Off the Clock: Ryan Gootee, Ryan Gootee Featured in City Business Article
Family: wife, Sara; children, Grace, 6, Harrison, 3, Henry, 1
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management, Louisiana State University
Hometown: New Orleans
Ryan Gootee didn’t stray far from the family tree when he decided to go into the construction industry.
“My great-grandfather started a plumbing business in 1909, so I’m a fourth generation,” said Gootee, president and CEO of Ryan Gootee General Contractors.
His father, uncle and their cousins owned Grimaldi Construction, a company Ryan started working for during the summer when he was 15. In 1991, his parents and aunt and uncle broke off to start Gootee Construction Inc., where he worked for 10 years before starting his own company in 2004.
“I like to see things start from nothing, have a clean slate, just dirt and transform it into a beautiful building,” he said.
Some of the firm’s recent projects include Joseph Craig Elementary School, hurricane remediation work at Jesuit High School and the CVS store on Canal Street.
Did you play with Legos as a kid?
Sure, but not anymore. We do have building blocks for the kids though.
Are you good at Jenga?
I never played it until I had kids, and we started playing a month ago.
Do your kids watch “Bob the Builder?”
We watched it for while, but we phased out and moved on to other shows.
What’s your favorite piece of construction equipment?
The ones that aren’t broken.
Which building do you wish you had built?
The Supreme Court in the French Quarter had to be a serious challenge. It would have been neat to build. I actually worked on one phase of (renovations) with Gootee Construction.
What’s your favorite part of the construction cycle?
Negotiating the contract and putting it all together. Finishing the contract is also rewarding. But maybe getting paid.
What’s the biggest challenge in the construction industry?
The market is very saturated with competition. The margins are low, and the national economy also isn’t helping things.•