Fans of HBO’s hit fantasy series Game of Thrones will pick up on the reference inherent in the name of Jonathan and Jarrett Logan’s Memphis-based construction business, Castle Black Construction. Both men — twin brothers and owners of equal shares of the business they started in 2005 — are Game of Thrones fans, and they decided to name the company after the headquarters garrison of the Night’s Watch. In the series, it’s a stronghold that sits along the famed wall of ice that separates the most northern point of the seven kingdoms from the forbidding lands beyond.
That gives you some idea of what Jonathan (the CEO) and Jarrett (the COO) were going for in naming their enterprise — something different, attention-grabbing. In pairing that name with the company’s logo of a lion, Jonathan explains, the intent was to project ideals like “strength, courage, and perseverance.”
Be assured, however, that the similarities between the real and the fictional Castle Black end there.
As a general contracting company, Castle Black deals with the intricacies of the built environment, creating everything from warehouses to office complexes. An owner, be it a private organization, person, or government entity, hires a prime contractor to oversee or be responsible for construction, and when Castle Black is tapped for that job it does what needs to be done, including hiring specialty subcontractors who have to be licensed in certain trades, like plumbing.
According to Jonathan, Castle Black — based out of an office at 2500 Mt. Moriah — does about 90 percent of its work on commercial projects. “One area we focus on is pre-engineered metal buildings,” he says. “We do a lot of those, and they come in various types, from gymnasiums to office buildings, manufacturing facilities, maintenance, and storage.”
The company was formerly known as Jonathan Jarett Inc., “a period of time we solely focused on residential buildings,” Jonathan says. “And then the economy tanked in 2008, and we restructured our business. Close to about 2013, we changed the name to Castle Black Construction and moved more toward commercial construction only. Since 2013 that’s been our primary focus.”
The business has a full-time staff of 11 and another half-dozen or so part-time workers. Because Castle Black goes after work on the state, local, and federal levels, it reaches beyond the Bluff City, including an office in Nashville and a presence in Houston.
If you wanted to go back to the actual genesis of how and when the seeds for the business were planted, you’d have to start when Jonathan and Jarrett were still kids to get a sense of what they’d grow up to build and accomplish. The brothers, even then, were tinkerers.
“Building has always been a thing that Jonathan and I have been passionate about,” Jarrett says. “Back when we were little boys, we’d both always take things apart and put them back together. And it stemmed from that, our love for architecture and design. Our love for that is what led us into building.”
Love of a profession is one thing. What keeps one able to punch the clock is a whole other matter, with both men pointing to a few simple but indispensable guiding principles that have helped them along the way — most boiling down to self-awareness. They say to be aware of the numbers, constantly analyzing how things look under the hood. And be aware of how all the pieces of your life work along with everything else.
Jonathan says it’s important to find the rhythm and not take on too much at once. “Pace yourself, and make sure that your financing and your ability to manage projects grow at a steady pace,” he says, “and you can keep up with the work demand.”
Adds Jarrett: “I have two sons, 15 and 11, they’re both active boys, both play sports. One’s in high school, and the other is in elementary going into middle school. It’s very demanding when you have kids that you have to nurture and grow, and then maintain a business that you have to nurture and grow. A lot of times, the most successful people in the world, they tend — this is just my view and my perspective — to be highly successful in one area, but they fail miserably in other areas.” It might be the relationship with the children, or the spouse. Jarrett feels that one thing tends to suffer when the emphasis is placed somewhere else.
“All of these things have to be balanced,” he says. “One side of the scale can’t be too far tilted to the left or the right so much that the other one fails. I always try to make sure I make time for everything that’s important to me. And that’s other things besides business.”