MIDDLETOWN — Scott Ward’s father didn’t want his son to work as a contractor. But Ward didn’t listen, and he’s glad he didn’t.
Ward, owner of G&W Contractors Inc. in the Locust section of Middletown, started working at age 17 for his father, Bernie Ward, who started as a builder and later became a project manager.
“He had his own business in the 1980s and started out with two properties,” Ward said. “He was mainly building houses and got caught in the middle of a recession. He quit that career and went to work for someone else.
“He didn’t want me in this industry,” Ward said. “After working with him through the summer and in high school, he deliberately gave me the toughest jobs he could think of, just to discourage me from wanting to go down the same path and encourage me to go to college. I remember once he forced me to dig a trench in the heat, I was too stubborn and wanted to continue, so he decided to teach me the trade.
“He connected me with a framing company,” Ward said. “As a project manager, he managed a bunch of different contractors while they worked for him on big jobs. The guys I worked with were mostly Portuguese, but two of them spoke English, so I could go to them if I had any questions, as I was learning how to do everything.
“After two years, I kind of had a board, so he got me another job with an electrical company,” Ward said. “I stayed with them for four years and joined the union. Unfortunately, there was an incident where a guy my age burned his hands after being hit by a live electrical wire. I remember the sound of the crash. He made a loud pop and he yelled quite loudly. After experiencing this, it scared me and I decided to stay away from electrical panels. It just wasn’t for me.
Ward and his father would go to Newark to do low-income housing work for the state. While the money is excellent, Ward has had more than his fair share of bad experiences with the security of the Zone itself.
“We were getting these manufactured homes from Pennsylvania and going all over Newark to touch them up after they were put together,” Ward said. “We would wait for the electricians and plumbers to do their job and then we would do all the drywall and patching.
“I enjoyed the job, but I would never do it again because it’s a very dangerous area,” Ward said. work in a safe space. Once we arrived and there were bullet holes in the front doors. It was a different world there.
“People always need to have a job”
After his time in Newark, Ward thought he had enough experience under his belt to open his own business as a general contractor in 1995. He first started the business with his partner Greg Guinta, the “G” of G&W, who has since left the company. .
“I realized that I really liked the construction industry,” Ward said. “My dad taught me a lot about it and I’ve learned a lot over the years. I learned some things along the way because there is always something different to do. People always need work done on their homes. I added it all up in my head and realized it wasn’t a bad career to pursue.
“I was a little nervous starting from scratch,” Ward said. “When we first declared ourselves, no one knew we were there. I remember one of my first jobs when I was starting out was painting someone’s back patio. I didn’t like painting very much, but that came with the job.
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Working as a general contractor means a lot of coordination.
“I get the blueprints for a job and I subcontract or hire different companies to take care of different smaller aspects of the whole project,” Ward said. “I then go ahead and hire a company specializing in this part of the project that I could not do with my own team.
“All my sub-contractors can be anyone, from masons to electricians to plumbers, because I can’t do all this work myself. It’s too much. Other than that, some of my main duties are taking care of permits, coordinating all inspections, making sure there are no questions and making sure the necessary materials are there. It’s like climbing a ladder. Each step must be taken to get the job done. »
Ward’s first difficulties were finding clients. “We started out doing small jobs like fixing someone’s handrail or painting someone’s back deck,” Ward said. “Our main goal was to save money and get the essentials, including things like buying a company truck, tools for the job, general liability insurance, indemnity workers’ compensation and simply pay us for the work we have undertaken.
“It took me a few years to establish myself,” Ward said. “It takes a bit of time to pull the numbers together and make sure you’re not losing money at the same time you’re trying to make some.”
Ward is very pleased with a job well done.
“When you have an owner who really appreciates what you’ve done, that’s what’s most rewarding for me and my team, more than the payment part,” Ward said. “At the end of the job, the client goes so far as to post something online about their appreciation for a job well done. It is the thank you you receive at the end of the work that is the best reward you can receive.
Ward and his company tackle both residential and commercial areas with their work.
“I recently completed a restaurant in Marlboro, which was very rewarding,” Ward said. “Although I do 90% residential work, we take on these other projects and are proud of the work we have done so far.”
Although Ward and his team were working in the midst of COVID-19, they got through it with everything intact.
“I took every precaution to ensure that all of our workers were properly tested and fit to work with each other no matter the job,” Ward said. “We really focused on safety. That was the name of the game.”
Ward doesn’t see himself giving up the job anytime soon.
“I told my wife I would continue and I don’t think I will ever retire,” Ward said. “She told me it was okay because I would drive her crazy anyway. At most, I will go from five projects to two. It will keep my heart healthy.
G&W Contractors Inc.
Owner: Neighborhood Scott