Economy Roars Back After 2008 Recession
While Southeast Missouri wasn’t hit as hard by the recession as other parts of the country, the economy overall experienced a slow down running up to the 2010s. However, as the decade has proceeded, an increase in new business and the return of repeat customers has kept Sargent busy and working hard as ever.
Helping in More Recovery Efforts
Sargent lent a helping hand to the Joplin, Missouri, Gilster Mary Lee plant after the devastating F5 tornado hit in May 2011. New materials were on site within two weeks to begin the repairs and the warehouse was functioning again in six weeks.
A tornado struck a Gilster Mary Lee facility again in 2012, this time their popcorn storage facility in Southwestern Illinois. Sargent helped them not only repair damaged structures but also redesigned parts of the facility that were originally built in the 1940s. The project included 30,000 square feet of retrofit standing seam roofing plus a 10,000 square foot warehouse replacement. Star recognized the project in 2013 by awarding Sargent the Master Builder Award in the Retrofit category.
Softball-sized hail pummeled the Farmington, Missouri, region in April of 2015. The enormous hail put holes through metal roofs and was by far the worst hail destruction the company has seen in all its years in business. The resulting roof damage kept Sargent busy for the next two years with repairs to keep businesses safe and dry.
Potosi Country Mart Fire Rebuild
In July 2012, the Country Mart supermarket in Potosi, Missouri, suffered a complete building loss due to a fire from a faulty light fixture. Sargent worked with both the owners of the store, Town and Country Supermarkets, and insurance companies to assess the damage after the fire and make subsequent insurance claims. Sargent crews demolished the remaining damaged structure, and worked with Town and Country to redesign and build a new, first-class facility. The new 30,000 square foot store reopened in August 2013 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
From 2008 to 2015, Sargent worked with M&A Electric Cooperative to upgrade 54 substations throughout Southeast Missouri. Upgrades included installation of fiber optics, which allowed for central remote management of each substation.
Manufacturing and Retail Grow Again in the Region
Cap America invested in Fredericktown by expanding to a 30,000 square foot facility for their knitting division in 2015 and Sargent won the contract. The facility houses machinery that knits fibers for various hats and head wear. The Sargent team was proud to build the manufacturing plant that would give back to the local economy.
Sargent continued to work with Gilster Mary Lee on improvements and expansions to plants across Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas. Another fruitful partnership was forged with Filtration Systems Products, who had projects in 2010, 2014, and 2017. Improvements were made to the Purcell Tire retreading plant, with more design projects coming down the pike. The company has also won contracts to build Dollar General stores all around the Southeast Missouri area.
Recognition for Years of Quality Work
In 2014, Sargent was given special recognition by Star Building Systems for 40 years as a Star Builder at their national meeting in San Diego, California. While the company expanded its services over the years to include many types of projects other than Star metal buildings, the award was a special honor towards Sargent’s roots.
People of Sargent
The strength of Sargent as a company comes from its people, and the company has been fortunate to maintain long-term relationships with many employees. In 2017, VP of Field Operations, Wilbur Leach, celebrated 40 years with the company. Wilbur started with the company while still a teen and has worked his way up to the vice president level. VP of Operations, Dan Tilk, is also nearing the 40 year mark of service to Sargent. In recognition of their skills, dedication, and service, Wilbur and Dan became partial owners in the company in 2015.
In 2011, the Sargent family lost an important and loved figure in Barbara Sargent. Well-respected and cherished by all who knew her, Barbara was a warm and caring person who always had time to talk to employees and customers about their days and their families. Her strength was a foundation for those around her during tough times, like when son Bob had a car accident in 1985 and when Don passed in 1987.
After raising three children, Barbara had a keen eye for potential monkey business—which everyone knew she wouldn’t put up with, so she effectively stopped most trouble before it even began. When crews worked at her home, she always treated them to iced tea, lemonade, and cookies. Barbara may have been small in stature, but she was giant in heart and is very much missed.
Looking to the Future
As Sargent heads towards fifty years of business, the future is a bright one. Sargent’s commitment to the values pioneered by Don Sargent—quality, honesty, and bringing opportunity to rural businesses and beyond through superior construction—is as strong as ever.
With a long list of valued repeat customers, Sargent truly enjoys watching those customers grow, sometimes even beyond the Southeast Missouri region. The Sargent team is excited to keep helping their customers expand their businesses and work with them to design facilities at home and all across the country.
Everyone at Sargent is eager to continue working with their customers to understand their needs and then crafting the best building solution to fit those needs. This includes bringing more design services in house. Sargent prides itself on understanding everything a project requires up front so there aren’t surprises later on down the road. The goal of every job is ensuring that at the end of a project, the customer can walk through the building and find that it hits all of their workflow needs. The company will continue investing in the futures of their employees and will enjoy watching them grow and develop both professionally and personally for the years to come.