By Connor Beach
George Combs got his start in the construction business under his grandfather’s tutelage in 1986 after he graduated from high school, and after 32 years in the industry he has learned the value of professionalism.
Combs said he started from the bottom and learned the skills of the industry until he was able to start his own business, George W. Combs, Inc., in 1990.
The company, headquartered on Main Street in Huntington, specializes in renovating and remodeling residential homes, a process that Combs said is constantly evolving.
From 1990 until around 2008, Combs said, the company employed workers who did every aspect of a remodeling or renovation job, from laying concrete to roofing. The industry has evolved over the 10 years, Comb said, so that the company has taken on the role of a general contractor that works with trade partners, or subcontractors, who specialize in each specific area of the job.
“Right now our business is all management,” Combs said. “We have site supervisors, project managers and estimators.”
Combs described the role of George W. Combs Inc. as that or a conductor who is trying to keep the different parts of any orchestra playing in harmony to create a symphony.
“I have the unique experience that I had my fingers in all of the trades during the early years,” Combs said.
The collaborative process starts with the client, Combs said, who, with the help of an architect, designs a new home or remodel, and it is up to the builder or general contractor to execute the plans using communication and experience.
Although George W. Combs is based in Huntington, the company will take on jobs across Nassau and Suffolk counties, with a focus on areas along the north shore and east ends of Long Island.
The projects include both remodeling existing homes as well as the construction of brand new homes.
“We work to whatever the homeowner’s needs are,” Combs said, adding that communication with the client is an essential part of every project.
Combs said qualifications, experience and professionalism set George W. Combs, Inc. apart from some other general contractors.
In addition to having certifications in two different trade organizations, George W. Combs, Inc. was recently awarded the National Association of the Remodeling Industry accreditation, the third company in the nation and first in the northeast to achieve the accreditation.
“Essentially what we do is house surgery. We are going to tear your house apart and put it back together,” Combs said. “When you are looking for a heart surgeon are you going to try to find the cheapest guy or the guy who has the best credentials in the field?”
Combs said it is important for every contractor or sub-contractor in the industry to strive for a higher level of professionalism. Combs hosts regular round table discussions and presentations with fellow building professionals to foster the sharing of ideas and increased education.
“We should all try to elevate ourselves in the industry,” Combs said. “We are professionals no different from anybody else, so why shouldn’t we expect to be treated as such.”
In an industry where trends and markets are constantly evolving, Combs said professionalism and experience will always be two of the most important aspects of his job.
He said, “You’re buying our 32 years of experience, and some of the best credentials in the industry.”