William Clark Focused on Blueprint for Business

Arkansas Business 20th Annual 40 Under Forty
The original Class of 2002 profiles
2013 Updates from this week's digital edition of Arkansas Business.

In some ways, William Clark hasn’t gone anywhere. In others, he has traveled a great distance.

Clark was project manager at his family’s construction business, CDI Contractors, when he was named an Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 honoree in 2002. He took over as CEO in 2007 after his father and company founder, Bill Clark, died.

But Dillard’s bought out CDI in 2008 and William Clark left in 2009 to start up Clark Contractors, the Little Rock company he heads today.

Clark, a CEO once again, picked a tough time to start a company. But from its dicey beginnings during the recession, Clark Contractors grew to reap $104 million in revenue in 2012.

“The economy was pretty much at the bottom of the recession when we started Clark,” he said. But by being diverse, with projects in the health care, commercial/corporate, education and retail sectors, Clark’s new company was able to persevere and thrive.

“Basically, we just worked hard and knew it was going to be tough for a few years,” Clark, 44, said. “Our mindset was it was going to be tough either way, starting a new company, whether you’re in a recession or not.”

Some of Clark Contractors’ projects include the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Heifer International headquarters, the Harvey Jones Science Center at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia and a number of Lowe’s Home Improvement stores.

Clark noted a bit of a parallel between his new family-owned business and the one in which he started as a 16-year-old part-timer working for his dad. “We both battled the new-company stigma at times,” said Clark, pointing out that he was four years younger than his father was when Bill Clark began CDI. “Not all the time but occasionally. The feeling and sense of accomplishment when your company can stand on its own and has its own reputation are very rewarding.”