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Companies Of A Century: E.R. Snell’s Five Generations And Counting

One of the company's secrets is starting each family member at the beginner level—and striving to bring all of employees into the familial fold.

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.

 

CONSTRUCTION 

E.R. SNELL CONTRACTOR 

HQ: Snellville, Georgia
Revenues: $160 million
Employees: 720 

“If you’re the best at what you do, you’ll always be in demand” is the guiding philosophy handed down generation after generation at E.R. Snell Contractor. Founders Gladstone Frederick Edwin Snell and his son E.R. Snell started small, building culverts and retaining walls, earning a reputation for quality work at a fair price. 

Over time, the company expanded its services and geographic footprint, working on roads, bridges and industrial construction throughout Georgia. A true family business, co-founder E.R.’s three brothers and sister worked at the company as well, which flourished due, in part, to the passing of the Federal-Aid Highway Act in 1956. His son, Richard Snell, who took over after his father’s retirement in 1974, added grading to the company’s portfolio, enabling a more comprehensive range of road construction services. 

The road to Snellville, founded by a family member and where highway construction firm E.R. Snell is headquartered, was reportedly paved by the company, which is credited with helping to lay down and grade nearly all of the major highways in the Atlanta areas. In the 1990s, the company began rolling up local asphalt and paving operations, solidifying its position as Georgia’s leading road builder. Still family-owned and run, it now has operations in metro Atlanta, Macon and Augusta. 

While a new generation of the sprawling Snell family is welcomed into E.R. Snell every few decades, the company starts each one at the beginner level and strives to bring all of its employees into the familial fold. “Everybody here has a role and everybody’s important to our long-term success,” Robin Snell, who passed the CEO baton to CEO Scott Briscoe in 2017, told Tractor Times magazine. “We truly believe that, and we try to treat everybody in a way that makes them feel like they’re part of our extended family.”


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