Construction Company Turns 30

Dan Harrison, president of Harrison Construction Inc. and The Material Difference Inc., 1408 Colegate Drive, Marietta, stands outside his office this week. Harrison Construction is celebrating 30 years of service in the community.

The Marietta Times 

At age 16, Dan Harrison began to realize his talent and passion for construction when his parents agreed to allow him to build an addition to their Williamstown home.

"I don't know why they ever allowed me to do that but I'm glad they did," said Harrison, of Marietta. "The room is still in use today and that project really helped fuel my confidence for building."

Now Harrison's construction business is celebrating 30 years in the Pioneer City.

After graduating high school, Harrison said he attended Ohio University to study pre-law. He paid his way though college working afternoons and weekends for contractors in the Athens area and was able to graduate debt-free.

"I had planned to go on to law school but I was pretty impressed that I was able to work and pay my way though four years of college," Harrison said. "So I decided to put off law school and continue with my passion for building."

Harrison said he worked a few years for some area contractors until late 1981, when he and his wife Gillian started Harrison Inc. The business is currently celebrating 30 years of service in the area and posted record-sales in each of the past few years.

"It started out with just my wife and I, then four or five employees and now we're up to 32 full-time employees," he said. "What I'm really proud of is how long most of us have been together. There's very little turnover. Six of us have been together for more than 25 years, which is just unheard of in the construction business. Our average employee has been with us for 10 years, which again, is unheard of."

Harrison said his business is largely focused on remodeling, with a specialty in restoring the old Victorian-era homes of the area. But the group does everything from small kitchen or bathroom upgrades to roofing and even complete new construction.

Of more than 50,000 construction companies in the U.S., Harrison Inc. was ranked 258th in the nation last year by Qualified Remodeler, an industry reviewer.

Harrison said his company completed more than 600 projects last year and averages 10 projects underway at any time.

Rose Criss, of 524 Third St., said she's been doing business with Harrison since 2004. The company is currently constructing an addition to her home.

"What I like most is their attention to detail," she said. "And they're wonderfully professional and respectful. There's a great comfort level that when you leave and come home you know things are going to be in the right place and ready for the next day."

Criss said Harrison is working to recreate trim work and molding so the addition matches the character of her 1890s home.

"They've also done some counter tops, a sink and a roof for me, and I've never been disappointed," she said.

Harrison said the growth of the business has meant putting down his tool belt several years ago to focus on operations and budgeting projects. Harrison Inc. also expanded 20 years ago with a spin-off company, The Material Difference Inc. The business features kitchen and bath fixtures and upgrades.

"I had a choice to let the company plateau, which is what a lot of people do, or to give up a lot of what I love to see the company we built continue to grow," he said. "Now I focus on all estimating, contract writing and about 80 percent of our direct sales...I'm happy with my role."

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Harrison Construction, Inc.
1408 Colegate Dr.
Marietta, OH 45750
Ohio: 740.373.7000
WV: 304.485.3773