BFL Construction’s New Leader
By Dave Perry
David Eves has been in the development, commercial, industrial, residential, multi-family, medical and educational construction industries for 34 years. His experience covers a wide range of public and private projects performed across the United States.
His horizontal and vertical construction ventures to date exceed $2 billion.
Eves’ career has included positions as site superintendent, general superintendent, project manager, senior estimator, vice president, president, and senior executive management – adding value to many small and large firms over the years.
Most recently, he spent 14 years as director of construction for the Rancho Sahuarita Management Company, managing the development of more than 11,000 residential units and 300 acres for town center, commercial and industrial uses. He also served as president and qualifying party for (KB-1) ROC General Contracting licenses of the Rancho Sahuarita Construction Co., a sister commercial construction firm.
He’s also managed the homeowners association, attempting to meet the expectations of 18,000 residents. Such work requires “a different skill set than running a job site or a construction company,” Eves said. “I learned a lot.”
“Not every problem was a nail, and it didn’t need a hammer,” he said. It taught him “a different way of approaching and managing. It broadened my gaze on different ways to manage and lead.”
That broader gaze helps Eves in his new role as president of BFL Construction, where he’s working every day to build upon BFL’s 50-year foundation of excellence in a dynamic, challenging industry fraught with challenges. It’s a huge responsibility, he acknowledges. But he’s putting his experience, and his desire “to learn something new every day,” to BFL’s benefit.
“The stakes are high, and people are entrusting you, your company, your people with millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars that are invested to deliver on something, everything from safety, to timing, to managing the budgets, managing clients’ expectations, managing relationships with the trade partners, and municipalities,” he said.
It’s a heavy lift for this father of five, who can’t identify what he does for fun. “That’s a good question,” he said. “Not enough. Check the box; needs improvement in that department. I enjoy what we do here at BFL, balancing the home life to the career is important.”
Eves always seeks improvement, and relishes a challenge.
He grew up near Louisville, Ky., and came to Tucson in 1981, when about 385,000 people called the region home.
“In the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, Pima County … was a tough place for a young person to start out and to make a living, particularly within the construction industry,” Eves said. “As an aspiring young superintendent, I wanted to go build larger projects.”
That desire took him to Seattle, Austin, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana, building large commercial and publicly funded projects. He enjoyed the instant gratification in a project well done, but finds the real reward in the soft side of construction, the “underlying ripple of the benefit to the community” that a building gives to a place, when it is “being used for its intended use, the lives that it’s bettering, and what it’s bettering for the community. Those are the primary rewards.”
BFL Construction Founder Garry Brav lured Eves back from Louisville in 2000. After working his way through the trades, Eves was a superintendent for 12 years, then a project manager for six years, prior to joining the development of Rancho Sahuarita.
“I took off my general contracting hat, put on a developer hat,” and joined the Sharpe family, Sharpe & Associates, in 2006. Together, they built the bones of the master planned community Rancho Sahuarita, the 3,000-acre piece of ground with entitlement for up to 12,000 homes.
Over 15 years, Eves and the company developed thousands of houses, the lake, the water and wastewater treatment plants at Rancho Sahuarita, donated more than 100 acres to the school district, and promoted school bonds ultimately approved by the voters. He served on the Sahuarita Unified School District board for four years.
He jokes that he missed a meeting, so he was nominated to be the community director, managing the Rancho Sahuarita homeowners association. Eves had earned the trust of a mentor, the late Bob Sharpe, founder of Rancho Sahuarita – one of many who have shaped him.
Those mentors include Tom Chesnutt (Chestnut Contracting) Brian Barker (Barker Contracting), Michael Bowman (Sharpe & Associates), Fred Lewis (Sharpe & Associates), Richard Underwood (AAA Landscape), and Ken Sands (El Rio Health)
“I’ve been so blessed within the moment of my walk with great mentors,” Eves said. “I was full of thirst for knowledge, and aspiring to go build iconic things, so maybe I was fun to mentor. Maybe they felt I was worth pouring heartbeats into, but I’ve always tried to pay that forward, to share the knowledge and pass that on.” If they’re thirsty for knowledge, “I enjoy teaching it.” In fact, were Eves not a leader of a construction company, he “would probably have been a history teacher,” he said.
“Mr. Brav,” as Eves refers to BFL’s founder, taught Eves to pay attention to the numbers of the business. Sharpe encouraged him to get his real estate and broker’s licenses, which Eves did in 2010. He also gained insight from Buddy Kocis of Camwest Group, and Bill Hardesty back in Louisville. All have added to his skill set.
“I’m loyal to a fault,” Eves said. “I’m a big believer in second chances. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Leave more than you take.”
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