A Strong Foundation

By Marcy Marro For the past 81 years, Branco Enterprises has prided itself on its word, its customer relationships and its employees. Founded in 1933 by Price Branham as a small construction company called Branham Construction, the company grew into a partnership between Price and his two brothers, Roy and Curt, who became involved in… Continue reading A Strong Foundation
By Marcy Marro


metal construction news, branco enterprises, success story, marcy marroFor the past 81 years, Branco Enterprises has prided itself on its word, its customer relationships and its employees. Founded in 1933 by Price Branham as a small construction company called Branham Construction, the company grew into a partnership between Price and his two brothers, Roy and Curt, who became involved in the business primarily as carpenters. Known as Branham Brothers Construction, its first office was located in downtown Neosho, Mo. In 1976, the business became incorporated under the name Branco Enterprises Inc. and moved to a new location on Highway 86 in Neosho, where it remains today.

“My father and his brothers founded and built our company on the belief that their word was their bond,” says John E. Branham, PE, president. “It prospers today because of our strong values and ethics. When we quote a job and promise a completion date, we mean what we say. We never forget that customer satisfaction has built our business.”

Over the years, Branco has built strong relationships with architects, engineers and clients. “These relationships are earned through the skill, honesty, quality and hard work put forth by our team on every project,” says Brennan Robinson, marketing coordinator at Branco Enterprises.


metal construction news, success story, branco enterprises, Heartland Pet Food manufacturing plant Joplin Mo.Quality Projects

These relationships have led to a number of repeat business and referrals for Branco. “We are a company that has been built on integrity, and when you couple that with hard work and quality, people want to keep doing business with you,” says Robinson. “This has been the biggest key to our success over the last 81 years.”

Even so, Robinson notes that diversifying its business has been key to weathering the economic downturn of the last several years. When fewer commercial projects were available, the company looked toward industrial, state and city projects, completing numerous city pool projects, water/wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities.

Branco performs work mainly as a general contractor, with a significant amount of work done in design-build and construction management. While the majority of Branco’s work happens within approximately 150-mile radius of its headquarters in Neosho, the company has performed work in 13 states.

Additionally, the company self-performs a good deal of its own work, giving it greater control over scheduling during critical activities such as foundations and structure. “This allows us to ensure the highest quality standards are met,” Robinson says. “By self-performing a large portion of our projects, we are also able to keep our employees busy.”


A Strong Employee Base

Branco understands that its strong, quality employee base is what has helped the company to become what it is today. “Our employees are our greatest assets, and we treat them as such,” explains Robinson.

One way the company shows its appreciation is by offering benefits such as employer-paid health care, group life insurance, tuition reimbursement and 401K match. The company also offers incentives for hard work and long-term employment.

Branco hosts two employee appreciation parties every year where prizes and awards are given to employees. Robinson notes that the average length of employment is more than 10 years, and many employees have been with the company for more than 20 years. Additionally, Branco has been awarded the Tri-State “Best Places to Work” by the Joplin Tri-State Business Journal and Springfield Business Journal for the last five years in a row.


metal construction news, success story, branco enterprises, marcy marro, Harmony Heights Baptist Church Joplin Mo.Community Involvement

Branco is actively involved in several organizations, including the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Tri-State Area Contractor’s Association, Springfield Contractor’s Association, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and the Neosho Chamber of Commerce. “These networking groups not only provide great exposure for Branco and our projects, but also give us opportunities to be involved with our community,” Robinson explains.

At this year’s AGC Building Excellence awards ceremony, Branco was awarded as a finalist for project of the year, under $5 million, for Harmony Heights Baptist Church in Joplin, Mo. It was a unique design-build project for Branco, which replaced the Harmony Heights building that was destroyed in the 2011 Joplin tornado.

As Robinson explains, after the initial shock and assessment of the tornado damage, the church called Branco for site demolition and debris removal. As Branco continued its demolition work, a personal and long-term relationship with developed. When the church started looking to rebuild, Branco partnered with Jack Ball Architects, Springfield, Mo., offering its design-build expertise.

While each project has its own complexities, Robinson notes that the Harmony Heights project included unique challenges that come with rebuilding in the aftermath of an EF-5 tornado, such as the extensive resources and fleet equipment that had to be mobilized on short notice for the demolition, debris removal and rebuild.

Another challenge was finding adequate subcontractors; due to the short notice and many in the area were already overwhelmed with other rebuild projects in Joplin. “Even though a quick project delivery was desired, concessions had to be made due to logistics challenges and other coordination issues,” Robinson explains. “Not only did Branco have to perform demolition on a job site that was hemmed in by other destroyed buildings and downed power lines, but we also had to maneuver the debris removal in the midst of hundreds of other debris removal/rebuild projects.”

Luckily though, Branco was able to utilize the church’s existing slab and foundation for the rebuild, saving a significant amount of money. Branco also incorporated a sloped floor for the sanctuary on the church’s existing slab in place of the old flat floor, Robinson adds. There were also regulations surrounding a 100-year floodplain level that was identified in the back corner of the property, requiring a new survey to ensure compliance.

“The men that Branco sent to rebuild us are
‘golden,'” says Mike Tatum, building committee chairman at Harmony Heights Baptist Church. “Headed by a man that bent over backwards to accommodate our people with answers for our questions about the construction and satisfy our curiosity of the progress, this site superintendent [Ron Keith] was always patient and forward with information, never making us feel like we were in the way.”

“I must say that it has been a blessing for us to have Ron Keith spearhead the daily construction of Harmony Heights Baptist Church,” Tatum continues. “We cannot thank him and his crew enough for their efforts and attitude during our rebuild.”


Company Profile: Branco Enterprises

Website: www.branco.com

Year Founded: 1933, incorporated in 1976

Location: Headquarters in Neosho, Mo.,
with an office in Springfield, Mo.

Geographic Areas of Service: Midwest

Services Offered: Carpentry, concrete,
ironwork, site-work, general labor, mechanical
piping, pre-engineered building, etc.

Number of Employees: 135

2013 Total Revenue: approximately $51.9 million

Management Team:

John E. Branham, PE, President
Justin Branham, LEED AP, Executive Vice President
Sean Thouvenot, Vice President of Field Operations
Jim Branham, Vice President

Apprenticeship Training

Branco is a certified apprenticeship training company through the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training under the U.S. Department of Labor. “We have sponsored countless apprentices in the program since its inception in 1993,” Robinson says. “We believe in the ‘grow your own employees’ theory. These apprentices not only learn skills in their classroom hours, they benefit by working alongside journeymen carpenters in on-the-job training. These journeymen are valuable assets to our organization and the experience and knowledge passed onto our apprentices is priceless.”

“It’s a win-win proposition,” Robinson adds. While the apprentice gains in the personal growth, education and development of a trade, Branco gains a valuable and skilled employee. Upon graduation from the apprenticeship program, apprentices become Certified Journeyman Carpenters through the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. “We invest into our employees because we understand the value of proper training and having quality employees,” he says.

As the company heads into the future, it is trying to pursue more negotiated work, such as design-build and construction management, while still pursuing hard-bid jobs in the right market, Robinson explains. Additionally, “We are embracing building 3-D modeling technology, to more effectively estimate and plan projects before construction begins,” he says.