Born and raised in Brevard County, Trey Huy, President of Jobear Contracting, a contractor specializing in site development, earthwork, underground utilities and drainage, started working for the family-owned business in high school. After graduating from Florida State University in 2002, he returned home and spent the following 12 years working in different roles and learning about the industry. Huy shared the story behind his journey and how Jobear Contracting has managed to deliver on its promises and provide quality work since the early 1970s.
“My grandfather started the business,” Huy said. “My mom and dad took over after him. My family has been involved in some type of business in Brevard County since the early 1900s. It was always the plan that I’d eventually join the family business and one day run it.”
Huy officially took the reins in 2014. With support from his parents, who Huy describes as incredible mentors and role models, and his wife, Lizi, the business has seen steady growth and continues to maintain its status as one of the longest running site work and utility contractors in Brevard County.
“Our experience is definitely something that makes us unique,” Huy said. “Besides the company itself, we have employees that have been with us for 30 plus years – many that I’ve known since I was just a kid. Also, we’re really good at what we do and, unlike other contractors; we actually enjoy jobs that aren’t straightforward.”
Huy explained, “When it comes to site work, there are so many variables beyond your control. Whether it’s the weather or site conditions, you’re always dealing with unknowns and challenges. In our specific case, we also take on jobs like infrastructure work replacing existing utilities or systems. With these jobs, it’s not a blank canvas. You have to know what’s there, how it works and how what you’re doing impacts everything connected to it.”
Huy shared that over the years, competition has increased. He also described a lack of employees, especially those wanting to roll up their sleeves and work their way up, as a typical obstacle in this industry. Despite the challenges, however, Huy enjoys the work he does and is happy leading the company.
“Even though there are a lot of things happening, in particular on job sites that are sometimes out of your control that can seriously affect the outcome of the project, being in a position to solve problems is extremely rewarding,” he said. “No matter how much you plan your day or week, 90% of it is being reactionary. It’s a great feeling to be able to come up with and implement a solution to fix a problem.”
Looking ahead, Huy has positioned himself as a General Contractor to be able to bid on jobs that combine site work and construction. The example he gave was a baseball field that also involves the construction of a concession stand. Huy is also cognizant of the fact that climate change will impact the type of work they do in the future. These include more drainage solution and erosion prevention type projects and continuing their work on helping to clean up the environmental issues of the Indian River Lagoon. The long-term goal for Huy and Jobear Contracting is to turn the business over to Huy’s sons, Quade and Bennett, when they’re of age to assume responsibility for carrying on the family tradition.
What advice does Huy have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “If you’re scared about starting a new business or buying an existing one, you should be,” he said. “However, that fear might make you more successful. Also, don’t make promises you can’t keep. You’re better off being honest and telling a client you have more than you can handle at the moment. People will respect you more for being honest and turning down work than by giving a lackluster performance. Along those lines, trust your instincts when it comes to accepting new jobs. If something doesn’t seem right, move on to the next one.”