B. Frank Joy’s roots began in the early 1900’s, with a business founded by Mrs. Emma Schwart. In 1917, Mrs. Schwart hired her nephew, Bernard Frank Joy, to work for her as an office clerk. The following year B. Frank Joy and a partner, Sam Agnew, purchased the business from Mrs. Schwart.
Sam, Emma, and Bernard hard at work
See a B. Frank Joy Ledger
B. Frank Joy's original operations consisted of buying, selling, and delivering coal, feed, and ice throughout D.C.
B. Frank Joy’s original operations consisted of buying, selling, and delivering coal and feed. The company’s first employee led the delivery of both coal and feed to some of Washington’s wealthier families until 1947.
The Company supplied coal to some of Washington’s largest commercial organizations, and delivered both coal and feed to some of Washington’s wealthier families until 1947.
Just as BF Joy opened its doors, the United States officially entered World War I when President Woodrow Wilson delivered his War Message on April 2, 1917. Bernard joined the Navy shortly thereafter.
While Bernard was serving in the Navy, his wife, Helen S. Joy, ran the business.
Shortly after returning from his naval service, B. Frank Joy bought out his partner and incorporated the business, becoming the proud owner of 51 shares of the B. Frank Joy, Incorporated.
Following its incorporation B. Frank Joy Company, