Brent Scarbrough & Company
Brent Scarbrough, current president of Brent Scarbrough & Company (BSC), founded his namesake commercial underground utility contractor in 1985 while he was a junior at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga. “Brent started out as a silt fence and erosion control contractor, performing installs for developers and other contractors,” recalls Chris West, safety director and public relations representative for BSC. “When Brent finished college in 1988, the company tackled its first small job that broke the ice into the pipeline and underground utilities industry.”
A Turnkey Solution
After college, Brent brought BSC back to his hometown, Fayetteville, Ga., where the company remains today. “Underground utility work is our bread-and-butter, but we’ve expanded out earthwork and grading division over the past several years,” shares Chris. “For years, we were a company that primarily did storm, sewer and water, but the goal is to be a one-stop-shop.”
In recent years, BSC has expanded its scope of work, offering more grading and earthwork solutions as the demand has increased. “Most companies only want to move dirt or put in storm drains,” explains Chris. “They subcontract sanitary sewer and water installations, but we’ve added key personnel and equipment to allow us to do both.”
With 260 employees and increased capabilities, BSC has emerged as one of the most recognized and preferred turnkey utility contractors in the Southeast. BSC’s services range from turnkey site preparation to clearing and grading, storm drains to sanitary sewer, fire and domestic water, rock crushing, hydraulic hammers, horizontal boring, pipe bursting, directional drilling, erosion control and equipment rentals.
A Specialized Niche
The company also has a unique niche in wetland mitigation. Since 1994, when Brent incorporated BSC’s wetland mitigation division, the company has been delivering natural habitat remediation and creation. “We purchase ditched and drained wetland areas and channelized, clear cut stream channels and restore an ecosystem that supports a variety of wildlife, flood storage and water quality measures,” details Chris. “We’re an authorized mitigation bank and we earn credits from the state that contractors need to purchase before moving forward with development projects.”
Since the company’s first job at the Reeves Creel wetland in 1994, BSC has constructed more than 13 mitigation sites and over 1,200 acres of restored, enhanced and preserved wetlands and streams over the past 19 years. In 2002, BSC broke ground on the Flint River mitigation bank which serves the majority Southside Atlanta. “Although development damages the environment to a certain extent, we help balance it out,” notes Chris.
Aside from BSC’s nonconventional niche, the company has also performed a wide range of traditional utility and site preparation work across Georgia, from Georgia Tech to Fort Bragg, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and beyond. “We’ve worked with CSX Rail Company to expand the facility where they bring in cargo, moving about 600,000 yards of dirt,” reveals Chris.
BSC recently completed phase one of a project for Pinewood Studio, a European movie maker. “The company is building a studio complete with a mock village, streets, grounds and residential area in Georgia,” notes Chris. “The tilting walls are now up on the warehouse building and we’ll be doing the site prep for the village and streets; overall it’s about 260 acres.”
The contractor is also involved in the high-profile Guardian Center development in Perry, Ga. “The Guardian Center is the first privately funded first responder and disaster relief training center in the U.S.,” shares Chris. “It’s an incredibly interesting site complete with mock flooding, terrorist attack simulations and rescue scenarios through the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Everything is very realistic.”
Leaning on Employees and Relationships
While BSC has successfully transitioned to a more diversified contractor, the company did realize some setbacks during the economic downturn. “Fortunately for us, Brent prides himself on owning everything outright,” mentions Chris. “During the recession, we didn’t have the burden of debt and cash continued to flow. We grew through some significant sewer remediation work for the city of Atlanta. Brent always finds a way to keep us diverse, but we can fall back on our underground utilities market.”
But what business really comes down to is performance, relationships and customer service says Chris. “Our quality of work is essential,” he adds. “During the recession all of the bottom feeders went out of business because people realized that low bid doesn’t mean best qualified.”
Amid the company’s recent success, and even the downturn, Chris says Brent continues to put BSC’s employees first. “We place a high value on our people,” he explains. “At Christmas time, we distribute bonuses and hams and during the downturn Brent bought all of the employees a Nintendo Wii gaming system to lift everyone’s spirits.”
As a company that sticks together through the good and the bad, Brent Scarbrough & Company continues to deliver turnkey service and trusted full-site solutions.
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