February 28, 2023

Garver mourns the passing of former President Sanford Wilbourn

We are saddened by the recent passing of former Garver President Sanford Wilbourn.

Sanford worked alongside our founder for years before taking over as president of the company in 1970 and served as our leader until 1986. During his tenure, Sanford led the growth of the company as it surpassed the 100 employee-count, and restructured into the business model Garver still uses today, even though the company now boasts more than 1,000 employees across an ever-expanding footprint.

He was known by our people and clients alike as an even-keeled, practical thinker with a sincere smile that he employed often. Rarely – if ever – did anyone remember seeing him angry or overly concerned, which is remarkable given the high standard for the quality of work he insisted upon from himself and his employees.

While Sanford had long been retired from the company, his influence remained strong throughout the rest of his life, as he regularly attended Garver events and even the most recently hired employees sensed the respect everyone in the building had for him.

Anyone who worked for Sanford will tell you his most quotable phrase, which was also his most quoted phrase, was “You can’t sell bad engineering.” He repeated it over and over, and even if you can’t hear it in the Garver halls today, you can certainly feel it.

Our company will always be indebted to Sanford for helping us to build a culture of excellence.

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