Jordan Pile Driving Inc. is one of the oldest, most respected companies in the road building industry, due to H.C. “Hack” Jordan’s hard work and determination.
Hack was born in Clarke County, Mississippi, but at a very young age, his family moved to Toxey, Alabama, in Choctaw County. He finished high school at the age of sixteen and went to work building bridges for the AT&N Railroad. Shortly before World War II, he moved to Mobile and got a job working in a pile driving crew for the new Admiral Semmes Hotel.
Poor eyesight kept him out of active service in World War II, but he supported the war effort by working in shipyards in Mobile and Brunswick, Georgia, saving war bonds in order to make his dream come true of one day being his own boss. When the war ended he moved from Brunswick back to Toxey, with $304.72, his life savings, and built his first wooden skid-rig pile driver.
In 1946, Hack founded Jordan Pile Driving, and it wasn’t long before he got a bridge repair job near Ozark, Alabama. He moved his wife and only child to the Mixon Hotel, where they lived for the first two years he was in business. Little did he know he’d live the rest of his life in Ozark.
He remained there for one simple reason — he liked Ozark. He put his roots down and became a vital, contributing citizen of the community in civic, social and religious activities.
He was an active member of the Ozark School Board starting in 1958, was elected president of the Alabama Road Builders Association in 1961. In 1962 Hack was honored by the Boy Scouts of American with their highest award, The Silver Beaver. He was also selected as a Deacon at the Ozark Baptist Church.
In 1971, he was elected to the board of directors of the Bank of Ozark, now Southtrust. In 1973, he was honored as Ozark’s Man of the Year.
In 1976, Hack moved his son to Mobile to run a project for the company as a subcontractor to Brown & Root who was building the Interstate-10 Bayway.
In 1978, his company had built a bridge in each of Alabama’s sixty seven counties. In 1968, his only son, D.R. Jordan joined the company full time having graduated from the University of Alabama. Hack, again, teamed with Brown & Root and secured a subcontract to install 220 cofferdams for the Interstate 65 Mobile River Delta Crossing.
The 1980’s was an active and growing period for Jordan Pile Driving. The company purchased their first large tug and a 12-acre marine terminal near Mobile River and entered the barge, crane and tugboat business. Also in 1988 the Ozark Rotary Club named Hack a Paul Harris Fellow, their highest honor.
The next decade brought numerous milestones for the company. The third generation family member, Don Jordan, Hack’s only grandson, joined the company.
In 1993, after Amtrak’s Sunset Limited crashed into Bayou Canot near Mobile, Jordan Pile Driving rebuilt the bridge for train traffic. They were also selected by the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce as Small Business of the Year and the Small Business Administration selected Hack’s firm as Small Business of the Year for the State of Alabama.
His company has been involved in major projects in the State of Alabama such as the Tennessee River Bridge on Interstate 65 near Huntsville, The Perdido Pass Bridge at Orange Beach and they were recently selected to receive the 2003 A.G.C. Build Alabama Award for their work on the U.S.S. Battleship Alabama.
Hack commemorated two more milestones in the19 90’s, celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary with wife Alma, and the 50th anniversary of Jordan Pile Driving.
The definition of family at Jordan Pile Driving extends beyond the three generations of Jordan’s who have worked at the firm. Their employees are a part of the family, some having been with the company more than 40 years.
Hack Jordan died in 1997, leaving a tremendous legacy to his family, being both a role model in marriage and in a successful business.