Find out what's in Gray's DNA. A History of Gray, 1960 to present.
A family-owned company, Gray was founded by James Norris and Lois Howard Gray on October 11, 1960. James Norris was a Glasgow, Ky. farmer turned builder, and Lois was an artist who shared her talents through a successful interior design business.
When James Norris died of cancer in 1972, the eldest son, Howard Gray, became president of the company at the age of 23, assisted by his younger brother Jim. During the 1970s, Gray entered the world of municipal utility work and constructed its first sewage and wastewater treatment plant. Gray also landed a contract with Toshiba, the company’s first project for a Japanese company, through a Japanese general contractor.
Gray continued to grow during the 1980s and was awarded a contract with Hitachi, the company’s first direct contract with a Japanese customer. Shortly thereafter, Gray was selected to build the plastics building at the Toyota facility in Georgetown, Ky., which ultimately led to the opening of a branch office in Tokyo, Japan.
During the 1990s, Gray moved its corporate headquarters to Lexington, Ky. and acquired Woodford Steel, Inc. in Versailles, Ky. to serve the company’s long-standing and loyal customer base in Kentucky. This company was renamed WS Construction Company.
In the early 2000s, Gray opened a new office in Birmingham, Ala. to serve the Southeast and acquired a new group company, Gray-I.C.E. Builders in Anaheim, Calif. to serve the western part of the U.S.
In 2012, yet another branch office was opened in Charlotte, N.C. to support the growing South Atlantic market. Shortly thereafter, the company went through a rebranding, bringing all the company affiliates—including WS Construction and Gray-I.C.E. Builders—under one company name: Gray. This year also marked the passing of the Gray matriarch and co-founder Lois Howard Gray.
Today, Gray is consistently ranked in our core markets— automotive plant construction, commercial facility construction, distribution center construction, food and beverage plant construction, hospitality facility construction, institutional facility construction, manufacturing plant construction and retail facility construction —among the top 20 design-build firms nationally.