Virginia-based Family Business Leverages Its Roots
Holladay Construction Co., Inc. digs deep to deliver quality for 42 years
Benny Holladay Sr. is no stranger to hard work. At age 16, he started working as an automobile mechanic for Chevrolet and quickly earned a reputation for being the best mechanic in town. Eighteen years later, he switched gears and went to work for Dynavision, a cable construction company, and rose to the ranks of head mechanic and shop foreman. By 1977, Benny Sr. decided he had the right mix of experience and knowledge to start his own company. Forty-two years later, Holladay Construction Co., Inc. has evolved into a closely held family business that prides itself on teamwork, excellence and quality service.
Located in Spotsylvania, Virginia, where Benny Sr. was born and raised, Holladay Construction Co. began as an underground utility construction company. “In the beginning, our clients were telephone companies and electric companies for which we provided underground tunneling services,” says Benny Sr., owner and President. “Over time, we started expanding our services and now also have a commercial site development group.”
A Family Affair
Benny Sr.’s eldest son, Benny Holladay Jr., started working for his father a few months after the company was formed. Throughout the years, each of Benny Jr.’s siblings—Cathy, Gary, Robert and Glen—followed suit, and today, all five children help manage the family business.
“The one thing I’m most proud of is that all of my children have created lifelong careers working for the company,” Benny Sr. says. “Several of my grandchildren have also started working here during the summers and are getting more involved with the company as they get older.”
Benny Jr. is Vice President of the 30-person company and also manages the site development division. “We provide excavation, sitework and grading for a range of commercial projects, including retail facilities, churches, restaurants and small office buildings,” Benny Jr. says. “Because we have been in the area for so long, we have ongoing relationships with many general contractors who know they can trust us to do the job right. A lot of our clients are repeat customers.”
Robert, as underground utility superintendent, runs the underground utility division, which installs electrical cable by means of directional boring, a trenchless method of installing underground cables, conduits and pipes. “We have become horizontal boring specialists from providing this service to many entities, such as Spotsylvania County’s Utilities/Public Works Department and some of the area schools,” Robert says. “One of our longest-standing clients is Rappahannock Electric Cooperative. We have been fortunate to have worked for them for the last 20 years.”
In 2005, the family further diversified its business and established Holladay Hauling, a sister company that transports oversized and heavy equipment. “We initially started the company to move our own equipment from site to site,” Benny Jr. says. “But we soon realized that other companies had the same need. Today, we have a small fleet of trucks that transports heavy equipment throughout the state of Virginia for a variety of customers.”
There is a popular saying that claims, “The family that works together stays together.” And as is frequently the case when family members unite to support a certain charity or cause due to a personal encounter, the experience further unites the family. The Holladay family is no exception; they are advocates for kidney and other living organ donations.
“Members of our family have a genetic disease called polycystic kidney disease, or PKD,” says Cathy Eggers, general manager of Holladay Construction and the sole daughter in the Holladay family. “Twenty-one years ago, my eldest brother, Benny, needed a kidney transplant. After being tested, we learned that I was an almost perfect match. Fortunately, I was healthy enough that I could donate one of my kidneys to him.”
The better the match, the better the kidney performs. And because Eggers’ kidney was so compatible, Benny Jr. has had no issues since his transplant. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the family’s only encounter with the disease.
“Another one of my brothers married a woman who also has PKD,” Eggers says. “One of our employees, Marthe Butler, who has worked for us for more than 20 years, donated a kidney to Ellen, my sister-in-law. After 10 years, the kidney failed, and Ellen went on dialysis for four years. We were blessed that Ellen was able to receive a second kidney transplant in November 2018. The fact that Marthe had only been employed with us a short time when she decided to donate her kidney tells you a lot about the kind of people we have working here.”
“We’d also like to encourage other people to consider becoming a living donor. There are so many people in need of a transplant. The National Kidney Foundation at www.kidney.org is a great resource to learn how you can help someone.”
Teamwork and integrity are key values of the culture at Holladay Construction.
“We believe our success depends on the quality of the people we hire,” Eggers says. “Because our employees are representing our family name, integrity is very important to us.”
“We always try to treat people, both our employees and our clients, the way we would want to be treated,” Benny Jr. adds. “Many of our employees have worked for the company their entire careers. We have very little employee turnover, especially in the foreman positions.”
And Benny Sr. continues to be an integral part of the company. At 80 years young, he still comes to the office every day. “I don’t do as much work now as I used to, but I do like to check on things and see who else is working,” he says with a chuckle.