Our History

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Burke Pinnell

Founder & Chairman
Look up the word "Craftsman" in the dictionary and you might just find a picture of Burke. For his entire life Burke has truly enjoyed working with his hands and finding unique solutions to difficult problems. In 1977, Burke and the other founders of Hickory Construction set out to create a company dedicated to providing the highest level of quality and service in everything we do. From the smallest renovation to the largest custom home, Hickory's mission has never wavered. As Chairman, Burke is still very actively engaged in the day-to-day operations of the company.‌

Burke is a veteran of the U.S. Army and an Eagle Scout, bringing the principles of discipline, leadership, and service with him in his daily work. In 2024, he was recognized for his lifetime involvement in scouting – an honor that speaks volumes about his commitment to excellence and service.‌

When he is not busy mentoring Hickory's leadership team, Burke can be found exploring the great outdoors with his wife, Lezah. Together they have traveled the globe, embarking on amazing adventures and creating cherished memories along the way. However, Burke’s interests aren’t limited to travel. He is also an avid fisherman, hunter, and woodworker. He enjoys combining these passions by handcrafting bows, arrows, fishing rods and tying flies which he uses on his many adventures.

Ben Pinnell

Growing up in the halls of Hickory, Ben has been raised under Hickory’s founding principles. He embodies “The Hickory Way” and has inherited the love of craftmanship from his father, Burke.‌

Ben’s journey in excellence extends beyond construction sites. He too is an Eagle Scout and lives his life surrounded by the values of scouting as his ethos, putting others before himself and providing the highest level of service to all.‌

Ben’s passion and enthusiasm is contagious. His leadership brings a spirit and energy to Hickory that is absorbed by our entire team. Ben is extremely passionate about Hickory, his family, and his bees. Yes, his bees. Ben is a highly respected beekeeper and exceedingly impassioned about this hobby. If you want to talk construction or bees, Ben is always ready willing and (more than) able. Additionally, Ben’s thirst for adventure is immense. He has sought out and conquered challenges such as having hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail and navigated the entirety of the Mississippi River on a handmade raft just to name a few. This lifetime of journeys has helped him develop his leadership style and given him unique perspectives on life’s day-to-day challenges.

Jon Hawker

Vice President of Operations
As the leader of Hickory's field operations, Jon's priority is the day-to-day processes of our on-site project teams. He is highly focused on continuous improvement and ensuring that our measurables are not only met but exceeded. ‌

A graduate of the University of Virginia - School of Engineering, Jon brings a truly analytical approach to our field operations. He uses this approach to regularly monitor and measure project schedules, budgets, and quality performance. Each project is routinely audited to ensure key performance indicators are analyzed and assessed. But it’s not all spreadsheets and graphs for Jon. In his 22 years at Hickory, he has led some of the most noteworthy project in our portfolio. His extensive, hands-on knowledge is key to his success as the leader of that team.‌

Outside of Hickory, Jon is passionate about his 3Fs - Family, Faith, and Fitness. Jon’s wife Nicole leads a nonprofit focused on health & wellness. They recently completed their first marathon and, together, they have engaged in mission trips to Africa and South America. Two of their three adult children are former U.S. service members and are now actively engaged in their local communities, following in their parents’ footsteps. Their third child is actively pursuing her law degree at the University of Tennessee and plans to pursue a career in children’s Legal Services.

Randy Fields

Director of Business Development
Randy, also a U.S. Army Veteran and Eagle Scout, serves as the leader of sales, marketing, and community engagement initiatives for Hickory. In his role, Randy leads Hickory’s efforts to be exceptional corporate partners both with our clients and within our community. In his sales and marketing role, Randy leads our team to develop and foster relationships in the pursuit of new projects. He also maintains partnerships with design and business leaders throughout our region. Randy also leads Hickory’s engagement in the Fine Home Builders Alliance, of which Hickory is a founding member.

Within the local community, Randy serves on numerous boards and works tirelessly to promote civic engagement amongst area business and community leaders. His community engagement includes the following: 2023/24 UT Chancellor’s Associates Chair, two-time Chair of the CRE Charitable Breakfast – benefiting East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, President of the West High School Football Booster Club, Development Director of the West Athletic Council and much more.

Outside of his "day job" Randy can usually be found actively involved in his children's activities; be it school, sports or engaging in outdoor adventures with his family. He loves sports and the outdoors so is frequently enjoying time with those activites.

Evolution of Hickory Construction, Inc.

Hickory Construction, Inc. is established.
First Commercial Project
Started consistent flow of commercial projects
Burke transitions to Chairman; Ben named President
• First Laborer Hired
• First Custom Home
  • First Office Computer
  • Began work with Blackberry Farm
Hickory Construction, Inc. office was built
  • 63 Employees
  • 82% Repeat client rate
  • Over 7500 projects completed