June 7, 2024

Nestled in the heart of North Carolina, the quaint town of Pilot Mountain is home to an extraordinary individual whose life’s work is literally set in stone and blueprint. This is the story of a Forsyth Tech alumnus, one of seven siblings, who translated his early love for precision and structure into a flourishing career in contracting.

Growing up, Randy Stanley found himself immediately at home in the realm of building trades, taking a masonry class in high school that engrained in him the mantra of “straight, plumb, and level.” These words became the guiding principles of his craftsmanship, resonating through his later achievements. Unlike freehand art, Randy’s canvas was drafting paper, his strokes defined by rulers and compasses, his artwork a prelude to tangible structures.

Upon graduation from high school, Randy attended Forsyth Tech, taking a one-year certificate program in building trades drafting. Under the tutelage of Joe Bass, an instructor from NC State, Randy honed his skills. It was in this program that his journey with drafting floor plans began, and he would eventually go on to design of his very own home in Pilot Mountain. Little did he know, this drafting class was just the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of perfection in building.

In a candid reflection on contracting, Randy equates it to practice, much like any other professional field, emphasizing its dynamic nature—never the same challenge twice. His commitment to the craft led him to become a practicing general contractor, a title he holds with pride and excellence.

The military drafted Randy in 1971, right after his graduation. He served in the Army with a spirit of volunteerism and upon return, furthered his education with the help of the GI Bill. Attending Surry Community College for two years, he then advanced to Appalachian State University, majoring in Industrial Arts. His maturity and dedication shone through, graduating Summa Cum Laude—a testament to his evolved approach to learning and craftsmanship.

Love and intellect mingled in his life when he reconnected with Paula, his high school sweetheart. Paula, an MBA graduate from Appalachian State, and Randy have three wonderful children together: Meredith, Will, and Rebekah.

Post-graduation, Randy ventured into the field, working various jobs. An uncle’s reference led him to a job with Blue Ridge Enterprises as an estimator. That marked a pivotal moment in his career—he never looked back. Five years later, his brother Gary joined him at Blue Ridge. After 16 years, the duo decided to forge their own path, founding Garanco in 1995.

Specializing primarily in commercial projects, with the occasional residential build, Randy and Gary distinguished themselves in the industry. The complexities of commercial versus residential construction are vast, but with everything laid out up front, success followed.

His beginnings as a carpenter with I. L. Long and experience with projects like Big Creek at Westfield shaped his philosophy that every carpenter would benefit from a drafting class to become better at their trade. His advice to aspiring builders is clear: Drafting is an invaluable skill. It not only sets the direction for construction but also provides a visual interpretation of the final product.

Joe Bass’s words, “If you can’t draw it, they can’t build it,” resonated deeply and stuck with Randy. Before computer-aided design (CAD) became the norm, his ability to make drawings pop off the page was remarkable. It’s a skill he considers crucial, as understanding codes and mastering the principles of straight, plumb, and level remain the backbone of construction.

Randy’s ethos is simple yet profound: Get Work, Do Work, and Account for it. It’s a mantra that has served him well throughout his career. From the drafting tables of Forsyth Tech to the construction sites of Garanco, Randy’s life is a blueprint of passion, precision, and perpetual growth—a legacy built to last.