Message from the founder

Thanks to the vision of one man who comes from traditional construction family, from a company with three employees GRADINA has grown into one of the leading construction companies in Serbia

In the early 1990s, when I founded GRADINA, foreign names for companies were all the rage. Wherever you turned, you would stumble on an “export” this and an “import” that. Once I remembered Gradina, “my mouth was full” – as it is said in my hometown when eating or drinking something so good that you cannot help but take a mouthful. Anyway, Gradina is a fort overlooking my hometown. It originates as far back as the Turkish occupation. That Gradina survived to this day, providing shelter and safety to people in various times. With that in mind, I named my newly founded company GRADINA. But it was not the only reason. I did not want my company to “hide” behind cryptic foreign names that as a rule mean nothing, but to make it immediately clear to everyone what it is that we actually do.

In its two and a half decades of existence, GRADINA continuously grew observing the fundamental principles in the business: quality and building speed. We started out modestly, with only three employees, working on small projects. In the meantime we have constructed or renovated more than 3,500 buildings of exceptional quality, some of which are ranked among the most complex construction projects even according to the strictest world standards.

Looking back from this perspective, the first thing that comes to mind are the times when I could not take a single day off for months, forcing my long-suffering family to take the back seat. Still, this was the only way to complete the contracted works in time and with good quality – in other words, to survive in these difficult times. In his biography, ethnologist Dragomir Antonic noted that having visited almost all villages in Serbia, he considers his greatest accomplishment the fact that he can go back to each and every one. I can confidently say the same. Today my biggest success is to be met with a smile by the investors I worked with in the early days.
When GRADINA was starting out, war was raging all around us. While others were tearing buildings down, we were erecting them! Then came the previously unheard of, record-breaking inflation. While some were dealing with transactions that made them rich overnight – we were building! And then the airstrikes started. Once again, they demolished, and we kept on building!

Đuro Đurđević, osnivač Gradine

Gradina is a former fort overlooking my hometown for centuries. If the structures built by our company remain standing strong as long as the fort, I will know that my mission has been accomplished.

From three employees in 1990, GRADINA has grown into a company employing several hundred people.

A lot has changed in our society over the last two and a half decades. GRADINA has shared the fate of the community, adapted to new business environment and economic conditions, but throughout the years remained relentlessly committed to steady improvement in all segments. This approach certainly yielded adequate results. The market need for innovation and services according to the world’s highest standards obliged us to keep up the continuous improvement. While extending the scope of our construction activities we also expanded our employee base, which eventually grew into a highly qualified staff with extensive experience. Trust, responsibility, and human relations on the highest level are a guarantee of a good workplace atmosphere found by any visitor to the company.

We have developed along with GRADINA, primarily owing to the fact that we never rested on our laurels. We have constantly striven towards the higher and the better. Some of our buildings were completed within deadlines even we thought impossible, but most importantly – we never pursued the speed of construction at the expense of quality. Such approach to every business opportunity earned trust and respect of the investors. Many of them returned to GRADINA with new business, having recognized us as a reliable partner.

We have always tried to meet the demands and needs of both our investors and the community in the most comprehensive, efficient, effective and accountable manner possible. From day one, our employees have had a clear understanding of their daily tasks, authority and responsibility. This shall carry on in the future as the only way to implement our quality policy.

Coming from a long line of builders, I observed from an early age all the beauty and hardship of construction. Notwithstanding the fact that the effort required for building is much greater than for some other types of work, what remains is a satisfaction that hardly any other profession can grant – completed houses, buildings, factories, business facilities… To our posterity we leave what is most precious to any man – a space to live and work.

The greatest satisfaction any builder can feel is to pass by a building he worked on many years before and say “This was done well!” This is exactly the type of satisfaction I get every day, walking by the buildings that GRADINA not only built, but built well. People come and go, bad times come and pass…and buildings remain as testaments of both people and times. And the right ones are like one – they only gain in quality as the time passes. Numerous medieval structures, which even today leave me speechless, serve as the best testimony to this fact. Contrary to the common belief, they are more than mere witnesses to their times; they are also proof that building is more than a craft, it is an art and science…and next to food production, a basic human need for eternity. Construction methods, technique, technology, materials may change, but what remain is the desire to build structures that shall withhold the test of time. In a word, the need to build for today while thinking about tomorrow.

I would like to see some of the buildings constructed by the GRADINA Company last at least as long as the fort whose name it bears. I would like to see the GRADINA Company provide shelter and safety to its employees for many years to come while giving the feeling of home to those coming in to do business with us. In short, to have GRADINA represent for future generations what the Gradina fort above Vrlik represented to our ancestors. And to last at least as long…

Djuro Djurdjevic

01a_Tvrdjava Gradina 2