Suwannee River Fair Pavilion
Joe Henry Anderson, Jr.
In 1958, Joe Henry Anderson, Jr. was 18 years old. He set himself on a course that would take a company with one dump truck and one loader to grow into a diverse corporation with over 1,250 employees and a long list of accomplishments.
He is just as excited now as he was 50 years ago about the possibilities that lie ahead and what the company can do to provide the very best service available to their customers.
“I thank the Lord for having good parents who helped lay a foundation for me as I struggled to keep our little construction company, Anderson Contracting, going. In the early years, my dad, Joe Henry, Sr., and my sister Harriett (Anderson) Wall were crucial to our success. I was on the road day and night bidding jobs, repairing equipment, managing jobs and Harriet kept the books and knew how to stretch a dollar when it came time to pay the bills!” Joe added.
Though the company had been awarded many jobs, the company still had its struggling moments. Some lessons came very hard, but the experiences taught them how to adapt to numerous situations and in the end made them a better company.
As time progressed, so did Anderson Contracting. Asphalt paving became a major part of road building in Florida and Joe saw the need to expand his operation into that arena as well. In 1978, an opportunity presented itself to Anderson to purchase 50 % of Columbia Paving in Lake City. From that day in 1978, Joe and Mr. Real worked as partners in co-owning the paving company.
With the partnership in Columbia Paving, more services were integrated and better cost controls were put in place, a wider range of construction services were added, allowing the company to diversify and grow state-wide. As the two companies grew, so did developing limerock services for both in-house and contracted sales.
In 1982, Mr. Real retired and Joe purchased his 50% ownership in Columbia Paving and continued operating two companies as before. From 1982 until 1988, the two companies were separate entities, but with a close working relationship that allowed them to grow with major projects throughout the Southeastern United States. City, County, State, and Federal Interstate Highway work was their forte’ but the company began adding other heavy civil projects such as airports, landfills, and commercial site development, now growing two once small companies into major construction players.
As a workload and dynamics, the companies were merged in 1988 to become Anderson Columbia Co., Inc. with Joe Henry Anderson, Jr. as Chairman. During the 1990’s, other companies were created: Anderson Environmental to handle environmental construction, remediation and cleanup in the southeastern U.S., particularly for the US Army Corps of Engineers and Asphalt Technologies, a state of the art lab for testing asphalt and other construction materials.
Anderson Columbia moved into the redi-mixed concrete business in 1997 (A Materials Group) as well as the trucking business (“A” Truck Line) in 1999.
1996 was a memorable year for the company when is was announced they had won the prestigious Shelton G Hayes Award, the nation’s top honor for a major paving project in the United States.
Tree farming and land development became an integral part of the company from the early years as Joe, Jr.’s vision for a diversified company grew. As of 2012, the company holds thousands of acres of pines for timber harvesting and pine strw operations and offers a substantial amount of land for commercial and private development. The company also grows corn, peanuts, and soybeans in which are being grown on 1,000 acres.
Joe Henry Anderson, Jr. remains Chairman of the Board. Joe Anderson III is the President and CEO of Anderson Columbia. Joe III and Doug Anderson are the Co-Chairmen. Timbo and Cindy (Anderson) Childers, and Kevin R. Wall are Vice-Presidents. Harriett (Anderson) Wall is Treasurer. Brian P. Schreiber is Vice-President and Secretary. John T. Godbold is Comptroller and Assistant Secretary. Gene Strickland is Vice-President.
Joe has always been an advocate for the transportation industry, working tirelessly with friends, business associates and government officials to insure quality highways and infrastructures.
His activities are not just in the realm of transportation. Although not vocal about his involvement in philanthropic activities, Joe recognizes the needs of his fellow man and how he should help those who are less fortunate or have fallen on hard times. Joe is a devout Christian, and he has been a significant benefactor to numerous churches and religious organizations throughout the region. Recently, he has been involved with the establishment of the Ten Commandments monuments in public places to show their importance in the founding of our great nation. In 2009, Joe began a Christian tent ministry, “Crusades for Christ Tent Ministry”, taking the tent, with ministry team, throughout the southeast on a mission to win souls to Christ.