ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Why Jim Myrick ’99 invests in Benedictine

By Noell Barnidge
Jim Myrick, Jr., Benedictine Military School Class of 1999, vividly remembers the moment he learned a valuable life lesson about accountability.

“I’ll never forget, my dad was taking me to school one day,” Myrick said. “He was talking on the phone and he lost track of what he was doing. I was like, ‘Hey, we’ve got to turn.’ He said, ‘I’m on the phone!’”

Many minutes later, and well past 6502 Seawright Drive, Myrick’s father stopped the car in downtown Savannah.

“He gets off the phone and he was like, ‘(Shoot!) Where are we?’ and I was like, ‘I told you to turn. We’re going to be late for school,’” Myrick said, laughing at the memory. “So he turned around and we get to the school. He walked me in there and told Mrs. Judi Rogers (the school secretary who didn’t take any guff from anyone) – ‘Look, he’s not late. It was my fault. I was on the phone.’  And she said, ‘Mr. Myrick, I don’t care if you did anything. He wasn’t here on time. He’s late. That’s all there is to it. He’s getting written up.’

“And here’s the reality of that,” Myrick continued. “That’s called life. As you get older and you start experiencing things in life, fair does not always equate to things. ‘Well, (darn). That’s not fair.’ Well, that’s just too bad. Life is not always fair. That’s one of the things that BC was so instrumental in teaching me.”

Myrick credits BC with teaching him many other life lessons.

“Being on time is important,” he said. “Being properly groomed is important. Just all the little things. There were a lot of things that I took away from there that just set me up for success in the future. It’s life lessons that you’re learning in school, at the time, to help prepare you for later. There are several things that I took away from LTC (John Manson) Owens’ class that I will never forget. One of them is no excuses. That’s the answer no matter what it is. If you’re late, there’s no excuse. Now, there may be reasons, but it’s still not an excuse. That doesn’t excuse you from being late. It doesn’t excuse you from doing the wrong thing. There may be a logical reason, and it may be something that is going to save your (rear end), but that’s still not an excuse for you to be late.”

Because of his love for BC, Myrick, President of Myrick Marine Contracting Corp., made a $50,000 gift to the Forward, Always Forward Capital Campaign.

“BC has helped to build me to be the person that I am today,” he said. “If I can give back to the school and help the school build people, then you can’t ask for anything else. How do you do that? How do you increase the school’s ability to mold young men into good, young businesspeople, ethical people, people that you want to call future alumni, people that you want to do business with? I attribute a lot of things to my education with BC. Not only the analytical and academic, but I don’t see anything that is more beneficial than being able to mold kids who are going through that age. It’s hard to explain how that works. But being an alumnus of BC is something I’m proud of every day.”

After graduating from Belmont (N.C.) Abbey College, Myrick went to work full-time for his father at Myrick Marine Contracting Corp., a full-service marine contractor that owns and operates one of the most extensive fleets of floating marine construction equipment in the southeastern United States.

“I’ve grown up in the business my entire life,” Myrick said. “As time has gone on, I’ve advanced through the company working on the deck and being a tug (boat) captain, all the basic things that happen in life. As I graduated from college, I advanced on to the management level so I became a vice president of the company in 2004 when I graduated from college. I was vice president of the company for (several) years and then I was promoted to president of the company. My dad still has a leadership role but has taken a step back a little bit. He’s CEO and I’m the president of the company. I’ve been managing and running the company for probably over 10 years. We build docks, bridges, marinas, piers. We do mostly water-side structures and construction. We don’t do a whole lot of residential. We’re more geared up for industrial and commercial.”

Myrick is the first person in his family to attend BC. He lives in the same home in which he grew up on the Forrest River, near Savannah Mall. His grandfather sold the house to his father, who later sold it to him. Myrick said many of the lessons he learned at BC have helped him throughout his business career.

“Another thing that was so amazing was in LTC Owens’ class, at the end of the year, all of the seniors had to get up and give a presentation,” he said. “I don’t remember what it was about or what the deal was. It’s been quite a while. But I will never forget that he taught us that when you’re giving a speech or a presentation, a lot of people have a tendency to stop what they’re saying, or not stop what they’re saying, and add ‘um’ and ‘uh’ and try to fill space with dead words that don’t mean anything. LTC Owens taught us to stop for a moment, think about what you’re about to say, and not just sit there and fill dead time and sound like an idiot. I can’t even do it because it’s so entwined in me not to that I can’t ad ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ to every sentence. And it’s just crazy that’s something that when I was 17 years old it was just melted into my brain. There’s so many little things like that that you take away from BC. It’s an opportunity for a boy to become a young man. I stayed in JROTC all four years. I think that was really beneficial. I know some people who came in their junior year so they didn’t have to do the JROTC but I don’t think that was the full experience. I think the full experience of being at BC is being in the JROTC program.”

Having previously served as a member of the Benedictine Athletic Association’s Board of Directors, Myrick now volunteers his time as an assistant coach of BC’s sport shooting team, which won the 2020 Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) state championship.

“I’m not as involved at the moment as I have been the last couple of years because work has been, for me personally, pretty busy,” he said. “I spent a good bit of time on the BCAA’s Board of Directors. That helped to bring me back into the fold. We actually meet at the school so it helped to get me back on campus. I think that’s a challenge. We all have a little bit of a disconnect from the school when we’re not there for a long time. It was nice to get back and see everything, and see everyone, and it puts you back in touch with your roots.

“The physical sports get you outdoors,” he continued. “Team-building, camaraderie, all those things are such important parts of building the future of our society. That’s part of what the BC draw for me is. I deal with people who are BC alums all the time. It’s just a unique experience that I don’t think you can really get with much or any of the other schools.”

Myrick said he excelled at mathematics “but not with English because I’m dyslexic. Reading is a terrible thing for me.” One of his favorite teachers was Tony Orsini, who taught him geometry.

“He’s a great teacher,” Myrick said. “That’s one thing I really have to commend the school on is the teachers. We had some great teachers when I was there. Freshman year, Fr. Jeffrey. Sophomore year, Fr. Ronald. Junior year, Chief (Steve) Carl. Senior year, LTC Owens. And Coach Orsini was in there. We had Coach (Wayne) Munch in the science department. Coach (Bill) Curley, who taught us a heck of a lot of discipline. Coach Curley really believed in discipline. As students, we all developed great relationships with these teachers. Even years later, I would see Chief Carl or Coach Curley out in public and it was just like, ‘Thanks for being such a great mentor and teacher.’ Those are the things that helped to build the school to be what it is. For me, to still have a relationship with those teachers 20-something years later, is insane.”

Myrick said he learned about more than just mathematics during algebra class, and he intends be a lifelong donor to BC.

“I hated going to Mrs. Patterson’s class when I was in algebra because we had to do the exact same thing every single time,” he said. “Your notebook had to be formatted in a certain way. The reality is that 30 years down the road, I still format notebooks that I write notes in for other things the same way. I think it’s a critical time in young men’s lives, 14, 15 years old to 18 years old, I think that’s one of those key times when you have an opportunity to really key in on those kids and to mold them in a good direction. It’s so hard these days to do that.

“For me, BC is something to be proud of,” he continued. “It’s so good to be able to have some place to be able to mold people with discipline. Don’t give a kid too many options. Make them stick to something and do something and go in there with a plan. I want to be able to build the future and help to make BC the absolute best that it can be. If there is anything that I can do to help the school, I’m going to.”