In 1990, friends and family encouraged Doug to launch his own construction firm and shake up the industry. He completed his last project at his previous employer in February and founded New South Construction in March. While considering what to name the new firm, he wrote out a list of possibilities. He still has that list in his Midtown Atlanta office today. Absent from the list was the name Davidson Construction, never a consideration because he knew the firm should be and would be more than him. He was determined to create a firm that stood for the same values for which he stood. The name New South Construction struck a chord with Doug and his advisers, and that’s still the name on the two-story headquarters building today.
New South began working with its first client, Delta Air Lines, which is still a client today. Doug often glances back at his original business plans, in which he assigned responsibilities and goals to himself, including business development. He cold-called prospective clients, such as Coca-Cola, to see if they had any construction needs. One day, Coca-Cola called and said another construction firm failed to respond to a call back on a small project, which was adding steel supports to several levels on the main parking deck and re-grouting them with concrete. Doug and his team worked at night and cleaned up before sunrise, in order not to inconvenience employees arriving for work the following morning. The performance on that small project led to larger and larger projects and ultimately 25 years of client service to The Coca-Cola Company. Today, New South is the lead in the joint venture to renovate Coca-Cola’s iconic North Avenue campus, taking place over the next several years.
Whether working with large companies or small, New South always infuses its strong values into each relationship. Ask any New South employee about the firm’s philosophy and they will most likely quote, what is now known as "the grandmother’s rule":
“Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it, and do it right the first time.”
This philosophy is cemented into the bricks and mortar of New South Construction, and it’s cited as one of the reasons team members join the firm and clients keep coming back.
Tom Troutman and Huntly Gordon joined the team in the early days and brought new relationships and expertise to this very young company. Not long thereafter, Dan Smith joined, managing accounting and the office. These four men are the original shareholders of New South Construction and today still lead the firm that has 15 additional shareholders.
There's no real secret to New South’s success – it’s the ability to continue to perform at the highest level for all clients, resulting in repeat business and referrals within each market sector. Since its founding, New South has diversified its portfolio to include: aviation, criminal justice, private clubs, entertainment, local government, senior living, student housing, K-12, higher education, multifamily, industrial, religious, special projects, healthcare, office, sports, federal and tenant improvement.
New South has also consistently lead the industry in technological advances, which makes project sites more efficient and ultimately leads to a better built environment.
The history of New South Construction began with the same principles it plans to follow in its future: putting the success of its clients and their environments before its own – fully focused on building value and building trust.