THE MAKINGS OF JAMAIL & SMITH
The Jamail & Smith story started in 1979 and has had many twists and turns along the way. The timeline below allows you to experience the makings of Jamail & Smith Construction.
Jim Jamail’s Construction Story Begins
After giving up his football dreams, Jim came home to finish school. His dad, Sam, worked at the post office for 30 years but always did small jobs on old homes in Galveston to make extra money. Jim began working with him to get himself through school.
Jamail Construction is Born
Jim and his dad had been working for a real estate company, Kellenar and Ayers, doing small renovation jobs for Mr. Ayers. Jim majored in Health at the University of Houston Clear Lake and planned on teaching and coaching with his brother, Steve. However, during this time, the small construction jobs got bigger.
Jim and his dad were asked to bid some jobs at the Galvez Mall in Galveston. A breakthrough came when Craig’s Clothing Store asked Jim to bid a remodel of the store. Thanks to the confidence of owner Able Grossman, Jim won the bid and completed the job at only 22 years old.
At this time, Jim’s dad helped by supervising jobs. Jim’s mom, Lillian, assisted by answering phones and building subcontractor relationships.
Hurricane Alicia Hits Galveston
Shortly after the completion of Craig’s, Hurricane Alicia hit Galveston and severely damaged the Sears Store at the Galvez Mall. Jim was able to secure the contract to repair the damage and it led to a complete remodel of the Sears Store, a major project for a 23-year-old.
After completion of the Sears Store and numerous other remodels, such as Southwestern Bell, Coffee Shop, and the mall office, things began to take off for Jamail Construction.
Andy Baccinelli Joins Jamail Construction
The company landed MUD 12 in Bayou Vista, and Andy Baccinelli joined the team. After Andy came on board, Jamail Construction welcomed former Galveston Local Union carpenters as Superintendents. Frank Lyssy, Ed Lucus, Henry Miller, and Bill Dyad all brought valuable experience to the company.
Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
NASA brought a great deal of business and development to Clear Lake in the early eighties, which provided Jamail Construction with many great opportunities. Unfortunately, on January 28, the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion occurred, which brought construction in Clear Lake to a screeching halt. Jim experienced some of his first real challenges with declining revenues and subcontractor failures.
Oil Drops to $9 A Barrel
Greg Smith graduates from Texas A&M University as a petroleum engineer at approximately the same time that oil drops to $9 a barrel. Greg’s father and grandfather were military officers. The Navy ran the strategic petroleum reserve, and they were short on petroleum engineer officers. As a result, Greg went on active duty in the Navy and was assigned to construction management.
Job Order Contracting is Born
Greg went to Point Mugu base in California, where the Navy asked him to help with Job Order Contracting (JOC) experimentation and gave him Brown & Root as his client. What was meant to be an experimental program brought ten times as much work as anticipated, allowing the Navy to transition from low-bid construction procurement techniques to value-based alternatives of Design Build and JOC. Greg served as Assistant Operations Officer for Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven and was the officer in charge of a civic action team deployed to Micronesia. They built roofs, buildings, and helped with a variety of miscellaneous renovations.
Greg Smith Deployed to Desert Storm
After Desert Storm, Greg got out of the Navy while the oil business was still struggling. Greg contacted the Brown & Root to ask for a reference, and they asked him to join their team in Houston. Greg worked there for 10 years in a variety of positions – Subcontract Administrator, Business Manager, Staff Engineer, and Project Engineer for two chemical plants. Greg obtained his Professional Engineer license, and Brown & Root needed a Professional Engineer to run their JOC program at Houston Metro. He also ran the Spring Branch Independent School District JOC program.
Don Barron and George Morris Join the Team
Jim developed an opportunity to get his first IDIQ contract with Motorola in Austin. That is when two more key players in the Jamail Construction history came on board: Don Barron and George Morris. With Don’s leadership and George’s dedication, Jamail Construction worked 5 years at Motorola, growing all the while. At the same time, Jamail’s Houston office was busy building convenience stores for customers like Bay Oil Company, Chevron, Texaco, and rebranding Texaco stores to Shell, which made for a busy time in Jamail Construction history.
Historic South Grounds at Texas State Capitol Restored
During this time, Apple Computer lost their way, fired Steve Jobs and Jamail’s work at Motorola came to an end. Shortly after, Jamail Construction embarked on the restoration of the historic South Grounds at the Texas State Capitol. The job was a challenging but rewarding assignment.
Jennifer Trahan Comes Aboard
Jim returned to Houston after living in Austin and the next key person, Jennifer Trahan, joined the team. Jennifer, now Vice President of Finance and Accounting, took on all office management and accounting duties for the company.
Greg Smith Becomes a Partner at Jamail Construction
Jared Caldwell decided to take a job with Jamail Construction as they were working on a JOC for the University of Houston, and he recommended that Jim Jamail get in touch with Greg Smith. Jim and Greg got reacquainted and negotiated an agreement for Greg to become a partner in Jamail Construction. Tropical Storm Allison flooded the University of Houston campus, supercharging their contract. Thanks to Jamail Construction, the university was the first public agency back in business after the storm. The financial resources resulting from their work at the University of Houston allowed Jamail Construction to employ more personnel and become the premier Job Order Contracting firm in the state of Texas.
Jamail Construction Creates Buy Board Contract
Jamail Construction created a buy board contract. This made them the first cooperative JOC in Texas and allowed any public entity to hire them without going through the challenge of the cost and time it would take to do a solicitation and get their own JOC. Jamail Construction was the first construction company that could be procured through a purchasing cooperative.
Devin Prior Joins The Team
Starting in a corporate support role, Devin Prior joined the team in 2005. Since then, Devin has been involved in just about every role at Jamail & Smith. Today, Devin serves as the Operations Manager and is responsible for supporting overall operations for the company.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Hit Houston
After damage from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, Jamail Construction converted an old Olshan’s Hypermarket in Houston into a functional FEMA Disaster Relief Center. In 36 hours, they restored the roof, plumbing, air conditioning, and created a kitchen for citizens to take shelter.
Continuing Quality Construction Results
Jamail & Smith is enthusiastically committed to delivering quality construction results that your clients will love, and has been for over thirty years.