By Kelly Daniel, Membership and Marketing Manager
The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce has Drewery Construction Co. as the Large Business of the Year - one of three Gary Justice Business Excellence Awards presented annually. The business owners and employees will be recognized at the chamber’s 92nd Annual Meeting and Membership Banquet, Tuesday, Sept. 24, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Hotel Fredonia Convention Center .
Drewery Construction Company was founded in 1949 by logger Howard H. Drewery as a tree removal service. Mr. Drewery primarily worked as a logger in the area, and would perform tree removal services part-time, usually at no charge. Eventually Mr. Drewery realized that the tree removal and pruning service could be a self-standing business enterprise of which he had the talent and capabilities to do.
“Daddy was a logger and people in town knew this and would ask him to take down their trees,” Keith Drewery said. “The first few times he didn’t charge for it, but he found out he could do it well and make money. It all evolved out of Daddy’s ability to fall trees.”
Each of his four sons, Larry, Dale, Keith, and Terry, eventually joined him in the business. Keith remembers a prayer he prayed at the beginning of his 10th grade year in high school. “I started remembering all the times I’d worked with my brothers, and I asked the Lord to please let us work and make a living together like Daddy raised us.”
Over time, God granted Keith’s prayer and each brother assumed an equal share in the family owned business; Larry’s role was construction; Keith’s management, Dale’s shop operations, and Terry’s tree service.
In time with lots of prayer, hard work and vision, the tree service would grow to become just a division of the work performed by Drewery Construction. Today, other services include land clearing, earthmoving, industrial and commercial site development, underground utilities, asphalt paving and disaster recovery.
In January 1999, the Drewery family suffered a great loss, Larry Drewery passed away, leaving a gap in the family and in the business. Larry’s wife, Peggy, was already working in the business as a bookkeeper. “I became ‘Larry’ in the business,” she said “not wearing a hard hat in the field, but in the office,” where she is currently serving as office manager and secretary treasurer.
Drewery Construction Company has grown into a multi-million dollar corporation employing more than 100 residents of the Nacogdoches area. For Nacogdoches that is an important economic impact.
“Drewery is a Nacogdoches-based company, locally-owned and often does business outside of the county and state,” Stan Sisco, division president, BancorpSouth, said. “That means outside dollars are brought into Nacogdoches , greatly enhancing our local economy.”
Drewery Construction has established its name with the State of Texas Department of Transportation as a reliable and dependable company, by entering into several contracts with the state performing maintenance services in 32 counties in East Texas . With years of experience in the storm-debris clean up dating back to 1961, Drewery Construction is striving to be a “main” contractor for the United States responding to disasters including hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
The owners believe in investing earnings back into the business as well as doing business with other local vendors, keeping the local economy strong. Keith remembers several in the community that believed in Drewery Construction and gave their support even during hard times.
The owners credit their businesses success to God first, family working together second. and lastly a support system provided by Nacogdoches residents and local businesses.
Pictured from left are Drewery Construction owners Terry, Dale, Keith and Peggy Drewery.
Photo by Jodi Shumway