Many people will shift from one successful career to another during their working lives; however, Bill Stuart is maintaining two careers simultaneously. His construction firm, Stuart Contracting, is a busy and growing business in the Tullahoma, Tennessee area. At the same time, Stuart performs PLC, CNC, and Robot Programming for Nissan’s Powertrain Plant in Decherd, TN.
At left: Thompson Representative Roth Nunley with Bill Stuart
Stuart Contracting specializes in commercial and metal buildings, electrical work, and light industry projects. Most of the firm’s projects are in the Tullahoma/Manchester/Winchester region of south central Tennessee. The company is also a general contractor for Lowe’s.
Bill Stuart was born in Mountain Home, Idaho; his father was in the United States Air Force and was stationed at the military base there. The family later moved to the Decatur, Alabama area. “I attended Calhoun Community College, where I studied Industrial Maintenance and Electrical Engineering,” Stuart relates. “I also studied aeronautical engineering at Wallace State College.”
He worked in real estate in Decatur, and started in construction there in the 1990s – building an 8,000 square foot retail center and developing his own projects. Stuart and his wife, a teacher, and their two sons moved to Tullahoma in 2003 when he went to work for Nissan. He founded Stuart Contracting at that time, starting out with several governmental contracts and building projects.
In addition to building his own home, Stuart began to build hangars at the Tullahoma Municipal Airport. Along with commercial buildings and residences, the hangar projects have proven to be a lucrative part of Stuart Contracting’s business – to date, the company has built over a dozen hangars, including a 14,400-square foot structure. Stuart also developed eight lots for 12,000 square foot hangars.
At right: One of Stuart Contracting hangar projects under construction
Bill Stuart’s concentration on multiple hangar projects seems very appropriate – he is an aviation enthusiast himself, and owns Piper Cherokee and Beechcraft Bonanza planes.
The company has three employees, and sub-contracts other work. “I’m currently working approximately 17 crew members on 4 to 5 crews,” Stuart reports.
Asked about particularly challenging projects, Stuart comments, “One job that was small but challenging was a 3-car garage on a lakefront property. The retaining walls had to be level, and one of them had to rise to 14 feet. Also, the client did not want concrete trucks on his property, so we had to pump the concrete down the hill for a total length of 650 feet to the job site. We used over 70 yards for the walls and floor and had to do it in three pours.
At left: High retaining walls on a lakefront property project
Below, right: A hangar with decorative wall materials and a full-width hydraulic door
“One of our hangar projects needed a lot of site work, and also had to have decorative materials on all four sides,” he continues. “We utilized synthetic rock and skylights, and had to install a matching hydraulic door which completely took up one whole side of the building.”
Stuart Contracting’s equipment fleet consists on more than twenty pieces, including trucks and trailers. As his residential work had increased, Stuart began to look for more versatile equipment that would cause less site damage. “My Thompson representative, Roth Nunley, happened to contact me at just the time I was considering adding a compact hydraulic excavator to my fleet. He showed me how a compact track loader and compact excavator would meet a lot of my needs.”
Stuart has recently purchased a Cat 305E2 mini excavator and a 289D compact track loader from Thompson Machinery. Machine features and service availability both played a large part in his decision, he reports.
At left: Stuart’s recently purchased Cat 289D compact track loader
and Cat 305E2 mini excavator
“Thompson’s local service shop in Manchester was one of the reasons I wanted to buy Cat. The store is close by, and Thompson is part of a large network, which means I can get parts no later than the next day. Plus, having a field service truck so nearby is very valuable to me.
“I was looking for a good used excavator,” he explains. “The 305E2 was a clean, low-hour machine, and the price was good for a good machine, I really like the hydraulic thumb and the cab air, and the machine if very versatile on embankments.”
Stuart’s 289D replaced a 2016 machine from another manufacturer. “The trade just made good sense,” he comments. “I wanted a bigger machine and the high-flow system. The 289D is a lot stronger and a lot smoother. I like its 6-way blade, and the back-up camera is great.”
At left: Stuart’s 2005 model Cat D3G dozer, still going strong
Stuart also owns a 2005 model Cat D3G dozer, which is still used regularly for site preparation and grading.