Harkins Builders, Inc.

What is the biggest misconception about the industry?

People don't understand the hard work and dedication it takes to be perform trade work and construction management work. It takes a lot of coordination to work in construction across some many people, while always trying to keep people safe and productive. The second misconception is that contractors are out there to make a lot of money. The margins are much tighter then perceived.

What is your biggest current challenge at work?

Continue to win work as margins are very tight. There is a lot of volatility with labor and lead time of materials.

What keeps you up at night?

Finding the best clients to build for that consider their contractor a long-term partner.

What project is your company most proud of?

Every couple of years we get to do a military project for USO metro and volunteer our time and services. These projects build facilities for military servicemen and women to relax at while off duty.

How does your ABC membership help your company?

The networking with trade partners and ABC helps us stay ahead of industry news. ABC also keeps construction industry abreast of government affairs.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Wanted to be a Marine and I was able to do that. My father and grandfather were Marines. Was a Marine Corps combat engineer, closest Marine Corps has to construction.

Tell us something no one in the industry knows about you.

Before I had 4 children under the age of 7, used to catch Rockfish on the Chesapeake Bay year round every month.

What do you look forward to each day?

My favorite thing is interacting with Harkins employees and trade partners on job site. Also helping employees build effective teams and projects.

What are you like to work for?

I am an even-keeled leader who expects results and puts my trust in my team.

What is your favorite metro Washington hangout/restaurant?

Cantler's Riverside Inn

Who would you trade places with for a day?

Steve Rinella from Meat Eater Netflix series

What is your favorite movie or tv show?

River Runs Through It

What do you do for fun?

Fish, spend time outdoors with family, and most recently going to t-ball games.

What business/career advice do you wish you had when you began?

Building a network is probably one of the most important thing you can do in this industry. Creating a discipline of growing your network by 1 or 2 people each week.

What book are you currently reading?

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss - empathy should constantly be integrated in your negotiations.

What was your first job?

Worked at Bass Pro Shops - started out in fly fishing department.

Founded in 1965, Harkins is an employee-owned construction company serving clients engaged in the development of multifamily, commercial, and government projects. We are the leader in the markets we serve, crediting our success to the shared values that guide our work and our relationships.

Ben Nichols


Harkins Builders, Inc.