If you had in mind a huge development for raw land, you’d probably do what the developers of Daleville Town Center did: call in Hal T. Bailey, 48, of Fincastle’s Engineering Concepts. As the only Botetourt firm to work on that project, Daleville’s Bailey and his team planned “everything except the buildings,” as he said. They worked on the layout, the roads, the water and sewer, the grading, the storm water drainage and everything else before the first bulldozer came in. If you didn’t know about their role, you wouldn’t know they’d had a part in it, because you don’t see most of what they do.
“The Town Center, Greenfield and The Glebe were similar,” Bailey said, “in that we were involved at the beginning. Worked on rezoning applications, the due diligence before they decide to go forward with planning, all the way through to construction.” This work covers both civil and environmental engineering.
And now, the firm also offers surveying, a preliminary step before developing land. Bailey calls his ECI Surveying a sister company to Engineering Concepts. “We’re trying to market surveying, such as boundary and topographic surveys.” The two ECI surveyors can work with the four licensed engineers of Engineering Concepts, or separately.
Their work locally has spread their reputation over the state. They also respond to requests for proposals. As a niche business, they can “go up against the large firms that do everything.” Right now, they’re working on some flood related projects for the city of Norfolk. But not every job rivals the Town Center in size. For example, they’re doing some work for Camp Bethel, a local church facility.
With jobs all over the state, Bailey cannot always predict his work hours. “We do whatever it takes. We have town council meetings and rezonings at night, and the work for Norfolk calls for overnight trips.”
Another local project dear to the hearts of Buchanan residents centers around the water distribution system for the town. “They have to have a lot of line replacement because so many lines [pipes] date back to the early 1900s and they’re leaking. We plan for appropriate line sizes and water meters that a radio can read from a distance.”
When you hear the name Bailey in Botetourt, you have to ask, “which one.” Two doctors, one a popular local veterinarian and another an endocrinologist in Roanoke, an airline pilot, a carpenter and an auto sales dealer make up his list of five brothers. His father, Dewey, has retired to The Glebe.
A Bailey by marriage, Hal Bailey’s wife Cindy, a frequent substitute teacher, went to Virginia Tech, as did he, but they only met when he was working in Richmond. But when they knew this was heading to marriage, they decided to live in Botetourt. Once back, he built on his experience with a 300 acre development in Richmond and started his own firm at age 29.
Bailey not only wanted to live in Botetourt, he wanted to live at his home place. So he and Cindy set about modernizing it, doing a lot of the work themselves. It took over four years, and they lived there while doing it, part of the time with an infant. “We both decided we’re glad we did it. And glad that it’s almost 20 years behind us. Insanity may be the best word for it,” he quipped.
Looking back on his success here, he said “it’s fun to go back and think about all the projects we worked on in the Roanoke Valley.” Plus he’s optimistic about 2011 and beyond. Just look at his record.