Editorial: 07.15.2020

Aaron Retherford is a Trailblazer Who’s Expanding Castle’s Influence

Aaron Retherford

Whether he’s identifying new ways to engage clients or scoping out geographic expansion opportunities, Aaron Retherford always has his eyes on the future.

“I'm constantly looking to the market and considering what we can do next,” says Retherford, who holds dual positions as Castle’s director of business development and director of design-build.

He joined the company in 2010 as preconstruction manager after launching his construction career a couple years earlier at another St. Louis contractor.

“When I first came to Castle, it was a smaller company with smart, visionary leaders,” he says. “I just dove into my work and looked for opportunities to expand my position.”

He convinced Castle leadership to appoint him as the company’s first full-time business development manager in 2014. “Building long-term relationships with owners and project partners was important to our growth,” he says.

As Retherford dug into his new role, he began to observe the pitfalls and inefficiencies of the traditional design-bid-build method for delivering civil construction projects. “When it comes down to it, we saw a better way to build,” he says.

Retherford collaborated with Castle leadership to introduce a new turnkey civil design-build service for site development work. This involved adding an in-house civil design team so the company could offer its clients a one-stop shop during the earliest concept stages of a project to help them minimize risk and optimize success.

“The idea started with a goal to get in front of owners or end users early in a project to demonstrate our expertise and control our own destiny,” he says.

Castle’s most recent civil design-build project — La Collina — is a 12-acre urban residential development in The Hill neighborhood of St. Louis. Working for Draper & Kramer, a Chicago-based private developer, Castle delivered a site survey, subsurface utility mapping, and civil design and construction services for a future apartment building and new subdivision.

“We had zero change orders on our own design,” says Retherford. “The client couldn't have been happier, and they’ve continued to hire us for additional design work on the site. The process works — and it’s getting a lot of traction.”

The challenge of convincing clients to consider a different approach to civil projects energizes Retherford. “That's why I love what I do because I can wake up and get creative every morning,” he says.

As director of business development, a position he has had since 2017, Retherford oversees the company’s business planning and marketing strategies. He also conducts market research to assess potential geographic expansion opportunities. He’s been a key leader in building Castle’s presence in Omaha and helping to identify new project opportunities and grow the local team.  

“What I love most about my job is the ever-changing challenge of figuring out new ways to do business,” he says. “It’s that entrepreneurial spirit — not settling for the status quo of how traditional subcontractors are viewed and allowing us as a specialty contractor to do what we’re good at.”

Retherford is also enjoying the opportunity to see the fruits of his labor impact the bottom line. “We’re having an incredible year,” he says. "There’s nothing more rewarding than when a plan comes together and gets executed, and you get to see the results."

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