When the phone call came at 2 a.m. early last month, Robert Jordan wasn’t surprised to receive it. He had already been awakened moments earlier by a thunder clap – the loud, “jolt you out of bed” kaboom that signals a major storm is long past the brewing stage; it’s here. The thunder was accompanied by deluging rains and huffing, puffing winds that, at the very least, were going to bend some tree branches.
When the tornado sirens sounded, Jordan knew this wasn’t an “at the very least” situation. The desperate voice on the other end of the phone line exclaimed that a tree had fallen through the roof and into the bedroom and that rain was pouring into the house.
Jordan said not to worry; he was on it. He immediately sent out a group text alert to his team at RJ Construction noting that it was time to go to work, and by the end of that very long day, he and his weather warriors had cut 11 trees out of the homes of some very grateful customers.
And now you know how Robert Jordan became head of one of the more successful and trusted construction companies – not just in Arlington, but in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
“This is my community – I was born and raised in Arlington – and my clients are like family,” Jordan says as he recalls not just the phone call but a calling in general. “When I started this business I made a promise that I would do whatever it takes to make sure I took care of my customers – even if it’s not easy to do.”
The fruits of that vow are now evident all over town and beyond its borders. A company that was founded in 2007 with one employee, Jordan, working from the back of a truck now has more than 40 full-time crew members – and lots of trucks.
The boss, who started as a roofer to make ends meet in high school, now not only roofs, but builds and remodels and plumbs – with plenty of the proverbial “more” thrown in the mix, as well. In essence, any part of a home that needs to be created, fixed or enhanced falls in his domain. Kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms … check. Flooring, gutters, decks or fences … just say when you need it done. Window replacement, electrical work, painting … RJ Construction has got you covered.
“Our goal,” says Jordan, “is to provide a wide array of roofing and construction services to meet any need that may arise, and to become your contractor of choice for all of your homeowner needs.”
While you’re unlikely to find someone better suited for – or happier with – the prospect of meeting all manner of construction challenges, Jordan, ironically, didn’t set out in that direction. The summer roofing gigs during his high school years helped pass the time while preparing to go to UNLV, where the affable Jordan studied to be a banker. In fact, he started his professional life doing just that, until April of 2007, when the financial industry took one of the heavier hits from the recession that began that year.
In response, Jordan began his own one-man roofing business, initially just to supplement his income. He had enjoyed the summer job, so the move was a natural step. Further, he knew he was good at making broken things work like new, so with his professional life at a crossroad, the decision to rebuild it, as it were, wasn’t the challenge it could have been. After three years of juggling dreams in both fields, he chose full-time construction.
“In 2010, I had to make a decision,” he says. “Am I going to straddle this banking hurdle and do the corporate America thing, or am I going to take the risk? I said, ‘let’s go for it,’ and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.”
Another of those was marrying Jaime. Jordan calls his wife his “real-life Wendy Peffercorn.” Most American males recall the lifeguard from the movie “The Sandlot.” When Robert and Jaime met, she was a lifeguard at Woodland West pool. And like the film’s Squints character, Robert was smitten with his favorite lifeguard from the start.
As they got to know each other they discovered they both had young sons who loved sports. They also shared a family-first vision for whatever the next phase of their lives held. The two – actually, the four – soon became one, and Robert counts that union as something beyond special.
“My family is insanely important to me,” he says. “Nothing means more to me than my wife and my sons. I will also add that our three Labs (Clifford, Cleo, and T-Bone) don’t rank far behind.”
Like Robert, Jaime has a different, thriving career today. She is a women’s health practitioner at Eighth Avenue Obstetrics and Gynecology in Fort Worth. The boys, Kaleb and Walker, were in kindergarten and the first grade when their parents met. Now they are 14 and 15. The collective Jordans spend as much quality time together as they can muster – at home, on the sports field, on fishing vacations. Like its genesis, the Jordan family dynamic is movie-esque in the way it flourishes.
One reason, no doubt, is rooted in instances like the phone call noted at the start of this story. Robert Jordan’s “extended family” includes many people who are not blood relatives – all of whom know he will be there to help them 24/7.
One of the 11 houses at which RJ Construction performed rescue efforts that stormy night belonged to a family standing in the street as Jordan left the initial caller’s home. He asked what had happened to them, learned that they, too, had a tree bisecting a portion of their house. He asked if they minded if he took a look. “And now,” he says, “I have a new customer, probably for life.”
In any given month this summer, RJ Construction will be working on 75 to 150 jobs – some big, some not so. Most of his business comes via word of mouth. He also markets on his Facebook page (facebook.com/RJConstructionDFW), where his company’s craftsmanship and artistry is on display in the Photos section for all the area to see.
One part of that work – a hailstorm repair for which he used prestigious Ludowici tile (imported in 1924) to replace a damaged roof – earned him a 2016 Golden Hammer Award for “Outstanding Residential Roofing Project.”
While RJ Construction jobs span just beyond the borders of Fort Worth and Dallas and include all the communities in between, it is Arlington that holds the special place in his heart. And he feels called to try to repay the city in which he grew up. As soon as Kaleb was big enough to play youth sports, Robert took on the role of his son’s coach. Once his business was fully established in 2010 he became a member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Leadership Arlington Class of 2013-2014 and has memberships in the Optimist Club of Arlington and the Arlington High School Ex-Lettermen’s Club. He routinely provides financial support to the University of Texas-Arlington, the Arlington ISD, and youth sports organizations.
“I believe it is very important to give something back,” he says. “My experience growing up in Arlington helped make me what I am, so I try to be a huge supporter of Arlington.”
Even – especially – at 2 in the morning.