Some businesses just give off a good vibe; one where you can ‘sense’ that the employees are truly family, biological or not. That’s the feeling of Shelby Concrete.
Fifty-three years ago, Barney Lee Knox Jr. started a company that has been in the family for three generations. In 1967, Knox purchased its first mixer truck under the name Knox Concrete and started batching using only a conveyer belt, backhoe, and bagged cement.
In 1978, the Knox family opened under the new name Chilton County Concrete. When the mid-80s approached, brothers Mark and Bobby Knox formed Shelby Concrete Incorporated. The company has since expanded from its central Alabama roots into markets in the Montgomery River Region and the Gulf Coast Regions of Alabama under its subsidiaries Builders Supply and Baldwin Concrete.
However, ebb and flow of the economy happened and during the Great Recession, they were forced to downsize from 200 to just 35 employees.
“The recession hit us hard,” says Steve McCain, general manager. “When the Outer Loop project, or Alabama bridge project (in Montgomery County) as some call it, was finally given the green light in 2012, it saved us. We poured more than 30,000 yards of concrete.”
Currently, the company operates nine ready mix concrete plants across the state of Alabama. They have 105 employees, including 51 ready mix drivers. One of the many unique things about this company is that 20 employees have been there more than 15 years.
“Family is important to all of us, and that’s what we are,” says Steve. “Mark and Bobby and their sons are so involved with the company, and everyone is completely hands-on.”
Shelby’s customers range from home builders to large construction jobs to the private individuals. About 80% of their work is residential, and 20% commercial. The highest volume is in Birmingham and the Millbrook/Prattville area.
“Another cool thing about us is all but one of our plants are ALDOT certified, Steve says. “We also have ten employees who are ACI certified.”
The company also puts a huge emphasis on safety, sitting down with employees of each plant for a monthly meeting. Steve emphasizes how loyal their employees are, and its rare for any of them to miss the safety meeting.
The company is continuing to expand in order to provide concrete to more locations, and to better serve its customers. It’s easy to see why Shelby Concrete has been around so long, and with so many hard-working, career-driven employees, they’ll be here for many years to come.