Domicile architect

Published: Monday, January 6, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 6, 2003 at 1:47 a.m.
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Breck Weingart talks about his role as the 2003 president of the Builders Association of North Central Florida. Weingart is co-owner and vice president of Charles Perry Construction Inc.

ROB C. WITZEL/The Gaineville Sun


BRECK WEINGART: co-owner and vice president, Charles Perry Construction

  • PERSONAL: married, four children
  • CAR HE DRIVES: Cadillac Escalade
  • LAST BOOK READ: "Red Rabbit," by Tom Clancy
  • LAST MOVIE SEEN: "Ocean's Eleven"
  • BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: "Strive for continuous improvement, because you can always do better," from his partner, Charles Perry
  • HIS GUIDING LIGHT: If you work hard enough, you can achieve anything you want.

  • At 45, Breck Weingart has had a grand total of two jobs in his life. And he's the first to admit that most people can only dream about that kind of career stability.
    "I've been very lucky," said Weingart, vice president and co-owner of Charles Perry Construction Inc. "I worked for my father, and then for Charles Perry. One thing I've learned from both of them is that construction is a people business. You're only as good as the people around you, from the carpenters to the laborers to the project manager."
    An Ohio native, Weingart first took an interest in the building trade from his father, who worked as a subcontractor and moved the family around the U.S. for a number of years. Weingart's many stops included the Bahamas, where he spent about two years while his father worked in construction.
    Weingart's family moved to Gainesville in 1970. After he graduated from Buchholz High School in 1975, Weingart enrolled at the University of Florida to pursue a degree in building construction. He earned that in 1980, and then moved temporarily to West Palm Beach to operate a roofing plant for his father.
    "I felt like I owed my Dad something, after all that he taught me," Weingart said. "But the roofing business wasn't too interesting, so I came back to UF for my master's degree."
    While in school, Weingart took a job as a project estimator for Charles Perry Construction. The company's owner, Charles Perry, ended up stealing Weingart from UF's graduate program in building construction, and Weingart never finished his degree.
    "Charles told me it didn't matter if I couldn't finish school," Weingart said. "He told me to come to work for him."
    As it turns out, Perry would eventually be looking for some managerial help with his company, one of Gainesville's largest construction firms. Weingart rose through the ranks, and in 1995 he became a full partner with Perry at the company.
    Having Weingart around has made Perry's life a little easier at the office, which hasn't suffered from a lack of work. Charles Perry Construction has handled some of the region's largest commercial projects, including Exactech's Inc. current building and $4 million expansion, a $14 million addition to Regeneration Technologies Inc. in Alachua and a $70 million expansion/renovation at North Florida Regional Medical Center.
    "As you reach maturity, you realize that you need some help," said Perry, who will celebrate 35 years in the construction business in February. "Breck was already taking care of a lot of responsibilities before we even talked about his ownership in the company. When Breck stepped in as a partner, I had the best of both worlds."
    Perry and Weingart also have part ownership in PPI Construction Management, a firm Perry created about 12 years ago. PPI and Charles Perry Construction have about 200 employees and are headquartered in a one-year-old office building on NW 15th Place in the Fort Clarke Business Center.
    Weingart's schedule just got a little busier, too. He was named the 2003 president of the Builders Association of North Central Florida, formerly known as the Gainesville Builders Association.
    Weingart is believed to be the first president from a commercial building entity; the previous presidents were from residential construction companies. The organization has gone through changes in the past 10 years and now represents a broader scope of local builders, Weingart said.
    "They used to be known as the Gainesville Home Builders Association, but they changed that in 1993," he said. "That's when (Charles Perry) joined the group. We had been involved with state associations, but we knew we needed to be affiliated with a local builders' group. The interaction we've had with local government agencies has been worth the dues alone."
    One of Weingart's goals for 2003 is to work more closely with city and county officials regarding local development - particularly in relation to Alachua County's comprehensive plan, which is going through mediation and could place limits on local construction.
    Residential builders alone construct 1,000 new homes in Alachua County each year, with a collective payroll of 2,500 jobs and $80 million in salaries, Weingart said. Weingart would like to compile similar data for the county's commercial builders, in order to show how important the construction industry is to the local economy.
    "We're a huge driver in this community," he said. "I think we've done a hell of a job in building Gainesville."
    Joe Coombs can be reached at (352) 338-3102 or

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