The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture publishes Neal Garver biography
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, an online resource operated by the Central Arkansas Library System, published recently a biography of Neal Garver, the founder of this company, which touches on early life on the family farm in Iowa, his time at Iowa State University, and some of the company’s earliest achievements.
Garver worked in Toledo, Ohio, and as a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before reporting to Little Rock, Arkansas, to aid the country’s war effort in June 1918. He and two engineering colleagues arrived to supervise the construction of a picric acid plant southeast of Little Rock, which was to be used to manufacture munitions during World War I. When the war ended that November, before the plant could become operational, Garver had decided to stay in Little Rock, to help improve the infrastructure in a state that, at the time, had few engineers.
“Architects were here in sufficient number to design buildings, but few could design complicated structural features,” Garver wrote in his unpublished autobiography.
In 1919, as the firm’s lone employee in the Gazette Building in downtown Little Rock, Garver started what has grown since into a national consulting firm with offices in 10 states and nearly 500 employees.