huff?
Honestly, I can’t say that anything has surprised me. I have grown up with Huff Construction, and I have evolved with them.

Do you have a favorite Huff quote or mantra?
I have heard subcontractors compare our way of running jobs to other general contractors, and they always state that they need to do their work “The Huff Way.” Although unofficial, I believe there is a “Huff Way.”

What is your favorite project that you have built?
My favorite project that I have built is the Rossmoor Event Center. This project received several awards including:
2015 NAHB Gold Award, Best 50+ Clubhouse, over 6,000 sqft
2014 Gold Nugget Merit Award, Special Use Project
2013 Gold Nugget Merit Award, Senior Housing Community, On-the-Boards

What has been your proudest moment at Huff?
I am fortunate to have had many proud moments at Huff. From completing my first tenant improvement project for Pier One in Vallejo with Brad Ardis as my PM. To my first ground-up project at the Escalon Christian Reform Church with Bob Ott as my PM. Building the Rossmoor Event Center with Bob Ott was a nice feather in my cap and  The Rossmoor Event Center is still my favorite and most complex project I have built to date.

What do you find sets Huff employees apart from people working at other companies?
Huff Construction is the only company I have ever worked for full time so I can’t compare them to any other companies. But from what I hear, other companies don’t seem to have the sense of family or community that Huff Construction has. Our owners, Gary Huff and Brad Ardis, know and understand that life happens and that family always comes first. Because of Gary and Brad’s understanding and relatability, they are willing to be flexible which I believe makes their employees the most loyal around. I consider this company as my other family and would do anything for them, within the law of course.

Are there certain personality traits or skills that do well at Huff?
Being independent and trustworthy are the two most important. Huff Construction puts a lot of trust in our employees that are typically in charge of projects large and small and usually far from home.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I have 3 teenagers at home so we like to get out and be adventurous. We like to take our Jeep out and go rock crawling on a trail followed by camping in the forest or taking the boat out to go wakeboarding and tubing on the lake.

Who or what inspires you?
Always learning new things and my wife, Jennifer. Jennifer has been by my side since high school and as I have grown up at Huff, I have watched her grow as a person while raising our two kids while I’m usually working out of town. During our life together, she has continued to pursue and achieve her education and career goals. She recently graduated with her master’s degree in therapy and soon will be a licensed therapist. On top of all that we became foster parents to help teens find a better path to adulthood. After fostering 6 children over the course of a few years, we adopted our last one, Mr. Hunter Holt. Jennifer’s strength and commitment to family and work are what inspire me to be the best version of myself.

What is on your bucket list?
I have always wanted to fly a plane. I came close one time – Thanks, Duane!

Where is your favorite place to eat?
At home, I like to BBQ!

Where is your favorite place to travel to?
I don’t travel much but going camping and renting a cabin during Christmas time in the snow with the family is always fun.

Huff’s Summer Intern 2021

Huff’s Summer Intern

We are proud to have had Mason Anson as our summer intern this year. Mason jumped into our internship program in stride as he worked alongside our construction management team while also getting familiar with our marketing and accounting teams.

Mason stated, “As an intern at Huff, you receive the highest level of education on how to be a hard-working individual while learning what it takes to maintain a collaborative team environment. Each employee has an important role within the company, and it was an absolute pleasure to see this kind of work in today’s day and age. It was truly a unique experience that I am sure you will not find with most companies. The conversations and relationships I have made during my internship at Huff Construction have helped me take one more step into becoming the best version of myself to date.”

Mason is currently a senior at Arizona State University and is majoring in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. We are proud of Mason’s work during his time here at Huff Construction and we wish him all the best!

 

 

Happy Work Anniversaries!

Happy work anniversaries to these five #HuffTeam members:

Mike Tolhurst, Superintendent | 5 Years
Adrian Diaz, Superintendent | 9 Years
Bob Ott, Vice President | 22 Years
Will Huff, Superintendent | 23 Years
Larry Nelson, Senior Project Manager | 24 Years

Thank you all for another year of hard work and your dedication to Building Excellence. It’s incredible to note that 3 of these gentlemen have been with Huff Construction for nearly half of our company’s existence! Keep up the great work, team!

 

Huff Employee Spotlight: Connie Ruiz – Building Excellence for 15 Years

Name: Connie Ruiz
Title: AR Administrator
Hire Date: January 2006

Where are you from?
I was born in Santa Cruz, growing up in the Aptos & Watsonville area. My parents moved to the valley my senior year in high school (It was devastating…what are all these cows and no beach?) I met my husband here and we settled in the small town of Gustine.

What do you do at work?
I work in the accounting department as the Accounts Receivable and Contract Administrator but I wear many hats… and I love that challenge.

What did you do before working at Huff Construction?
I worked in the accounting department for a residential contractor. And before that, I was the office manager for a building materials/lumber yard. But my first job was as a cashier at a TA truck stop working my way up to join their accounting team.

How did you get your start at Huff Construction?
I saw a “Help Wanted” ad in the Modesto Bee. I wasn’t looking for a job, as I was already employed but not very satisfied, and I thought, why not? So I applied and I was called in for an interview and hired a few days later as the Subcontract AP admin. After my first year, I then took on a different role as the AR admin. Through all my years here, I have “played” in AR, AP, payroll, and even answered the phone a few times (the hardest role).

