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Greenville Business Magazine

#25 - Harper Corp.

Nov 01, 2017 11:04AM ● By Emily Stevenson
#25 Harper Corp. 
Greenville, S.C.
David Wise, President

Harper Corp. is a full-service construction management and general contracting firm. Founded in 1950, the firm has its corporate headquarters in Greenville and four other locations in South Carolina and North Carolina. Harper Corp. provides the Southeast with industrial, environmental, health care, retail, commercial, and institutional services.

What are the keys to your company’s rapid growth?
I know it is unusual for a 3rd generation family-held business to be on your list. The Harper family laid a solid foundation over the years, and we are now able to advance powerfully into the future. The biggest key to our growth is our culture and the strength of our team. Our people and their performance have positioned us well to serve our clients with excellence, and as a result we have more and more opportunities to pursue. Great work results in more work. Our team and our culture have also enabled us to find and retain talented construction professionals who we empower to perform their responsibilities well.

What do you see as your company’s greatest opportunities in the future?
We continue to grow and nurture our people and their abilities to meet our client’s expectations with excellence throughout the process, from preconstruction services to the actual construction of their project. We create an environment where our people can continually grow in their experience and their skills. We develop a mastery of modern technologies to enable people to more effectively produce the desired outcome for our clients.  

What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
(1) Managing opportunities and our capacity – making certain that as we grow, we maintain our culture and that we maintain excellence in serving our clients. It comes down to having the right people in the right places. Integrating new talent into our team in a positive manner is a point of emphasis. (2) Skilled work force is being stretched in this active market. Developing and implementing a plan to secure and retained skilled workers for Harper and for our trade partners. We are working with other trade associations to address this concern and promote the benefits of a career in construction. 

What advice can you offer someone just starting a business?
(1) Your character is your most important asset. All businesses transact in trust. (2) Perseverance and hustle makes up for mistakes. (3) Humility to recognize that you will need the help and support of others.

What is your strategy for innovation?
We wish to remain on the leading edge of innovation in the construction industry. Virtual building, project management software, and mobile technologies are becoming more common today, and we are engaging the talent to assist us in taking advantage of these tools to expand our capabilities. 

Who do you consider to be your mentor/mentors in business?
Many people have influenced me over the years including coaches, friends, older construction superintendents, co-workers, and Doug Harper.
How many employees do you have and do you plan to add any in the coming year?
We have 187 employees and I anticipate adding approximately 10 percent to our staff in 2018. 

How is your company legally structured?
Type S corporation.