Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Companies Of A Century: Blum Construction Continues A Legacy

© AdobeStock
After his sudden death, the founder's will gave employees the rights to the company name—and they ran with it.

Editor’s Note: Chief Executive is kicking off a new annual tradition this year by celebrating every sizable (over $100 million in annual revenues) standalone company turning 100 in 2023. Check out the rest of this year’s class for tips, insights and, above all else, the inspiration you need to keep going….and going.




HQ: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Revenues: ~$250 million
Employees: 253 

Blum Construction’s greatest challenge in its first 100 years came not during the Great Depression nor the 1970s oil crises that caused costs to skyrocket—not even the housing collapse of 2008. The company’s real moment of truth came when founder Frank L. Blum died suddenly of a heart attack in March of 1954, leaving no documented succession plan. 

Fortunately, his will gave employees the right to continue working at the company and to use its name. “They banded together, navigated the challenging time and emerged even stronger,” says Mike Lancaster, who became CEO in 2018, following four years as president. 

A People Business 

“Construction is a people business,” says Lancaster. “Talented people who are skilled at their craft and understand how to super-serve the customer—Blum has been blessed with an abundance of these people throughout our history.” 

Its first project in 1923—a tunnel under Northwest Boulevard in Winston-Salem connecting Reynolds High School and its gymnasium—still stands, decorated with the artistic expressions of generations of senior students who are encouraged to leave their creativity on its walls. 

Lancaster also credits Blum’s complementary business divisions for its continued success. “Following the global financial crisis, we diversified to have a portfolio that split between public and private,” he says. The company diversified geographically as well, adding offices in Greensboro in 2015, Raleigh in 2016 and Asheville in 2017 to build the necessary regional muscle to compete against larger nationals. 

Looking into the next century, Lancaster says his top priority will be focusing on the values that made Blum great from the start. “High performance, building strong relationships with clients, partners and teammates, and being committed to continuous improvement have always been at the core of who we are and how we have been successful,” he says. “My predecessors exemplified those things and kept those fundamental principles in focus. I intend to do the same.” 


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.