Octavius Nickson is the president of Nickson General Contractors, a company he co-founded in 2015. The company is a Certified Minority Owned Small Business with the core principles of people, purpose, and pride. Past projects include the Shelby County Health Department, Grind City Brewery & Ghost River Brewing and Whitehaven and Central High Schools. The project he’s most proud of has also been one of the most challenging: renovating the historic Cossitt Library in Downtown Memphis. Nickson is replacing and relocating all the systems in the building from the chillers to the switchboard. He says the transformed space will be a great asset to the community.
Nickson was born and raised in Memphis. He grew up in the Binghampton neighborhood, attending East High School, as well as French Camp Academy in Mississippi. He tried college for a year and a half but decided it wasn’t for him. When he came back to Memphis, he walked three hours each day to his job at the Nike facility. Then a friend introduced him to the Binghampton Development Corporation and its workforce development program. For the next year he was paid to learn construction. He landed an entry-level position with a local contractor. Over the next seven years he worked his way up through the ranks. When he was ready to start his own company, he went back to the Binghampton Development Corporation and asked the director if he would partner with him.
Now paying it forward, Nickson General Contractors offers on-the-job training and accepts entry-level applicants. He says his biggest person achievement is being able to provide opportunity to others so they can excel, despite obstacles they may face. “Construction is a lot more than hammers and nails. It’s a feeling of accomplishment that a person gets, not just on the giving end but on the receiving end. I have been very fortunate to witness and be a part of many of our own PEOPLE finding their PURPOSE and taking PRIDE in what they’ve accomplished.”
When he’s not working, Nickson loves snorkeling in Jamaica, Cozumel, and Cancun. He also loves reading and playing all sports, from basketball to ping pong.
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