What makes you excited to go to work in the morning?
Huff has a great team that I love working with. Everyone has an upbeat and get ‘er done attitude!

How does Huff support you as an employee?
Brad and Gary are “real people”… I don’t know how else to better explain it and I’m thankful for that.

What has been your proudest moment at Huff?
I don’t think I have a “proudest moment” but I do feel gratification when customers and others recognize my professionalism and commitment to Huff. I even had a customer’s lender go out of his way to say good things about me to our controller at the time. Oh yea, and I’ve even received goodies from subcontractors. That’s always a good way to get in my head, with treats.

What’s it like as a woman to work in a male-dominated profession?
I don’t know any different. I’ve always worked in places where it has been predominantly men. I’ve generally felt respected and valued for my contributions to any company.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I enjoy outdoorsy things… BBQ, swimming, glamping, being at the beach or a lake with my family, and of course, being a MeMa!

Who or what inspires you?
My children inspire me… they never stop amazing me. I like to hope I had something to do with that but even so, I never get tired of watching them grow into incredible, kind, compassionate, contributing adults. Reminding me to be the same.

Where is your favorite place to eat?
I’m always up for a good, authentic Mexican restaurant that serves a great Michelada! El Jardin in Turlock is one of my faves.

Any random facts you could share with us?
Something pretty random, it always amazed my husband that I could rap the entire “Rapper’s Delight” song.

 

Huff Employee Spotlight: Tracy Alicea, Project Manager

Name: Tracy Alicea
Title: Project Manager
Hire Date: July 2017

Where are you from?
I am originally from San Jose, CA, but I moved to the Central Valley with my parents in 1989.

What do you do at work?
At work, I am a problem solver, negotiator, planner, paper pusher, budgeter, and a builder.

What did you do before working at Huff Construction?
Before I worked at Huff, I worked for several different plumbing contractors spanning over 16 years.

How did you get your start at Huff Construction?
I always wanted to work for a builder, so I took a shot in the dark and applied to an open position at Huff Construction. Luckily, I got called for an interview (which made me nervous!), and at the end of it all, they liked me and hired me.

What makes you excited to go to work in the morning?
My job, I love working at Huff! The atmosphere and comradery that our team has is incredible.

How does Huff support you as an employee?
I never have in all the years of working (I won’t date myself) been so supported, heard, trusted, and provided the opportunity to grow by a company. I feel lucky to be here and so very thankful. Huff Construction supports me in any and every way that an employer could.

What has surprised you about working at Huff?
The growth opportunities that have been provided to me by Gary Huff and Brad Ardis. I can’t thank them enough for noticing me, taking a chance on me, and providing me the path to make it to where I am today!

What is your favorite project that you have built?
My favorite, by far, has been building The Enclave at Del Rio. It was quite challenging working with several designers and owners with ever-changing layouts and finishes between each unit. That project kept me on my toes. Everyone was also such a pleasure to work with, and it was so satisfying to build their vision into a reality.

What has been your proudest moment at Huff?
My proudest moment at Huff is when I earned a promotion to Project Manager.

What’s it like as a woman to work in a male-dominated profession?
Oh, it has been challenging at times, especially in the “old days.” Sometimes I have felt like I had to bite my tongue, and other times I’d let them have it. I used to feel like I had to really prove myself to be respected. I am glad to be working at Huff Construction. There hasn’t been a time where somebody mistreated me or made my job more challenging because I am a woman. That says a lot about the culture at Huff Construction and the great subcontractors that we work with. A mantra I live by is to treat others with respect, and others will respect you.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I enjoy playing coed softball, doing yard work, and spending time with my family and fur babies.

Who or what inspires you?
My parents will always be my inspirations, but my partner is the one that inspires me the most. She reminds me always to be a better version of myself.

Where is your favorite place to eat?
I’ve got a few favorite places to eat! Dust Bowl in Turlock is my go-to restaurant (I love a great beer). Bistro 234 and LOZA’s are also some of my favorite places to eat.

Any random facts you could share with us?
A random fact about me is that I can always start a song but not finish it.

HUFF EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: MEET MARTA LOPES, CONTROLLER

Name: Marta Lopes
Title: Controller
Hire Date: July 2007

Where are you from?
I grew up in Turlock, CA and I am the first in my family to be born in the United States. My parents are both Portuguese immigrants.

What do you do at work?
I prepare and provide financial reports and data for management use. I also lead and support our accounting staff with everyday tasks.

What did you do before working at Huff Construction?
Before working at Huff Construction, I worked for a general contractor in the Bay Area as an accounting specialist.

How did you get your start at Huff Construction?
I got my start at Huff Construction as a payroll administrator. I slowly learned each role and function of the accounting department while working my way up into my current role.

What’s your favorite part about working at Huff?
I love the people; we have an amazing staff which creates a family-like environment.

How does Huff support you as an employee?
Huff has supported me as an employee by encouraging growth within the company by providing hands-on training as well as outside training.

What has surprised you about working at Huff?
What has surprised me the most is the emphasis on creating an environment based on teamwork and collaboration.

Do you have a favorite Huff quote or mantra?
#BuildingExcellence

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
When I’m not working, I love to cook, travel, and paint.

Who or what inspires you?
My family!

Where is your favorite place to travel to?
I love any place with a warm beach.