09 Jul Owner Profile: Andy Johnson and Joe Boyd
Project Manager Joe Boyd, PE, and Director of Construction Management Andy Johnson occasionally work together on projects at WithersRavenel. Joe has been with the company since 2012, and is based in our Wilmington office. Andy started in 2007 after working many years for the Town of Cary. But their relationship dates to 1993, when Andy was the coach and Joe was an outfielder for the Joe Toms youth baseball team for 9- to 12-year-olds in West Raleigh. Let’s hear about Joe and Andy’s story, and other connections from that team to WithersRavenel, in our latest Owner Profile.
Joe, you uncovered this baseball photo, right?
Joe: My mom made me a scrapbook when I went to college of childhood stuff, and I found that scrapbook in my house with the photo of the 1995 team in it. Andy and I talked a month or two ago about it.
Andy: Moss Withers played on that team, too, he’s also in that photo (son of WithersRavenel co-founder Tony Withers. Moss is in the front row, second from the left).
Joe: So is Stevie, Andy’s son (photo’s bottom row, second from right). I don’t think Drew (your other son) is in that one? He was on the team my first year playing on it, but he was out by then.
Andy: Right, he moved up to junior league by that time.
Did you guys keep in touch after you were together on this team?
Andy: We ran into each other at N.C. State football games or at other places off and on over the years, or I’d run into Joe’s Mom and Dad occasionally.
The first time I realized that Joe was with WithersRavenel, I was in a project meeting with the Town of Ayden, an owner/contractor meeting for a park project out there. Joe walked in, I’m trying to remember who you were with …
Joe: Jeff Thompson, he had come here a year or two before me, he hired me down here. I had probably been here a month or two and went to that meeting and you were in there.
Andy: He walks in the door, and I said, “Joe, what are you doing here?” and he said, “I work with WithersRavenel.” I had no idea that he was with us, down in the Wilmington office. That was a surprise to us.
Joe, how old were you in this picture where you’re playing ball and Andy is coaching?
Joe: Probably 12 at the time.
And what is the name of this team, does that say Joe Toms on the uniform?
Andy: That’s correct. A guy named Tommy Costin was the team sponsor out of West Raleigh, and WithersRavenel sponsored teams at West Raleigh for years. Tommy could name the team anything he wanted to, so he named it after his two sons, one named Joe, one named Tom. So we were Joe Toms. Before that we were Pepsi-Cola. I coached Joe Toms out at West Raleigh for probably about 20 years.
Andy, how good of a baseball player was young Joe Boyd?
Andy: Joe was a great baseball player. He was a leadoff batter, played center field and pitched every once in a while. Didn’t you pitch Joe?
Joe: I pitched a little. I was more … in dire circumstances I would pitch, I don’t think I threw quite hard enough to be a really good pitcher.
Andy: He could get it across the plate.
Joe: Yeah, I could throw strikes. I’ve got a pitching story that deals with Andy’s son. I don’t remember what team it was, but it was one of the better teams we played, and we were up by one run, it was the last inning. Andy’s son Stevie was out in left field, the other team’s best hitter was up, and I was pitching. He hit a shot into left field and Andy’s son, who was probably like 9, he was younger than I was.
Andy: Yes, he was 9.
Joe: And Stevie went out there and he caught the ball with his glove falling off. The glove barely stayed on, he caught it and we won the game. I’ll never forget that.
Andy: At the time you could play 9 through 12 together. We’d draft players, they’d come try out and we’d select them. I drafted Joe to be on the team, and he stayed until he aged out.
Joe, what do you remember about Andy as a coach?
Joe: Andy was a real good coach. I know his sons were playing, but there was never any different treatment of anyone. I remember Andy being one of the better baseball coaches I had. The most fun I ever had playing baseball was on Joe Toms. I played past that, a little bit in high school, a little bit in the junior leagues and prior, but the most fun I had was on that team in West Raleigh.
Andy: And it was a great place to raise a family. Gosh, it’s been 15 years since I’ve coached, but I started coaching when my son was 2. I got drafted into coaching by my neighbor. One day we’re out in the neighborhood and he says, “Hey, you need to come watch my game tonight.” So, we went over to West Raleigh, and it’s the first time I’ve been there. They had a game that didn’t have a coach, the commissioner of the league was filling in for their team. So, after the game, it’s tradition that the team huddles down in the corner. Mom says, “Hey, let’s go down and hear what the coach says and how the players react.” So I went down there and Mom says, “Hey guys, this is Andy Johnson. Y’all want him to be your coach?” And they’re all like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” They didn’t know me from Adam.
That’s how I got roped into it. I told them my son was only 2, he couldn’t play. They said it don’t matter. So we started dragging him to it, birthed another baby, that’s when Steven came along, so he grew up out there. We’d go out there as a family. We’d always eat together as a family, even if it was hot dogs at a picnic table at the ballpark. Then after you’d eat, I’d go speak to other coaches and parents, Mom would speak to other parents, the kids would play with other kids. It was a great experience out there.
Joe: I agree. As a kid out there, I had a blast. I loved playing baseball there, but even when it wasn’t our game, I remember watching other teams. We’d hang out behind the fence, try to catch home runs.
Andy: Play pickle, kickball, whatever.
Joe was always one of the fastest runners I ever had, too. He could cover a lot of ground in the outfield and get around the bases really quick. I think that’s where Steven got quicker. When he was little after the games, he would run the bases mimicking the other kids. He got it from Joe.
Joe: Actually, Moss and I became very good friends, we would hang out and play. Probably about high school we lost touch. When I started talking about getting hired here, I remembered going to Tony’s (Withers) house as a kid. Did not realize Andy worked at WithersRavenel as well until that meeting, that day in Ayden.
Do you guys get to work on a lot of projects together?
Andy: Not many, but we have a few. We’ve got a client that we have together, sometimes I hear about what is going on in Wilmington, from Robin (Rose) from Preston.
Joe: And Robin coached out there too, didn’t he?
Andy: He ended up helping me coach the next year. Two of the assistants in the picture, one of the coaches and the lady who helped keep the books, their kid aged out, so the next year I needed some assistant coaches, so I convinced Robin Rose and Tony Withers to help me coach.
Andy: And Jim Canfield helped me coach even earlier than that, way back when we were in the minor leagues on CMC Concrete. Another former employee that worked for me, Gary Gooch, who is now retired, helped me coach in the past as well.
And that was before you worked with WithersRavenel right?
Andy: Yes, that is when I was with the Town of Cary.
Any more thoughts about that Joe Toms team?
Joe: We never won the championship, but I think we made it to the finals that year.
Andy: That was a really good team. We had a lot of success with that particular group of kids, and Joe was a big part of that.