Family Ties: A Q&A with Second-Generation BELL Senior Superintendent Jared Howell
Mar 31, 2021
At BELL, we see our team as family. And for some team members, we mean that literally. We’re honored to have family members across multiple generations who all tout positions with BELL on their resumes. It speaks volumes about the culture our leaders have created to have so many team members recommend their family members pursue jobs with the company.
Meet Jared Howell, Senior Superintendent and 32-year BELL team member.
Jared is a second-generation BELL employee. His uncle was one of the company’s first employees hired by Ray Bell, and his father, brother, and other extended family members also had careers with the company. We sat down with Jared to learn more about his experience and what it means to be carrying on the family legacy at BELL.
Jared on-site at BELL's Two Town Center project in Franklin, TN
Tell us about your career journey. How did you get to where you are today?
I spent much of the summer of ‘89 hanging out with friends and mowing lawns. Then, because I was still living at home, my mom made me go to work with my dad. Jobs were few and far between at that time, so I was fortunate to have that opportunity to start earning some money. They started me with answering the phone in the office trailer and working on daily reports for my dad since I wasn’t quite 18 yet. Our project at the time was the Collins Center for Industry and Technology building at Murray State University.
After a few months of working in the office trailer, dad put me to work as a field laborer. I started acquiring my own hand tools and was able to gain on-the-job carpentry experience. I’ve now been with BELL for 32 years. I went from answering the phone to being Senior Superintendent where I coordinate daily job site activities, supervise field staff, and serve as a liaison between the field and office.
Jared's first BELL project was the Center for Industry and Technology at Murray State
Your uncle was one of the first employees hired by BELL Construction’s founder, Ray Bell, and you had other family members join the company throughout the years. Tell us about them.
My Uncle Dennis started at BELL in 1970 as a carpenter and worked his way up to senior superintendent, when he retired after 45 years with the company. His first job at BELL was the Franklin Housing project, but he worked on several big projects throughout the years, including the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in downtown Nashville. Ray and Dennis spent a lot of time together – both at work and outside of business hours as personal friends.
Two of my cousins (Dennis’ daughters) also worked for BELL; one of them was a field laborer, and one worked in the office. My brother also worked for BELL for a few years, but he left to attend ITT Technical Institute. My father, Joe, was a superintendent, and he was with BELL for 40 years with his last project being the DCSO Downtown Campus job that wrapped in 2020. We’ll see how long it takes before he tries to come back and be a consultant on our next corrections project, though. He knows his stuff, and he loved his job.
In addition to Ray’s sons and my own family, BELL Construction has several other multi-generational family ties… Buttrey, Choate, Fears, Hogan, Pyle, Walker, and Woodard, just to name a few that I’ve worked with closely or know personally. Many of them got into the business the same way I did – working a summer job with their dad, brother, or uncle… and they just never left!
Randy Brent, Don Estes, and Dennis Howell with Ray Bell, the late founder of BELL Construction
How did your father’s time at BELL impact you?
My dad instilled in me the importance of integrity, trustworthiness, and transparency both at home and in the field. He’s always taught me to do what’s right, but in construction, that means to never try to hide faulty work or rush to crank out something that’s not done correctly. I’m very grateful for the time I was able to spend with him and my other family members from a professional standpoint.
Share some of your favorite project memories.
My absolute favorite project was the upscale Opal Condominiums in Orange Beach, AL. Talk about amazing! The units each had their own floor, and the building was right on the beach. It was beautiful. I was sent to clean it up and sell it. I developed a good relationship with the owner, and he let my wife and I stay in his personal penthouse for the weekend. That was such a memorable experience.
Another project I’ll never forget was working with my uncle at a federal prison in Eastern Kentucky. We were there adjusting cell door closers. Dennis made me go in the cells to test the doors… while the prison was operational!
Jared's favorite BELL project was the luxury Opal Condominiums in Orange Beach, AL
What do you enjoy most about working at BELL?
I appreciate BELL’s commitment to integrity, transparency, and safety. BELL also makes a significant effort to show appreciation and care for the whole team. Company get-togethers for the employees and our families are among my fondest memories with the company.
What legacy do you want to leave at BELL?
I want future BELL employees to understand the importance of a good work ethic. I also hope to continue upholding BELL’s values and pass them down to the younger and newer team members.
What most excites you when you think about the future of BELL?
I have enjoyed seeing the transformation of many of the communities we’ve worked in. I also hope the company continues to provide similar opportunities to generations of families as it did for mine, including a great career and valuable time spent together.
What’s one funny/surprising thing about you?
Even constantly being around the dirt and dust on the job site, I keep my hands super clean. I can’t stand dirty fingernails!