Bonar Day “B.D.” Rodgers Jr., founder and chairman of Charlotte-based Rodgers Builders Inc., one of the region’s largest commercial builders, died Friday at age 89, family members said Saturday.
A cause of death was not immediately available.
Rodgers and his company were involved with some of the best-known structures in the Charlotte area and the Carolinas, including the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, BB&T Ballpark: home of the Charlotte Knights, Carolinas Medical Center’s Levine Cancer Institute and the UNC Charlotte Center City building.
A Charlotte native, Rodgers was 39 when he started the company in 1963.
According to the company website, he borrowed $5,000 on his life insurance policy to go into business. The company was named the 2007 Carolinas AGC trade association “Best of the Best in the Carolinas Construction Industry.”
A respected contractor, Rodgers was also a well-known community leader.
“He was a quiet gentleman who was highly effective,” said Rolfe Neill, retired publisher of The Charlotte Observer. “He worked to help build civic projects. He and his wife, Pat, have been very generous with their personal donations and putting time in community organizations. He was always a man of his word and first-rate.”
Michael Marsicano, president of the Foundation for the Carolinas, called Rodgers “a gentle giant” and “one of the most generous men I’ve met.”
Rodgers’ philanthropic involvement covered a range of organizations, his company said, including Florence Crittenton Services, a Charlotte organization for single, pregnant and nonpregnant teens, women and their families, as well as the Alexander Children’s Center in Charlotte, N.C. State University College of Engineering and Brevard College.
“He has given so much of his time, talent and treasure to this community,” Marsicano said. “With his devoted wife, Pat, no other couple has done more to make Charlotte the wonderful place it is today.”
Hugh McColl Jr., former chairman and CEO of Bank of America, described Rodgers as “a remarkable citizen of the city for many years.”
“He was a phenomenal contractor who built everything that mattered,” McColl said. “His company did perfect work. He was outstanding in terms of being a contractor. You knew you’d get what you were hoping to get. You knew it would be done well.
“All of us admired him,” McColl said. “And loved him. He was a wonderful man, and he will be greatly missed. ”
Rodgers attended Elizabeth Elementary, Piedmont Junior High and graduated from Central High School in Charlotte. He went on to attend Brevard College for one year and then was drafted into the Army during World War II. Serving in the 1264th Battalion of combat engineers, he helped to build roads through the Black Forest during the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war, he attended N.C. State University, graduating in 1949 with a civil engineering degree.
Rodgers Builders has offices in uptown Charlotte, Raleigh and Greenville, S.C. In 1987, Pat Rodgers was named president and CEO of the company.
ENR Southeast magazine name B.D. Rodgers Contractor of the Year in 2013; four years earlier, he received a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award from the N.C. State College of Engineering.
According to the citation, “Rodgers is a leader in his business, his community and his state and has been a longstanding board member for numerous academic institutions and non-profit organizations.”
Rodgers was also a recipient of the Golden Hammer Award from the Professional Construction Estimators Association and the 2000 Executive of the Year Award from the Construction Financial Managers Association.
The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte.