Brasfield & Gorrie has come far since its 1964 founding. In the first year after Miller Gorrie purchased the Thos. C. Brasfield Co.’s construction assets, the company earned $1 million in revenue, mostly from small commercial and remodeling projects. Almost 60 years later, Brasfield & Gorrie has nearly $5 billion in annual revenues, ranking as one of the largest private companies in Alabama and the No.-1 general contractor in the Southeast according to Engineering News-Record. Its work has expanded to a variety of market sectors, including education, energy, hospitality, industrial, infrastructure and more.
“As a general contractor, you might think our calling card is the great projects we’ve built across the nation. But we owe our success to our exceptional people, and their development is essential,” said Rob Blalock, who became the company’s president in 2022. His journey is evidence of the company’s dedication to providing opportunities for employees; Blalock joined Brasfield & Gorrie in 1998 and has held nearly every operations position the company offers. Rising revenues bring more job opportunities, as well: Company-wide, the workforce increased by approximately 9 percent between June 2021 and June 2022.
Alabama will always be Brasfield & Gorrie’s home, and it has built throughout the state. But it has also constructed projects in 39 states with offices in eight. The company encourages employees to give back both financially and with their time, and executives set an example by serving organizations such as the United Way of Central Alabama and Salvation Army. Its successes allow it to continue investing in its workforce and the communities it calls home.
Building exceptional people is part of Brasfield & Gorrie’s purpose, and the company is taking intentional steps to recruit and hire people who are traditionally underrepresented in the construction industry. For years, they’ve worked with organizations like the National Association of Women in Construction and the ACE Mentor Program of America to engage female and minority talent. Today, they are taking greater steps to reach a diverse pipeline of future construction leaders through recruiting at historically Black colleges and universities and engaging in workforce development initiatives. In total, they recruit at about 40 colleges.
“Our diversity and inclusion efforts are not just about recruiting top talent, but also creating an inclusive and fulfilling experience for all employees,” said Brasfield & Gorrie Vice President of Corporate Responsibility Natalie Kelly.
As the company grows, it continues to cultivate opportunities for its team’s professional growth. Through programs like SKILLED, an internal education program for craft employees, the company provides in-person and on-demand training in both English and Spanish. The courses empower Brasfield & Gorrie’s field teams to perform their jobs with increased safety and effectiveness.
The company’s growth has a direct effect on its own workforce, and Brasfield & Gorrie executives are quick to note that the company is dedicated to building strong communities throughout Alabama. Its supplier and trade contractor inclusion program, EQUIP, increases education and access to opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses, and its relationships extend throughout its footprint.
“We’ve been fortunate to have the city of Birmingham and the state of Alabama as partners in our growth from the beginning,” said CEO Jim Gorrie. “We’re also grateful to work with so many Alabama-based companies—such as Regions, Milo’s Tea, Daniel, Encompass Health, ACIPCO and Coca-Cola Bottling UNITED—in our work at home and throughout the nation. We’re able to provide jobs as we build these projects, and in the process, we’re grateful to help our clients increase their impact on the communities we serve together.”
Brasfield & Gorrie has built projects of all sorts in Birmingham, where it has been headquartered since day one. Recent and current projects include:
• City Walk BHAM is a 31-acre development, spanning nearly a mile beneath the Interstate 59/20 bridges. The linear park includes recreational sports space, a regional skate park facility, performance space, water features, market spaces, public art and a dog park.
• Protective Stadium is a 45,000-capacity multi-use, open-air stadium within the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. The stadium, which opened in 2021, is a continuation of the Uptown district, which consists of retail space and the Westin Hotel at the BJCC.
• Next Medical West Replacement Hospital will include a new nine-story hospital with 200 beds, a central energy plant, a five-story medical office building and a 621-space parking deck. The facility will increase the hospital’s capacity to serve the people of Bessemer and southwestern Jefferson County.
• With Southern Research, Brasfield & Gorrie recently broke ground on a flagship biotech center that will anchor the development of 20,000 square feet of new or renovated wet lab space for life sciences. The facility will double the organization’s lab space for researching infectious diseases and expand its work to develop new treatments for cancer and other serious illnesses.
In Alabama, the demand for science and technology expertise is especially evident in Huntsville, where the company’s presence is also growing. Brasfield & Gorrie has worked in North Alabama for more than 40 years, and it established a Huntsville office in 2012. In early 2022, Operations Manager Sara Beth Wilcox relocated to Huntsville to lead the company’s increased presence in the region.
“As a native of North Alabama, it’s especially meaningful to me to shepherd our projects in this area,” said Wilcox, who joined the company 10 years ago. “Huntsville is a center for science and innovation of many kinds, and it’s easy to see how the projects we build benefit the state as a whole.” Wilcox has managed more than $356 million of projects throughout Alabama, and she has been recognized by Alabama Associated General Contractors and Birmingham Business Journal 40 Under 40 programs.
Recent projects in the area include:
• U.S. Courthouse Huntsville will be a new 126,000 sq ft facility located in the central business district. The project held its groundbreaking in September.
• Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering opened in August. In addition to classrooms and residences, the facility includes science labs, machine shops, a fabrication and engineering lab, and a cyber range.
• HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology recently opened a 14,000 sq ft greenhouse and headhouse building that will be utilized for plant breeding research and teaching. The Institute’s Discovery Life Sciences building is under construction and will be used for life science research.
While the science and technology sector is flourishing to the north, aerospace projects are soaring down south.
“We’ve completed more than $1 billion in aerospace and aviation projects company-wide, with repeat customers like Airbus and Mobile Airport Authority accounting for a significant portion of that work. This sector requires great precision and brings quality jobs to the communities that house these facilities, as we’ve seen with Airbus’ work in Mobile,” said John Strid, a Brasfield & Gorrie regional president.
Recent projects in the area include:
• Airbus A320 Dual Bay Assembly Hangar is a 94,000 sq ft high-bay, structural steel facility. It includes two A320 hangar bays, a fire foam containment tank, offices, conference rooms, workshops, storage spaces and the necessary mechanical, engineering, plumbing and internet equipment spaces to support the facility. Brasfield & Gorrie is now building another dual bay assembly hangar, the seventh project for Airbus at Brookley Field.
• Airbus A220 Final Assembly Line and Logistics Center is a 318,000 sq ft high-bay structural steel airplane assembly facility that includes basements, tunnels, manufacturing space and administrative spaces.
• USA Health Mapp Family Campus is expanding in Fairhope, with a three-story medical office building nearing completion and an ambulatory surgery center under construction.
As Brasfield & Gorrie has grown, it has remained at home in Birmingham with projects that create jobs across Alabama and beyond.