The year was 1916. Amid the turbulence of the First World War, the port of Norfolk, Virginia was growing by leaps and bounds. It was here that Earl Thomas Gresham settled with his bride, and here that he founded the company which still bears his name.
In those early days, construction materials were delivered by horse-drawn wagon. Sensing an opportunity for improvement, “E.T.” traded in his car as down payment on one of the area’s first motor trucks and embarked upon a successful hauling operation.
Delivering brick, sand and gravel was one thing, dealing with heavy machinery quite another. So early on, rugged “winch trucks” joined the scene. They were outfitted with power capstans and all manners of lifting and loading gear. Thus, “rigging” became part of the Gresham capability. However, the giant step in lifting and rigging methods came in 1925, when Gresham introduced the first revolving truck-mounted crane to the region.
Such pioneering was typical of the young entrepreneur. When existing equipment couldn’t meet job demands, E.T. 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.
In answer to a rapidly growing need in the 1920’s, Gresham began building gas stations throughout the Virginia’s. That early venture soon grew into a full fledged construction capability. Today, the firm handles a wide variety of general contracting, working with modest budgets or building multi-story structures costing millions. “Achieving Quality’ in the construction of ‘high quality- limited use’ facilities is the overall focus of E.T. GRESHAM COMPANY, Inc.. Drawing on the talents of its other departments gives Gresham a special edge in the integration, quality and cost control of general contracting work. A reputation for top performance and integrity has earned much negotiated work from both new and repeated customers and the respect of architects, engineers and fellow contractors throughout the industry.
It has been over 100 years since E.T. 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.