Case Studies

M.L. Albright & Sons Inc.

Four Generations of Family Ownership Hard at Work
  • Written by: Molly Shaw
  • Produced by: M.L. Albright & Sons Inc.
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Marvin Leonard Albright founded M.L. Albright & Sons Inc. (M.L. Albright) in 1946 in the small city of Lewiston, Idaho. Nearly 67 years later, the commercial and heavy construction contractor is now run by the third and fourth generations of Albrights.

“Our grandfather started the business,” shares Marvin Albright Sr., co-owner of M.L. Albright. “My brothers and I [Wayne, Dale and Gene] have been working hard to keep us going strong for almost seven decades and our sons have now entered the business, as well.”

Through the generations, M.L. Albright has established itself as a qualified general contractor, as well as a trusted subcontractor. “We’ve been here a long time,” says Marvin Sr. “I’ve been here for 41 years, since I graduated high school. We used to, and still do, most of our work on a handshake, even though it’s increasingly harder.”

Family Ties that Bind

Although times have changed, the Albright brothers have stuck together through thick and thin, keeping their family’s legacy alive. “We’re family; we’ve got to stick together,” adds Wayne, co-owner of M.L. Albright. “Sure, we get mad at each other and have disagreements, but you don’t quit over it.”

Today, the company serves the greater Lewiston area, including into Washington and the surrounding states. “We cover about a 150-mile radius and we’re right on the boarder of three states,” explains Marvin Sr. “We’ve grown to anywhere from 35 to 70 employees depending on our workload and the season.”

M.L. Albright operates as both a general contractor and subcontractor, performing excavating, site work and preparation along with highway, roadway and utility construction. “We started doing more general contracting about 25 years ago when we tackled one of our largest, most complex highway jobs,” recalls Marvin Sr. “We completed approximately 2 miles of 48-inch pipe and reopened the highway within 10 days, three days ahead of schedule. This effort took a great deal of coordination and required 24/7 shift work to meet the deadline. It was one of our first experiences completely managing a site.”

“This was one of the first jobs, after our father semi-retired, that we took on our own,” adds Wayne. “We were more of a small-time subcontractor when our father was in control. Completing this first big project gave us and the people in this area the confidence we needed to enter the general contracting world.”

Exceeding Expectations

Since transitioning into general contracting services, M.L. Albright is now capable of self-performing everything except paving and painting. “We’ll subcontract concrete work on occasion, too, but other than that we’ve done a little bit of everything,” shares Wayne.

Additionally, M.L. Albright has worked on the Home Depot sight for Vandervert Construction Inc. (Vandervert). “This was a 12-acre site that we installed all of the underground utilities on,” adds Wayne. “What was challenging on this project was the fact that the sight was located on solid rock and everything had to be blasted and hammered to complete the work.”

“Vandervert liked our performance so well, they contracted us by the hour for the remaining phases,” continues Wayne. “We initially bid the first phase of the project; after that we just sent Vandervert a bill at the end of every month and they paid it, no questions asked. It was kind a cool, because they only did that with a very select group of contractors. I think it speaks volumes to the integrity of our company and how we approach doing business.”

Wayne notes that several years later, Vandervert’s construction manager transitioned to Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc. (SEL). SEL designs, manufactures and supports products from semiconductors to generator and transmission protection, distribution automation to control systems in Pullman, Wash. “Due to the relationship developed with this construction manager at Vandervert, we were able to acquire a contract with the up and coming SEL for help with their ongoing expansion process,” says Marvin Sr.

“SEL has numerous patents on electronic equipment and it’s probably one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. right now,” reveals Wayne. “To meet SEL’s continuous expansion, they’ve just opened a location in Lewiston; we’re providing site prep, utilities and plumbing. Through the relationship that was developed with the construction manager, they know we’re reliable. That’s the pay back for fair and honest work.”

Meanwhile, M.L. Albright is also in the midst of storm drainage and roundabout projects in Lewiston. “We’re enhancing downtown Lewiston’s storm drainage system,” shares Wayne. “We’ve done some boring work, including 400-foot 40-inch pipe, trenching at depths of 19 feet for 40-inch pipes to connect to the Corp of Engineers sediment ponds.”

Keeping the Boat Afloat

Although the company has remained busy, Wayne and Marvin Sr. agree recent years haven’t been easy. “Finding qualified people who are willing to work is another issue we face daily,” explains Marvin Sr. “We’re just trying to maintain an even keel right now, there might be room for some growth but we need to be realistic about this economic situation.”

Marvin Sr. admits he’s nervous about the outlook for small businesses with the expansion of government regulations and fees; and Wayne admits the company’s competition has spiked in recent years. “When we first started out, you needed to own equipment, but nowadays any average Joe can rent it,” Wayne explains. “There are more people out there working for next to nothing and who don’t necessarily know what they’re doing.”

M.L. Albright may have competition and an uphill economic battle to overcome, but the company has persevered, relying on a trusted 67-year reputation. “We do what we say we’re going to do and we do it for a fair price; that’s the bottom line,” adds Marvin Sr. What began with Marvin Leonard is continued by his fourth generation great-grandsons, ensuring M.L. Albright & Sons Inc. continues to serve customers with quality heavy construction service.

Published on: November 20, 2013

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in US Builders Review” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.


Spring 2018



  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.