EDITOR's NOTE: I've added a list of some of the reader-suggested brands below. Maybe there should be a "Hall of Fame" for former construction brands!
Maybe it's a hazard of the job, of more than 20 years as a construction industry journalist. Maybe, as a result of the lingering downturn, my mind is becoming nostalgic for the "good old days." Or maybe I'm just getting old, my future senility slowly sneaking up on me as my brain kicks up remembrances of things past for no apparent reason, in a "totally random" way, as my kids might say.
For whatever reason, I awoke this morning thinking of one thing - "Rinker." You know, that former great construction brand, with the orange concrete mixers that seemed to be nearly everywhere in Florida not that long ago, a seemingly constant sign of progress and economic vitality.
I still remember, as a very young kid, probably six or so, riding back from a family vacation, and passing a Rinker plant on the way home. It was a sign we were getting close to home, and our vacation would be completely over. Notably, even in my six-or-so-year-old mind, it wasn't just some concrete plant; it was a "Rinker" plant. In short, I guess that kid knew "Rinker" better than he knew "concrete."
That's ancient history, of course. Cemex bought Rinker several years ago, and now the "Rinker" brand is pretty much gone. Still, the name "Rinker" continues on in close connection to Florida's construction industry in the form of the University of Florida's M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction, and its M.E. Rinker Hall, where classes are taught.
Today, Rinker is but one of many former great construction brands that have gone away, for one reason or another, in recent years. The most common cause is the merger or acquisition, but sometimes great brands fall by the wayside of their own causes.
Rather than try to name all of them myself, I thought it'd be fun to ask for your help. What notable industry brands do you remember? Use the Comment function below to name the firms you remember!
Here's a quick list of national and regional players, gone but not forgotten.
- Rinker - see above.
- PBS&J - recently acquired by W.S. Atkins.
- Centex/Centex-Rooney - Centex is still a national homebuilder, but our readers probably think first of the former Centex-Rooney brand, which was acquired by Balfour Beatty.
- Bucyrus - Mining equipment manufacturing brand is in the process of being retired by Caterpillar.
- Miller & Solomon - A well-regarded South Florida general contractor that went under several years ago due to ownership issues.
- Kraft Construction Co. - Naples, Fla.-based firm recently acquired by Manhattan Construction Co.
- Suitt Construction - South Carolina-based firm that was purchased by BE&K Building Group, which is now part of KBR.
- Beers Construction - Now Skanska USA Building. (I always loved that name.)
This list could surely be extended, so list the name brands you remember. And feel free to share your own memories related to these former icons of construction.
Readers Supply More Great Construction Brand Names:
- Morrison Knudsen - Idaho-based civil contractor that became Washington Group and eventually part of URS.
- Morse Diesel
- J.A. Jones
- Jim Walter Homes - Remember them? Certainly a different kind of company than the others listed, but then again, the builder of affordable, premanufactured homes was a different kind of company altogether. The St. Petersburg Times documented the company's history shortly after it shuttered operations for good in January 2009, after building more than 350,000 homes.
- McDevitt & Street - Bought by Bovis.
- Euclid - Heavy equipment manufacturer.