ALUMNI UPDATE: Jerron Hull, 40 Under 40 class of 2008

0 Posted by - June 13, 2014 - Where are they now?

On the road

Jerron Hull, chief operating officer for Aim Engineering & Surveying, says Florida’s economic recovery will continue to offer opportunities to design and build roads and utilities.

Jerron Hull chuckles when he recalls launching a construction company in the depths of the downturn in 2009.

“We were out of our minds,” he laughs.

Hull, 39, is chief operating officer of AIM Engineering & Surveying, a family-owned company started in 1980 by Jerron’s father, James Hull, a fifth-generation Floridian and veteran road engineer. Jerron Hull was a winner of the Business Observer’s 40 under 40 awards in 2008.

To diversify revenues, the Hulls decided to start a construction company, Aim Construction. They thought at the time that the recession wouldn’t last much longer. “We got into that in 2009 but could not find any opportunities down here,” Hull says.

So Aim Construction found work in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. But the distance proved too difficult to manage. “At the end of the day it was too much,” Hull says, and the company abandoned North Carolina.

Besides, opportunities are reappearing in Southwest Florida, albeit years later than Hull anticipated. “The cities and counties are putting their fiscal houses in order,” Hull says.

The majority of Aim’s work is focused on state and municipal road and utility engineering and construction, something that kept the company afloat during the downturn. For example, it is overseeing the massive $556 million road-construction project near Miami International Airport that includes building 47 bridges. About 90% of Aim’s revenues are tied to work for the Florida Department of Transportation and 10% to 15% now come from its construction arm.

Although municipalities are recovering from the recession, many projects they are starting now were designed before the economic downturn. It’s the same story with the private sector. “It could be 2015 before we see that pick up meaningfully,” Hull says.

In addition, the state budget calls for several massive road projects that will consume most of the money, leaving less for smaller improvements around the state. Still, Hull says Aim recently won a job for the widening of U.S. 41 in Sarasota County, for example.

Aim is headquartered in Lehigh Acres and has 120 employees. Revenues totaled $22 million last year, less than the $25.3 million it posted in 2012. But Hull is expecting business to pick up as the recovery continues. “We’re just biding our time,” he says.

– Jean Gruss, Editor/Lee-Collier

HullBlastFromPast

A glimpse back at Hull’s answers from the 2008 40 under 40 issue.

Education: B.S. in civil engineering, University of Florida

Hometown: LaBelle

First job: Survey crew rod man for Aim Engineering & Surveying Inc. in 1986 at age 12

Business person you most admire: Denis Roza, former president of Harper Brothers Construction

Favorite book, why?: “A Land Remembered.” It reminds me of Old Florida.

Most inspirational book: “Good to Great” by Jim Collins

Favorite movie: “Tommy Boy”

Best place to network: The Farmers Market in Fort Myers

Best way to relax and let off steam: Spending time in the Big Cypress National Preserve

Type of cell phone: Blackberry

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