--(Orlando, FL)-- For over 40 years, the name Aagaard-Juergensen (AJ) has stood for quality service, workmanship and excellence in general contracting. Two partners started out with a dream, and grew it into reality, through a business that has stood the test of time.

In the 1960’s, Walter K, Juergensen and Robert Aagaard found themselves working for Geiger Jones Construction. Walter had just gotten out of the Navy, and the two had hit it off after Walter was transferred from the Atlanta office he oversaw, to work in the main Orlando office with Robert.

After awhile, both men decided they wanted to try doing it their way – convinced they could do a better job, and dreaming of owning their own mid-sized contracting firm, they wanted to be in the position to make the important decisions; to be able to operate and succeed according to their own values and standards. They determined that they wanted to own a general contracting company founded upon repeat business from satisfied customers.

With that goal in mind, and even though there was a slowdown in building during the late 1960’s, both men were inspired to press on anyway, and launched their plans to become independent.

Taking the next step, they borrowed money from their families and converted a small house in Orange County into a three-room office. They opened Aagaard-Juergensen Inc. on October 1, 1970.

It was an interesting start – AJ’s first commercial bid was for remodeling a chimney for the Orlando Naval Training Center. Then they were the low bidder for a private job of building a back porch onto a residence.

Business picked up from there, and AJ began to grow, especially in government contracted work for building schools and remodeling schools throughout Volusia, Osceola, Orange, Seminole and Lake Counties.

As the company began to grow, one of the first new hires was Randy Brooks, in May of 1971. He oversaw the office, and also did estimating, project management and more. Brooks enjoyed the work and respected the company so much, that he bought a percentage of AJ when Mr. Aagaard decided to retire in 1984. Brooks continued buying private AJ stock, and then purchased the company on June 29, 2007.

Today, the dream Aagaard and Juergensen began is a solid reality, and about 80 percent of AJ’s business is referral and repeat business. In 1976, through their excellent reputation, AJ was appointed the Butler Building Franchise, which is considered the benchmark in metal building structures nationwide.

Since the late 1970’s AJ has remained most focused on building their reputation in the private business sector. AJ continues to win bids in four main specialty industries that, early on, also seemed to pick them:

Automotive & Fleet Centers, Religious buildings, Retail & Commercial projects, and Industrial & Manufacturing buildings.

“We do what we say we’re going to do,” says President Randy Brooks, “this has helped keep us in a very favorable light with private business owners, who come back to work with us again and again, and who also refer us to their associates, as well.”

Some of the most notable buildings in Central Florida are Aagaard-Juergensen buildings. AJ has completed the Nurses Training Facility at Valencia Community College West; The 5th District Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach; the first Student Union Center at the University of Central Florida; the remodeling of a naval training center into the Seminole County School Board headquarters; the building and then expansion of Lake Mary Preparatory school; relocating McNamara Pontiac from West Colonial to East Colonial; building the new Boys and Girls Club of Pine Hills; remodeling the DeBary Golf & Country Club; and building the Orlando Harley Davidson Dealership.

The success runs internal, too. The typical employee has been with AJ about 12-15 years, with four superintendants that have been employed for more than 20 years, and additional employees that have been with AJ for more than 25 years. Today, AJ has 30 employees.

“We here at AJ consider this a family. We must be doing something right with our employees or they wouldn’t want to be so loyal,” Brooks explained. “I myself had plenty of opportunities to leave and go with other firms. But, because I always thought this was a very fair, decent company, loyal to its employees, with a great reputation for doing exceptional work throughout the community, I personally never thought it was worth it to leave such a company. I was right. Few companies excel in all these areas as AJ has, and still does,” he said.

Brooks believes that honest and excellent work has brought AJ success, and that these same qualities maintain that success. “If you do not have a good reputation you will struggle to get work in any economy,” he said. “What we do is to simply tell the owner the truth, and then we do what we tell the owner we’re going to do – we follow thorough with no surprises. I do not like surprises, and I do not like my owners to have to feel surprises,” he explained.

The next goal for AJ is growth. Presently, AJ is poised to grow to the next level to a $35 to 40 million dollar firm. The AJ team plans to continue growing the way AJ has always grown - through repeat business, referrals, reputation and the A-players that continue to fuel that reputation.