Kory Cofield is Following in his Grandfather’s Footsteps at Carroll Daniel Construction
Kory Cofield was only a young boy when his paternal grandfather passed away. But he’s well aware of the legacy of Clifford Cofield, better known around Gainesville, GA as “Shorty.” And in the unlikely event he should forget, he need only look out the back door of his employer’s company headquarters for a reminder.
A plaque adorns “The Shorty Shop,” the Carroll Daniel Construction Company’s workshop, “dedicated to Cliff ‘Shorty’ Cofield, for 50 years of service,” from 1953-2003.
“I’ve always looked up to him,” Kory says. “Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to build things. When I was in school, I took every construction class I could.”
Kory is a 2017 graduate of Lanier College Career Academy, which offers one of more than 150 statewide construction programs in CEFGA’s K12 Pipeline.
He went to work at Carroll Daniel in 2015, starting as most laborers do – sweeping, cleaning up job sites and other entry-level tasks. Today, he says, “I’ve learned a little more of the trade – setting door frames, temporary doors, temporary windows, setting walls, reading blueprints. I’ve learned a lot in three years.”
Kory plans to begin classes at Lanier Technical College’s brand-new Gainesville campus in January 2019. He’ll continue his job with Carroll Daniel while working toward a two-year degree in Construction Management. His ultimate goal: Superintendent, the same role Shorty Cofield held for so many years.
“He’s kind of got it in his blood,” says Kory’s boss, Field Supervisor David Anthony. “He’s actually interested in construction, which is a delight these days. It’s kind of hard to find someone who wants to understand the business rather than just do a job until it’s time to go home. He wants to see the details, and he wants to see the big picture, too. He wants to learn my thought process and understand why we do things the way we do.”
Kory is the fourth of five siblings – he has two brothers and two sisters – but he’s the only one to pursue a construction career path. Even when he’s off the job, he often can be found building something, or just tinkering.
For example, he designs and builds custom tables for Big Green Egg grills. He does cabinet work. And he drives a 1989 Ford Bronco that he keeps in good running condition, despite its 145,000 miles.
“I’ve always liked to work with my hands,” Kory says. “Even though I didn’t know my grandfather well, he taught a lot of skills to my dad, and my dad has passed that along to me over the years.”
Despite his heritage, Kory isn’t immune to mistakes in the field, but he keeps it all in perspective. “Stuff happens, weird stuff, all the time,” he says with a laugh. “But you learn from all of it.”
At the same time, his bloodline motivates him to succeed. “I think people expect a little more because of my grandpa,” Kory says. “He was one of the best at his job, and everybody knew him around Gainesville. When people hear my name, they say, ‘Oh, was he your grandpa?’ So I try to [live up to that]. I doubt I ever will, but I try my hardest. I actually like that pressure – I think I work better under pressure.”
So far, Kory has the full confidence of company management. “He aspires to be a superintendent,” Anthony says. “I think he’ll become one if he stays focused and stays on the track he’s on.”
Kory has no intention of deviating from that track. “This is what I want to do the rest of my life,” he says.
Who knows – one day Carroll Daniel may have to install a second plaque lauding the Cofield name.
VIDEO: Watch as Kory talks about his grandfather and his goal to one day be a superintendent himself. Follow us on our YouTube channel to hear about more successful construction careers in Georgia.