By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
After more than a half century in Tarboro, Barnhill Contracting Company is moving its operations to Rocky Mount.
Barnhill was founded in Tarboro 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, Barnhill and his partner, R.W. Long, began clearing land, ditching and building irrigation ponds for local farmers. Three years later, Barnhill bought out Long’s interest in Barnhill & Long and started one of the most successful contracting companies in the country, Barnhill Contracting Company.
Today the company is led by Robert E. Barnhill, III, who represents the third generation of Barnhill. Robert E. Barnhill, Jr. continues to be active in the company as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
Barnhill will move its facility to Tiffany Boulevard during the first quarter of 2014, according to a news release by the company. Employees were told the news late last month.The new facility is located less than one mile from Barnhill's Rocky Mount equipment maintenance facility, which house, its large equipment fleet and its training center. The move will allow its corporate management and support functions to be in one location.
"Barnhill Contracting Company is pleased to take this important step and to continue the growth our company has maintained over the last 60 years," said company president Robert E. Barnhill III. "We will continue to have close ties to Edgecombe County and value the relationship our company has with the Town of Tarboro. This move to a new expanded location is a very exciting time for our company and we are working diligently to make this a seamless transition."
Several awards help prove that Barnhill Contracting Company is among the top in the nation. The company received five Pinnacle Awards from the Carolinas Associated General Contractors — Best Highway Project (Highway 168, 1997), Best Building Project (Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2001), Best General Contractor (2002), Best Building Project (Imperial Centre for the Performing Arts, 2006) and Best Building Project (Raleigh Convention Center, 2009).
The company has more than 1,000 employers, 20 asphalt plants and 13 offices located throughout eastern North Carolina. It is made up of nine operating divisions and offers three areas of service — site development, commercial building and heavy highway construction.
"The Town of Tarboro has been blessed by having a corporate partner such as Barnhill for many years," town manager Alan Thornton said. "While we are disappointed that Barnhill will no longer be physically located in Tarboro, we fully anticipate that their friendship and presence will remain in Tarboro for many years to come. The Town of Tarboro wishes Barnhill Construction Company nothing but the best as they continue to grow and prosper in the future."
(Corporate information from the Barnhill website was used in this story.)