Born in 1919 and orphaned at the age of 13, James W. Pinkard Sr. moved from his birth place in Missouri to Denver in 1937. Limited by an 8th grade education, he sought work as a carpenter. In 1941 he married and departed shortly thereafter to serve a tour of duty in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.
Following the war, he worked as a carpenter and superintendent while building homes on the side. His tenure as superintendent on the Denver Mint was always a point of pride for him. He advanced quickly and eventually became the vice president and general manager of construction at Platt Rogers Construction Company.
When Platt Rogers closed their doors in 1962, Pinkard took the wages he was owed in the form of equipment and tools, and set out on his own to form Pinkard Construction Company. Pinkard Construction was a family business from the beginning: Mrs. Pinkard and their children answered phones and painted offices. Mrs. Pinkard designed the first company logo.
The first Pinkard fleet consisted of dump trucks, tractor trailers and pickups, all painted “Pinkard Pink” to unify them and to let everyone know there was a new construction firm in town. In the ensuing years, those trucks (and their successors) traveled throughout Colorado to over 1400 projects, including such notable buildings as Executive Tower Inn (one of Denver’s first highrise buildings), the Boulder Public Library, Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge and Denver Zoo’s Tropical Discovery.
Fifty years later, the construction business has changed as much as the Denver skyline. The pink trucks are long gone and we use as many computers as we do hammers. All the same, James Pinkard Sr.’s maxim lives on: Treat people fairly. Work hard for your clients. Strive for excellence.