Brasfield & Gorrie Celebrates True American Dream Story on 50th Anniversary
June 25, 2014
Company founded in 1964 by young entrepreneur with life savings grows to $2.3 billion in annual revenues, remains privately held
Birmingham, Ala. (June 25, 2014) – Brasfield & Gorrie’s 50th anniversary in 2014 marks a milestone in a true American Dream story.
The company was founded in 1964 when a young Miller Gorrie used his life savings to purchase the construction assets of the Thos. C. Brasfield company. The ambitious 28-year-old with a knack for saving and investing strategically purchased the company’s name and assets with $45,000 he had acquired through wise investments in IBM stock that began in his teenage years. Though Miller’s father worked for IBM, the young entrepreneur decided to forge his own path after serving in the Navy for three years following college. Miller purchased the name of Brasfield’s company, which had a strong reputation in the Birmingham community, and then built his own company from the ground up.
At its outset, the company was sustained by small commercial renovation and repair work, such as a renovation project at First National Bank in downtown Birmingham, Ala., valued at $475. In 1967, Miller changed the company’s name and moved its offices to the current headquarters in Birmingham. With each passing year, the company moved more and more into new construction under the leadership of Miller and fellow founders Jim Anthony, John Darnall, James Harbison and Imogene Powell.
An important period of expansion for Brasfield & Gorrie came between 1979 and 1984 during the condominium boom on the Gulf Coast. During that time, Brasfield & Gorrie built 37 condominiums on the Gulf Coast, representing approximately $200 million in contracts, which increased the volume of the company by 50 percent.
The company experienced additional growth in 1984 with the opening of offices in Atlanta, Ga., and Orlando, Fla. Between 1989 and 1994, the company completed a number of landmark projects, including the AmSouth/Harbert Plaza (now Regions Harbert Plaza) in Birmingham, the Orlando City Hall in Orlando, the structure of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, and the “Batman Building” corporate headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.
In a 1994 leadership transition, Jim Gorrie became President of Brasfield & Gorrie, while Miller remained as Chairman and CEO.
In 1998, the company expanded further with the addition of offices in North Carolina and Tennessee. These offices subsequently completed notable projects such as the Red Hat Tower (formerly Two Progress Plaza) in Raleigh in 2004 and the Omni Nashville Hotel in Nashville in 2013.
The years 2004 to 2007 marked a boom period during which the company completed landmark projects, such as the Georgia Aquarium, and opened a new office in Jacksonville, Fla.
Like most companies, Brasfield & Gorrie was tested by the Great Recession, but the company was able to weather the economic downturn better than many of its competitors due to Miller Gorrie’s philosophy of “always putting hay in the barn.” The economic environment created angst throughout the construction industry, but the company’s reserves and backlog of projects prevented an immediate impact on the business.
Brasfield & Gorrie emerged from the Great Recession leaner and stronger, with a new understanding of its need to improve collaboration, communication and innovation.
On the heels of the recession in 2010, the company opened an office in Dallas, Texas, and in 2011, Jim Gorrie took the reins as CEO, while Miller continued to serve as Chairman.
In 2012, the company expanded once again, opening an office in Columbus, Ga.
Today, Brasfield & Gorrie marks an opportunity to celebrate a true American Dream story—the story of a young man who began with a small company and, through hard work, strong values and a commitment to hiring the best people, built it into the Southeast’s largest general contractor. During those 50 years, Brasfield & Gorrie has grown from only a handful of employees and annual revenues of $800,000 at the end of 1964 to a $2.3 billion construction leader with more than 2,600 employees working in 19 states.
As the company marks this milestone, it looks to the future and thanks its clients, business partners, and employees for helping the company reach this significant milestone.
About Brasfield & Gorrie
Celebrating 50 years in business, Brasfield & Gorrie is one of the nation’s largest privately held construction firms, providing general contracting, design-build, and construction management services for a wide variety of markets, including healthcare, commercial, institutional, federal, municipal, industrial, infrastructure, and water/wastewater treatment. We serve clients from offices in Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; Dallas, Texas; Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Raleigh, North Carolina. Brasfield & Gorrie has approximately 2,600 employees, and its 2013 revenues were $2.3 billion. Engineering News-Record ranks Brasfield & Gorrie 22nd among the nation’s “Top 400 Contractors” for 2014.