For more than 50 years, Barnhill Contracting Co. has been building roads and a wide range of projects locally and across North Carolina, including the Winstead Avenue widening project to the Imperial Centre for the Performing Arts.
The family owned company has plans to move its corporate headquarters from Tarboro to a more spacious location in Tiffany Square in Rocky Mount in the first quarter of 2014, company President Rob Barnhill said.
“There is potential for additional space,” he said.
According to the company’s website, Barnhill Contracting was founded in 1949 by the late Robert E. Barnhill Sr., who started the business by purchasing surplus government equipment after World War II.
“Recognizing the potential for business growth with the post-war concentration in the farming industry, Mr. Barnhill and his partner, R.W. Long, began clearing land, ditching and building irrigation ponds for local farmers,” the website says. “Three years later, Mr. Barnhill bought out Mr. Long’s interest in Barnhill & Long and started one of the most successful contracting companies in the country.”
Barnhill Contracting Co. has received numerous awards over the years, including five Pinnacle Awards from the Carolinas Associated General Contractors.
It employs more than 1,100 people and has 20 asphalt plants and 13 offices throughout Eastern North Carolina. The company has nine operating divisions offering services in site development, commercial building and heavy highway construction.
Today, the company is led by Chairman Bob Barnhill, who represents the third generation of Barnhills.
“We’re basically serving Eastern and Central North Carolina. We have a location in Raleigh,” Rob Barnhill said.
More than 70 percent of the company’s customers are repeat customers.
Q: What products or services do you provide?
A: Bob Barnhill: We are in the construction business obviously, so we have heavy grading operations to build major highways, and then we have paving operations that pave highways and so forth ... and then we have a building group that does major building projects such as the Wake County Justice Center.
Buildings in Rocky Mount, we did the new YMCA, we did the Imperial Centre. We built several projects out at (N.C.) Wesleyan (College). We’re doing Winstead Avenue right now. Over the years, we’ve built most of new (U.S.) 64, four-lane U.S. 64 going through Raleigh coming through Rocky Mount. We’ve done a lot of work for the city of Rocky Mount.
Q: Who are your key leaders?
A: Chairman Bob Barnhill, President Rob Barnhill, Executive Vice President Lee Cooper, Chief Financial Officer William Davis, Senior Vice President Allen Barnhill, Vice President Drew Johnson, Vice President Jimmie Hughes, Vice President of Information Services Scott Fisher.
Q: How many people do you employ?
A: 1,100 companywide.
Q: What is your business philosophy?
A: We treat our employees and clients with respect and fairness; protect and enhance the reputation of our company; manage for the long-term viability of our company; and always capitalize on opportunities to improve our clients’ investment.
Q: What makes your business unique?
A: We have remained a family business throughout the last 64 years. We not only have multiple generations of shareholders, we are very fortunate to have multiple generations of employees and managers wherein their sons or daughters are now working with our company.
Q: How has your business grown?
A: In the last few years I would not say that we have grown because of the economy. We’ve probably remained steady.
Q: What kind of growth do you expect in the coming years?
A: We are not actively seeking growth. If an opportunity comes along to grow with an acquisition, we certainly will take a look at that.