The history of E.T. Gresham Company is one of those rare stories of a remarkable entrepreneur and the company that now continues his legacy. The year was 1916. Amid the turbulence of the First World War, Virginia’s Port of Norfolk was growing by leaps and bounds. It was here that Earl Thomas (ET) Gresham, a young transplanted coal salesman, settled with his bride and founded the company that still bears his name. In those early days, construction materials were delivered by horse-drawn wagon. Sensing an opportunity for improvement, ET traded in his car as down payment on one of the area’s first motor trucks and embarked upon a successful hauling operation.
In answer to a rapidly growing need in the 1920’s, Gresham began building gas stations throughout Virginia. That early venture soon grew into a full-fledged construction capability and by 1925 the business had expanded to include general contracting, which has grown to be the major emphasis of the Company. Such pioneering was typical of the young entrepreneur. When existing equipment could not meet job demands, ET either improvised upon what he had or developed new techniques and gadgetry. Like rigging up Norfolk’s first snowplow. Or fitting out cranes with pneumatic tires instead of solid rubber. Such inventiveness earned the Gresham Company a reputation for doing jobs that others couldn’t.
Today, the firm handles a wide variety of general contracting, working with modest budgets or building multi-story structures costing millions. It has been over 100 years since ET Gresham traded in the family car for a truck, but his legacy of integrity and innovation remains. The history of the company is one of skilled people teaming up the latest techniques with old fashioned know-how to provide creative solutions to each project.