(OAKBROOK TERRACE, IL – SEPTEMBER 15, 2021) – Graycor is celebrating its 100th year in business in 2021, crediting its longevity to the values instilled in the company and its employees since 1921 by founder Edward Gray and his family.
Today, Graycor is a third generation, family-owned and operated company, with co-chairs Matt and Steve Gray, Edward Gray’s grandsons. The company has 10 nationwide offices; 5000+ projects in its portfolio; 250 professional construction staff and management resources; 800+ craftspeople; and 25 safety and quality professionals. Graycor has performed more than one million man-hours with zero recordable injuries over the course of its time in business.
Graycor started as Chicago Concrete Breaking Company (CCBC) in 1921. Gray founded the company after emigrating from Poland and spending several years in the window cleaning business. Gray was experimenting with sand-blasting techniques to clean building exteriors, which expanded into concrete breaking, demolition, and furnace-blasting to clean the insides of steel mill furnaces. The original company motto was “Wanted: A Hard Job” showing a value that is still present at Graycor today.
“Within Graycor there is a story about this expression “Wanted: A Hard Job.” My grandfather believed that if the company pursued the customer’s toughest jobs, then the customer would say, ‘Hey, wow, this is someone I can really depend on,” says Matthew Gray, co-chairman of Graycor. “That whole concept of building trust and building a relationship with a customer was key in my grandfather’s strategy for how to build a business from the very beginning.”
As Graycor grew from a specialty contractor to a general contractor in the 1950s, it needed this trust from its clients as well as its employees to continue its growth and success. The relationships the firm built early on continue to be one of the reasons for its success.
“This relates to the idea of responding to change, being able to see things as they occur, to observe them, and to act in response to those changes. While we stick to our basic principles, one of which, by the way, is the high value that we place in relationships,” says Mel Gray, former CEO and current Non-Executive Chairman of the Board for Graycor.
“We continue to place that high value in relationships knowing full well that relationships take a long time to form.”
Responding to change is another value Graycor has live by over the years. From developing new technology for the steel industry in the 1930s to finding new environmentally friendly building techniques in the 1970s to developing live environment building techniques during the past several decades, Graycor has continued to develop its business to match changing times. Through its core values of hard work, trust and relationship building, and changing with the times, Graycor believes its business can thrive well into the future.
“Graycor is committed to cultivating a company that embraces and takes advantage of new and emerging technologies that add value to our employees and clients, helping us maintain our competitive advantage,” says David Wing, Graycor President and COO.
“The company has always tried to see the long-term trends around it to put its own bit of planning into context, into the long-term context,” says Mel Gray. “We have always looked around us, looked beyond the project of the moment, and looked at the world around us in a wider sense, and tried to position ourselves to be relevant as things change.”