Meet Your Merchant | Building on three decades of experience in Tahoe-Truckee
October 1, 2013
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Although he had to check his framed license on the wall for the exact date, Robert "Bob" Marr is proud to celebrate his business's 30th anniversary this fall. Bob received his contractor's license Sept. 1, 1983. Although planning a celebration for this year, Bob said 30 years ago the thing he did to celebrate was "go to work."
From a young age, Bob was familiar with Tahoe Truckee — his parents bought a house on Donner Lake for in 1960. They paid $8,000 dollars.
"My dad thought he was in way over his head," Bob remembers.
During summers and winters the Marr family came from Sacramento to play and ski.
“Even after 30 years we’re still excited about another 30.”
During college Bob began working construction; he was one of the many laborers working to build the Tahoe Donner area.
"It was 1977, I had a shovel in my hand and was just making beer money for my next year in college," Bob said with a laugh.
Coming from a line of builders (his grandfather was an architect and his father an engineer), getting into the business was the next step for Bob Marr.
DOING IT ALL, WELL
With three decades of experience, Robert Marr Construction doesn't specialize in one area, but has ample experience in commercial, industrial and residential property.
"We have covered the gamut," Bob said. "Even after 30 years we're still excited about another 30 years."
In the early 2000s, East West Corporation hired Robert Marr Construction to do many of the development projects around Truckee.
"East West hit the timing perfectly," Bob said. "Things were starting to boom and everything they touched turned to gold."
Robert Marr Construction, along with many sub-contractors, were involved in what Bob remembers as a "four-to-five year ride" resulting in 16 townhomes in Northstar, 44 cabins and 28 townhomes in Old Greenwood, and the Gray's Crossing restaurant and pro shop.
"What they were producing was what people wanted," Bob said.
The builder said he still likes to look at projects from the past of which he has been a part.
"I look at it and think, 'wow that's pretty cool,'" he said.
Bob watched business boom, and like so many in Tahoe-Truckee, he then watched it fall. In the recession of 2008, the businessman built more second homes and less commercial property. He said he learned a lot from the recession and has made improvements to his business since.
Bob's passion for his career helped keep Robert Marr Construction a leader in the industry.
"I love what I do and all aspects of it," he said. "It's also about weathering the storm, feast or famine in our business."
Bob described 2008 as the worst downturn he'd ever seen. Without the help and support of contractors in the area, Robert Marr Construction wouldn't have lasted.
"We wouldn't be still standing after 30 years without them," said Operations Manager Steve Casey. "That's a big part of our success, especially in those tougher years."
Steve and Bob said they look forward to continuing for another 30 years.
"Coming out of the recession, there is an interest in Truckee and development again," Bob said. "We're excited about that interest and being able to continue developing relationships and see Truckee grow."
Scott Gillespie, an architect in business for 13 years, has been a part of the journey with Bob.
"Thirty years is incredible!" Scott said. "It requires tremendous and constant effort, a lot of business acumen, a great support team, the ability to wear many 'hats' and adapt as market conditions change."
Scott describes Bob as charismatic and fun, but serious when warranted.
Bob is known for his professionalism in the office, on the golf course, and most importantly, in the field.
"I coach almost every activity," Bob said. "Pop Warner, Little League, soccer, basketball."
Bob said he used to golf himself, until of course he had two little boys. His sons are now 8 and 9-years-old.
"I can't even remember where my golf clubs are," Bob said with a laugh.
Any season of the year Bob can be found on the sidelines of youth sports, cheering on his boys and their teammates.
Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.