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Nichols Industrial Construction credits success to a model of “Business as Ministry”

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By Tommi O. Peters

As owner of Nichols Industrial Construction Company (NICCO) Dave Nichols’ office is as you would expect to find for a successful businessman. In addition to family photos, illustrations of war heroes hang on the walls and replicas of his two personal planes are displayed on a side table.

The monitor on his computer shows a map that is virtually infested with pinpoints representing the company’s countless completed projects throughout the eastern half of the US.

But Nichols offers barely a mention of these things, instead choosing to celebrate all that God has accomplished in his life. With increasing enthusiasm, he shares stories of individuals, missions and ministries NICCO has impacted.

An expression that reflects humility and celebration spreads across Nichols’ face as he names a few of the local ministries NICCO has supported, including Grace House, Jimmy Hale Mission, Bethany House, Positive Choices, Christian Service Mission and others.

“We have been privileged to partner with missionaries around the world – literally hundreds of various ministries and partners on every continent,” said Nichols.

He was particularly enthusiastic to share information about Grace School of Theology, which he was instrumental in bringing to the area.

Nichols was seeking an opportunity to bring an intentional study of God’s Word to the community when like-minded associate Robbie Roberts suggested they visit Houston-based Grace School of Theology.

The model of the existing school fit perfectly with Nichols’ vision and the concept of a satellite campus solidified. Opening its doors two years ago in the strip mall behind Applebee’s, the school is the only accredited Bible College and Seminary in Trussville.

While generosity is a character trait of Nichols, hard work and a passion for industrial construction are birthrights. Nichols comes from a family of ironworkers, acquiring knowledge during his upbringing from his father, six uncles, and three older brothers that were in the trade. Eager to begin working himself, he withdrew from high school at age 15.

It was at age 16 that he met Melinda, his bride of 45 years. “She wanted to spend time at church and I wanted to spend time with her’” said Nichols. “That’s when I met the Lord and my life changed forever.”

Shortly after marrying at age 17, Dave and Melinda felt called to become missionaries. They earned their GEDs and enrolled in New Tribes Mission Bible College.

During that time the Nichols’ recognized their mission field territory could expand through business. They determined to create a successful business that would support and invest in other missionaries, ministries and individuals. The company’s niche is industrial siding and roofing replacement and maintenance, as well as steel erection.

“We do a lot of emergency work where there’s been an explosion or fire,” he said. “I may get a call on Sunday and we’re there by Tuesday beginning repairs or reconstruction. We’re lean, mean and mobile.”

Though projects have taken the NICCO team as far from their home base in Trussville as 1200 miles away, they rarely hire workers local to the project location. Instead, Nichols prefers to travel with the skilled workers he depends on day to day. Two of the five Nichols children are in full-time ministry, with the other three on the company employee roster.

And though some are relatives, all of the NICCO’s employees are valued as family. Nichols concludes by saying, “Great people work here. Our key employees understand our business mission. They are a part of whatever good we do in the world and they have an investment in that.”

To contact NICCO, call (205)833-6000 or visit www.niccoinc.com.

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