AUGUSTA — Gary Peachey went into the family business established by his grandfather George in 1947 right out of high school.

But he soon found out his education had just begun and would continue at Peachey Builders under the watchful, experienced eyes of his father, Sidney, and uncle Victor.

“I worked in the field when I got out of high school and got some hands-on training, but I wasn’t a carpenter or a hands-on guy,” the 55-year-old Peachey said. “My father and Uncle Victor, they educated me in every phase of the business. They taught me the rule of thumb, estimating, project management and about dealing with customers. So it was a hands-on educational experience, working under pressure and learning at the same time.”

Peachey, who lives in Augusta with his wife, Leah, was chosen as the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Business Person of the Year.

Peachey said he is humbled and surprised at the recognition, which he said is shared with the members of his family, including his father, uncles and grandfather, who built the business.

“The business for me is not just a business; it’s personal, it is our name, my lineage,” he said. “My education in the business came from my father and Uncle Victor, who were strong in the business and built it into a commercial construction company. So I do feel an honor that I’m not only accepting this on my behalf, but theirs, as well. They gave me a firm foundation to start from.”

The Augusta commercial construction company has about 20 employees. Peachey said 2012 and 2013 were hard years in the industry, but things seem to have turned around this year with the company picking up major jobs it will be working on in 2015, including two major local projects.

Those local jobs are renovating part of the interior of the Ballard Center, the former MaineGeneral hospital on East Chestnut Street, for Dirigo Capital Advisors, and adding a 50,000-square-foot addition to NRF Distributors’ 100,000-square-foot warehouse on Gabriel Drive. Both clients on those jobs are repeat customers. Peachey Builders constructed NRF’s Gabriel Drive flooring warehouse in 2003 and has done multiple projects at Central Maine Commerce Center, which is owned by partners in Dirigo Capital Advisors.

“We treat our customers right, and we think in terms of quality,” Peachey said. “We want our customers to be satisfied, and with that we have a lot of repeat customers.”

Paul LaChance, vice president of operations for NRF, said NRF selected Peachey Builders to build and now expand upon their Gabriel Drive warehouse “because they do great work. They’re honest, good people. I’d recommend them for any construction job.”

LaChance thinks the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce made the right choice in naming Gary Peachey its Business Person of the Year.

“Gary, I’ve known him a long time, and he’s a really great person,” LaChance said. “He’s a local business person who works hard, is very honest and does great work.”

Peachey, a pilot and photographer, is on the city’s Airport Advisory Committee, has previously served on the board of the Kennebec Valley YMCA and helped raise funds for the YMCA, and is currently on the board of MaineGeneral Medical Center.

Gary, who became president of Peachey Builders in 1995, and Leah have two sons, who are both in college. Elder son Blake is studying music, while Alec is studying construction management and could someday join the family business.

Peachey attributes the ongoing success of the 67-year-old family business to hard work, perseverance, honesty, quality work and overall how those in the business treat others.

“Treating customers right, treating employees right so they’re happy on the job, and treating people fair and with respect,” Peachey said of the company’s keys to success.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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