For quite some time, Austin Graham and John Turlington thought about getting members of their company, Ram Jack, together as a group to work with a volunteer service. At an office meeting one day, the idea of volunteering was brought up.
To their enjoyment, owners Matt and Jill Miller and employee Cory Smith jumped on the opportunity to help do something they thought would be useful to the community. Because they work at Ram Jack, a 2 1/2-year-old foundation repair company for residential and commercial buildings, they wanted to contribute to an organization that would be able to use their knowledge and skills in the construction field.
Their first choice was Habitat for Humanity.
“We had heard of Habitat throughout the years,” Graham said. “Building houses is what they do and that’s the place where we would be the most useful versus anywhere else.”
On Jan. 12, Graham, Turlington, Smith and the Millers made their way to the Rehab House in Alachua to see how they could help. Because of the group’s efforts and experience, they were able to finish multiple projects like installing doors and putting shingles on the roof of a shed.
“We got to do a little bit of everything,” Turlington said. “A lot of our guys have knowledge in the construction related field compared to a lot of other volunteers.”
Turlington had done some volunteer work while he was in college and had thought about doing more over the years, but he didn’t know how he wanted to get involved. He brought the idea up to Graham, who then organized the project within Ram Jack.
“Alachua County, in general, has given us a lot of business and [we] wanted to give back somehow,” Graham said.
Volunteering as a company has its benefits on both ends. Not only does Habitat get the experience and expertise of professionals in the construction-related industry, but Ram Jack, in return, receives recognition and a morale builder for their employees.
“We thought it would be a team building exercise for the people able to participate,” Turlington said. “We want to do it again and get more guys out next time.”
While publicity is a big perk for companies that decide to volunteer, owner Jolene Miller said that it was an incentive, but not their main incentive.
“For the community, it’s always good to give back,” Miller said. “It’s helpful and it lets people to get to know us on a personal level.”
Reflecting on their experience with Habitat, Graham, Turlington and Miller agree that they want to volunteer again in the future and encourage other companies to do so as well.
“It was a great opportunity,” Turlington said. “We only worked for four hours and we were able to get stuff accomplished while having fun.”