In 1970 a gallon of gas was 36 cents, a new home was $26,000, and Sarasota had just 40,000 residents. Bill Halfacre, then in his mid-40s, was a building contractor with solid skills, good business sense, and an even greater sense of ethics and community. When he started Halfacre Construction that year, a handshake was practically all it took to seal a deal.
Nearly four decades later, with millions of square feet under their belts, that same level of integrity and community has helped the company grow into an industry leader in southwest Florida.
When the late John Cox bought the company in 1984, Bill stayed on, often working side-by-side with John on commercial construction projects. The two shared the bond of a common trade and fine skills. But more than that, they shared an uncommon vision of giving back to the community they helped build. Business had been good to them. It wasn’t a sense of duty that called them; it was a higher calling—of doing the right thing. Of doing good and spreading goodwill, not to make a name for themselves, but to serve mankind in a quiet way.
Halfacre Construction began taking on larger and more complex projects. John led the company as they built the huge administration and manufacturing building now known as PGT Industries in Nokomis. In 1997, Halfacre built the first commercial building in the now thriving Lakewood Ranch when the 85,000 square-foot Teleflex Inc. was erected. The company has built over 1,000,000 square feet in Port Manatee, the fastest growing port in Florida reaching markets across the globe. Halfacre projects can be found in an eight-county area in Florida.
John’s son Jack was raised in the business. He recalls driving a truck before he could reach the pedals. Summer jobs revolved around Halfacre construction sites, and Jack learned all of the trades before and during his years as a college student. He watched his father quietly donate projects, start charities, raise funds, and provide leadership and support for children’s causes. He saw John develop the Sarasota/Manatee Economic Development Council and serve on licensing boards and bank boards. When it was time for Jack to take over Halfacre in 1999, the baton was passed in a smooth, nearly flawless transition. Today Jack continues the strong and honorable legacy his father John left for his family and the community.
The strong sense of family that John and Jack established carries over to the employees at Halfacre Construction. Employee turnover remains low, even through economic fluctuations. And business continues to be good through the highs and lows of Florida’s construction industry.
With a legacy of community behind them and Florida’s future before them, the Halfacre Construction family stands strong as a premier builder in southwest Florida.