Marv House: Flexibility is key to Powell project

Sandra ClarkGrainger, Our Town Leaders, Powell

Carol Evans told a great story at the dedication of Collier Preserve in Powell. It says a lot about Evans, Dr. Bob Collier who donated the land, and Marv House, a member of the Legacy Parks Foundation board of directors who participated directly in the low-impact development of the park. To paraphrase Evans:


Marv House is an engineer; as CEO of Merit Construction Co., he developed multi-million-dollar projects. He makes plans, uses plans, relies on plans. And when he met with me and Dr. Collier here at the property, he would bring his plans. Bob and I would say, ‘Oh, that’s good. … But could we move this over a bit?’ or ‘Could we stretch this?’ And the next time Marv would bring another plan.

After about five such meetings, I came out one morning and saw Marv over at the council circle. He was nailing paper plates into the ground where we could insert the posts. And I knew he had accepted our method. Flexibility.

Marv House

Marvin “Marv” House has contributed mightily to Knoxville. In July 2019, KnoxTNToday published this story about a Habitat House built to honor his late wife, Janie. Habitat’s theme was “A House Makes a Home.” Marv led the four-day build, assisted by family and friends.

Marv and Janie were married 49 years. They were partners in Professional Construction Consulting Inc., founded in 1985. Following Hurricane Katrina, they built homes in Bay St. Louis through Habitat International. They spent almost a year with the Appalachian Service Project, building homes in rural Appalachia. They restored and lived in a former grist mill in Blaine.

Marv’s interest in home-building led to his service on the board of Habitat. His interest in restoration led to board membership of the East Tennessee Historical Society. And his interest in fishing, hiking and scuba diving led to his board service with Legacy Parks.

Professionally, he is a member of the National Association of General Contractors Risk Management Surety Bonding Committee and the AGC Consulting Contractors Council, a former trustee of the AGC Comp Trust of Tennessee, and the past chair of the National AGC Surety Bond Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and the MBA from Goddard College. He began his construction career in 1973 and is a licensed professional engineer in 14 states, a LEED Accredited Professional and holds a contractor’s license in six states. After years at the helm of Merit Construction, he is now board chair.

So, Bob Collier had the vision, Carol Evans found the funding and Marv House provided professional expertise to make the Collier Preserve a first-class recreation area for walkers and birders. Marv just had to lose the plans.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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