Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture publishes Neal Garver biography

The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, an online resource operated by the Central Arkansas Library System, published recently a biography of Neal Garver, the founder of this company, which touches on his early life on the family farm in Iowa, his time at Iowa State University, his arrival in Arkansas, and some of the company’s earliest achievements.

Garver worked in Toledo, Ohio, and as a professor of structural engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before reporting in June 1918 to Little Rock, Arkansas, to aid the country’s war effort. He and two engineering colleagues arrived to supervise the construction of a picric acid plant southeast of Little Rock, which was to be used to manufacture munitions during World War I. By the time the war ended that November, before the plant could become operational, Garver had already decided to stay in Little Rock to help improve the infrastructure in a state that, at the time, had few engineers.

“Architects were here in sufficient number to design buildings, but few could design complicated structural features,” Garver wrote in his unpublished autobiography.

In 1919, as the firm’s lone employee in the Gazette Building in downtown Little Rock, Garver started what has grown since into a multi-disciplined firm with offices in 10 states and nearly 500 employees.


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