Charter Construction: Past, Present, and Future

The Pacific Northwest has grown by leaps and bounds. Thirty-six years ago, before the tech industry took hold of Seattle and before Portlandia told us Portland was the hippest place in the United States, Charter Construction set out to be honest, do good work, and instill that ethos into all who came and worked here.

To give some historical perspective, Charter is twelve years younger than Starbucks, eight years younger than Microsoft and fourteen years older than Google. To speak about Charter’s past, present, and future we caught up with Eric Jackson, Charter’s newly appointed President, on a recent Spring day in Portland and began by asking – 36-years of success, why and will it be the same for the next 36?

Eric Jackson - Charter has always been a place of opportunity. Many of our employees who are in leadership positions are people who started at the end of the hammer or shovel. It is that kind of opportunity that has retained good people and contributed to Charter’s long-term success. When I started at Charter, I had just graduated from Evergreen College, with an English major of all things, but I was also interested in architecture. During my final quarter at Evergreen, I had the opportunity to work with an architect who gave me some very sound advice. If I wanted to be a good architect, I needed to learn how to build first. That’s when I found Charter.

My first day at Charter was digging ditches, and I loved it. From there I enrolled in a Carpenter’s Apprenticeship program, and I had the good fortune to work on a mixture of both commercial and residential projects, seeing them through from dirt to doorknobs. I say this not to highlight myself, but to put into perspective, the opportunity one has here. I started digging ditches, and I am now the President. I’d be lying if I told you I planned that, it was just my natural progression here.  

Question – Who does Charter admire?

EJ - Good question. There are a lot of people that I admire, but when it comes to work, it's Charter’s many carpenters, superintendents, project managers and leadership (past and present) that I’ve been working side-by-side with for years now that I personally admire. These people are some of the smartest and most creative people that I’ve ever met, and it’s been my good fortune to not only call these people my mentors, but also my friends.

I also admire our many business partners that I know share Charter’s goal of always taking care of the client. Hiring a builder to build or repair your home or commercial investment requires a lot of trust, so we take it seriously when we are selected to be someone’s contractor. We’re here to do good by our clients, and I know that many of our business partners are aligned with us on this goal.

Question – At the end of your tenure with Charter, what needs to happen to be fully satisfied?

EJ -  This is easy. When I retire, I will know the names of those future leaders, know their story and know how they got to where they are now, I will be satisfied and happy. Charter’s various teams are already in very capable hands, and the strength in Charter is that it has always been a team effort. My time here is a privilege, and I see myself as more of a steward of the organization. I get to do what I love. I get to help people be the best they can be, help to create a company that sustains itself, and help our clients build their dreams and put their lives back together with the work we do. I’m not sure these guys will want me here for the next 36 years, but I’m excited to see what it brings for Charter.    
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