A visionary who spearheaded the metal components industry
2016 Metal Construction Hall of Fame
Albert R. (A.R.) Ginn spent an
impressive 48 years championing the metal construction industry
before retiring in 2007. He began his long career as an assistant
on the shop floor at Metallic Building Co., Houston in 1959. After
spending seven years at Metallic, he joined A&S Building
Systems in Houston, where he spent seven years learning the ins
and outs of the metal building industry.
Ginn returned to Metallic in 1969 and was vice president of
operations before leaving to found MBCI
with his brother and business partners in July 1976. The company
opened its first sales office and manufacturing facility in
Houston, and began manufacturing basic metal building components
such as roofing, siding and light-gauge structural steel.
The company was founded with the vision to provide customers
with top-quality products; a good, safe place for employees, and
was the first to introduce three-day service. MBCI became one of
the leading suppliers of metal building components to the
pre-engineered metal building industry, and was the first major
manufacturer to switch to using prepainted Galvalume for its
In 1987, Ginn embarked on a vertical integration strategy that
led to acquiring both light-gauge and heavy-gauge coil coating
facilities, and in 1990, he led the acquisition of American
Building Components, Nicholasville, Ky. In 1995, he led a joint
venture for a state-of-the-art light-gauge coating facility in
Jackson, Miss., which is now wholly owned by Houston-based NCI
Building Systems Inc.
In 1998, Ginn was instrumental in merging MBCI with NCI Building
Systems Inc., and the company currently operates under NCI's
components division. In 2000, Ginn became chairman of the board,
and in 2003, CEO. In December 2006, he stepped down as CEO and
retired from NCI/MBCI at the end of 2007.
"A.R. was truly a visionary kind of guy," says Bill Coleman,
president of MBCI. "MBCI became one of the nation's leading
providers of metal building components, a leader in innovative
product development, and establishing a revolutionary
weathertightness program that protected building owners."
Advancing the Industry
Ginn was instrumental in steering MBCI to become a leader in the
metal construction industry. The company developed an industry
leading standing seam roof and licensed numerous roof systems that
became industry standards.
Coleman says he always sought to do the right thing and made
decisions that were not only in NCI/ MBCI's best interest, but for
the company's customers and the industry as well. This included
selling licenses to other manufacturers for some of its products,
allowing direct competitors to grow and promote their own
"A.R. was an innovator of products and the manufacturing
processes, many that are broadly adopted today," Coleman says. "As
a result of his efforts and promotion, metal panels have advanced
to become an accepted energy-efficient solution for non-residential
construction by both owners and the architectural community."
"In terms of products, quality and warranties, A.R. tried to
make decisions that would help drive the industry forward, not just
MBCI," Coleman adds. "And I think that a lot of what he did in
those arenas put us in the position to be recognized as an industry
leader, and the expectation by many of our peers within the
industry was that we lead."
"A.R. was an innovator
of products and the manufacturing processes, many that are broadly
adopted today. As a result of his efforts and promotion, metal
panels have advanced to become an accepted energy-efficient
solution for non-residential construction by both owners and the
-- Bill Coleman, president
The Value of Relationships
Ginn encouraged strong relationships with key suppliers as a
means of improving supply, delivery and quality of raw materials.
His management philosophy was simple: "Take care of your employees
first and they will take care of your customers. Everything else
will take care of itself."
Coleman describes Ginn as being strong willed, with a
determination to win. "He taught us the value of relationships,"
Coleman says, "relationships not only with customers, but strategic
relationships with vendors as well. He built his business on
relationships. We still enjoy relationships with many long-term
customers today, 25 or 30 years later."
"He wanted to do everything he could to support our customers,
to take care of them," Coleman adds. "He knew that without our
customers, we didn't have a need for the plants, the buildings, the
In addition to customers, Ginn also thought very highly of the
company's employees. "He often said that anyone could own the land,
the buildings, and the equipment, but it's the employees, their
hard work, their commitment, their dedication, that makes us who we
are as a company," Coleman says.
He goes on to add that Ginn never forgot his beginnings and
always insisted management do the right thing for its employees.
"A.R. demanded a great deal from his employees, but nothing more
than what he demanded of himself," he says. "He insisted that
integrity and reputation were the most important values the company
possessed. Whenever he was involved in a customer issue, his
instructions were simple: 'Just do what's right!'"
"A.R. is one of the smartest guys I know," says John Lawrence, a
2012 Hall of Fame inductee. "The metal construction industry is
what it is today because he championed it."
Looking back, Ginn says that when he first started working, he
might need to find something else to do once everybody had a metal
building. "The first year I went to work for Metallic, I thought
everyone would have one of those buildings who needed them, and we
wouldn't have anything else to do for awhile," he says. "It was one
of those deals that the industry was a lot bigger than I could have
imagined back in 1958."