After starting Nunn Construction in May, getting our first project was not the easiest task. Soon, six months had passed without anything coming in, and Ray and Nancy were getting nervous that maybe this idea to start their own company was crazier than they thought.
For Nunn Construction as a brand new company, with no real reputation yet besides Ray’s previous work experience, bid jobs were a lifeline in trying to secure our first job. Now in the days of email and web-based online submissions, and especially for our summer interns this year, who have definitely never used a fax machine or payphone, it can be hard to imagine what it was like to bid on work in the 80s. On bid day, Ray would be at the office on the phone, filling in faxed bid numbers from subcontractors and scrambling to get the final bid number completed.
On the other side, with no cell phones, emails or text messages, Nancy would scout out a payphone that was both close to the turn-in location and which no other contractor had already claimed. She would send Ray the payphone number and anxiously wait for him to call her with the final bid number. She’d handwrite the number onto the bid form, race to deliver it to the client before the deadline, and then take a deep breath to calm her racing pulse. The client would open all the bids and read them in front of every other contractor, publicizing your success or disappointment to be witnessed by every other contractor.
Finally, after six months of hard work and stressful bid submissions, Nunn Construction was selected to build an addition to Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs. Ray recalled, “We were getting so desperate, and our number for that job was so low to just try and win one, that I realized after the fact that I didn’t put quite enough money in our bid for cleanup.” Luckily, the Nunn kids—10-year-old Tyson and Lindsey, age 7—along with Nancy were convinced to help final clean the job for the very economical going-rate of meals from Taco Bell or Fargo Pizza.
Other memories that stand out from their first job included a ruined pair of dress shoes that still brings Nancy to sigh, then laugh about, to this day and some innovative fencing approaches. One of the first concrete pours due to a delay had to occur on a Sunday. Ray’s worries about the success of this crucial milestone inspired a detour to the site after church services, ruining one of his pairs of dress shoes in the process. Later in the project, after some fence was destroyed due to some windy weather, and without any budget or supplies for replacement, Nunn’s first Superintendent Grant Hall replaced the damaged sections with some picket fence panels from his own backyard.
Finishing this first project, in addition to the next few schools that Nunn built and renovated, helped reassure Ray and Nancy that the company might just take off after all, which was critical encouragement after their hard first year in business. Looking back, a lot has changed for Nunn Construction since then, but we’re proud that building a church as Nunn’s first project also began a thread of work for non-profit organizations and faith-based facilities that has consistently been weaved throughout our 40 years of business. That hard work, innovative problem solving and going the extra mile to deliver a quality building have all remained our driving focus.