BY JACLYN ROSE –
Bryan Hebert moved to Polk County from New Orleans at the age of six. The middle child with an older and a younger sister, he graduated from Mena High School in 1984, a number that coincidently was his football number and his favorite album at the time. “Growing up in Polk County? I loved it. I played lots in the mountains and we enjoyed riding motor cross and hanging out. I always loved the backwoods and driving in a small town,” Hebert explained.
After graduation, Hebert moved to Northwest Arkansas where he attended college at John Brown University for two years before completing his degree in Business Management from the University of Arkansas. “I made a conscience effort to come back to Mena. I left for fourteen years and went to the big city and worked but I knew I would come back. My dad speeded the process a little when he called and told me he was getting tired and said if I was going to come back and take over [the family business, MSBI], it was time. That was in 2000 and we didn’t realize it but he already had cancer,” said Hebert.
Beginning at age 12, Hebert helped his father, who had started Mena Steel Buildings (MSBI) in the late 1970s, by picking up nails and trash and screws on the job site. After graduation he took a job with Nabholz Construction Company, which is widely recognized as one of the best commercial general contractor and construction managers in the country. After that, he began working for MCBI, a well known supplier in the construction industry. Later, he also worked for a large subcontractor specializing in metal roofing. “I’ve always been a project manager in some realm of the construction industry, not knowing it would be a great preview for my future career,” Hebert explained. “I have worked for a large general contractor, a large and very good supplier, that I use today, and a really good large sub contractor. I was honing my trade in many different areas and then came back and put it all together in my job as a general contractor for MSBI Construction, Inc.” In taking over the family business, Hebert has shifted the focus somewhat, from putting up metal buildings to becoming a general construction contractor, Hebert understands the specific needs of running a small business in a small town, “financially we are not the wealthiest county, so we have to be extremely lean and extremely efficient to make it work.”
Hebert married his wife Amye in 2003, and 11 years later he says the key to making it work is that you just make it work. “It won’t happen on its own, it’s a choice.” Together the couple has five children. “I love being a dad,” Hebert said. “It’s the best part of life, so far.”
“I like the small community in Polk County. You know people and they know you and there isn’t so much of the negative stuff as there is in the cities for kids to get involved in. I love telling the kids that I know that they did this or that before they even get home at night,” Hebert said. “I feel like as a whole, the community looks after its own, it’s safe.”