Alumnus donates columns to AHS

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 23, 2016


Two weeks ago, The Star-News reported that the Andalusia Board of Education had voted to replace the columns at Andalusia High School.

Within about 24 hours, the columns had been donated to the school.

Superintendent Ted Watson said AHS graduate Kyle Boatwright, owner of Worthington Millwork, Inc., called him to ask about the planned purchase. Boatwright had submitted a price for the columns, but his was slightly higher than the other price.

0723 kyle boatwrightAfter a day’s worth of conversations, Boatwright told Watson he’d just donate the columns.

“He said he’d do it because he’s a Bulldog,” Watson said.

Boatwright, whose company also constructed the columns on the new junior high school, said this week it’s all about giving back.

“Basically, if you’re blessed, you need to be a blessing to other people,” he said. “Andalusia is where I was born and raised. The community and people – the teachers and faculty and staff of Andalusia High School – played a role in who Kyle Boatwright is today.”

Boatwright is donating the columns in honor of his classmates from 1997, who fittingly will be celebrating their 20th reunion at homecoming this fall.

Boatwright’s company, Worthington, manufactures columns, cornices, balustrade railing, shutters, ceiling medallions, and other architectural features.

“We can make it out of wood, fiberglass, or stone. Our specialty is really doing the custom work that most people can’t do.”

Much of their work is for restoration projects, and customers often ship them all or part of a piece to replicate.

“That’s what’s neat about what we can do,” Boatwright said. “You can restore a historical building with modern materials, and never have to worry about them, again.

“Like these columns. They’re fiberglass columns with a lifetime warranty. They’ll always be there. That’s pretty cool – even after I’m dead and gone, they’ll still be there.”

It’s a line of work he never expected to enter.

“Basically, I graduated from Troy in 2001, and couldn’t get a job. Even having a degree in business.

“I tried all summer to get a real job,” he said. “And I kept applying. I had an interview with Hunter Fan Corporation, and I told myself if I didn’t get that job, I’d go back to Troy and work on my MBA.”

Back at Troy, the only job he could find was cutting grass on the golf course for $5.35 an hour.

He was literally cutting grass one day at the Troy Country Club when he got a message to come in for an interview. An ex-girlfriend had given the company his name.

“I went in and interviewed,” he recalled. “They offered me $6 an hour, plus commission. I thought even if I didn’t sell anything, at least it was a little more money and I could work inside.

“I took the job,” he said. “I was still in college, so I wasn’t worried.”

A year later, Boatwright found a financial partner and assumed the company’s debt. Three years after that, he bought his partner out.

“Now, it’s a multimillion-dollar business, and it all came from hard work,” he said.

“This is the only real job I’ve ever had,” he said. “It’s the American story of hard work paying off. It’s a great company, because I have great employees who work with me.”

He and his wife, Christina, live in Panama City Beach. They have three children, Gavin, 7, Rinley, 3, and Sadie, 7 months.

Mrs. Boatwright is a native of Ozark.

“I also put the columns on that high school, too,” he said.