Fox & Hearn, Inc.
was founded in April of 1961 by Jim Hearn and Curt Fox.
David, Jim's younger brother, joined as a full partner in
1962. They all came to Austin from Houston to work on
remodeling the state capitol building. During this
period, they decided to move to Austin to start a mechanical
Their plan was to
install commercial plumbing, heating and air conditioning as
well as provide service work. Jim was to take care of
the estimating, with Curt in Charge of service and David in
charge of construction. In the early years, the jobs
were mostly small commercial jobs with an occasional large
residential job. Little by little, the company was able
to bond and bid larger contract work.
style was very "hands on," accompanied by high moral and
ethical standards - with employees, customers and vendors.
They developed a very strong, loyal employee base with little
turnover. These partners built a respected business for
the next 10 years. In 1973 Curt left to start Fox
Service Company. Jim left and started Southwest
Insulators Company. David and his wife Juanelle
continued ownership and operations of Fox & Hearn, Inc.
While David ran
overall operations for the company, Juanelle came in to manage
the office. Key personnel in the field moved up to
supervise the work. The company maintained their
reputation as a fair and honest company, no matter what the
problem. Fox & Hearn, Inc. always worked to make sure
the customer was satisfied, no matter what the consequence to
Austin was a roller
coaster ride for the construction business during many years.
David and Juanelle managed to keep their business by putting
the company before their own personal needs. The company
overhead was always kept to a minimum. Knowing that they
would receive a job well done, and at a fair price, particular
engineering firms asked Fox & Hearn, Inc. to do their jobs.
The loyal, hardworking employees were a testament to David and
Juanelle's fairness, and many stayed on for up to 20 - 30
years, unheard of in the construction industry.
Time did bring
changes. David decided after 25 years to go "open shop"
and did not renew the labor contract with the union. A
big step - now the company had to train employees!
Again, hard work, perseverance and a good reputation paid off,
and Fox & Hearn, Inc. became successful as a merit contractor.
In the early '90's, the company took the opportunity to branch
out and start working out of town. It was successful
building prisons as far away as Montana. In 1998, David
retired and his daughter and son-in-law took over running the
In 2011, Fox & Hearn
celebrated its 50th year in business. The second
generation continues the successful pattern they were given
for running a business - work hard and treat customers and
employees fairly and honestly. They plan another 50
years of contributing to Austin's Progress.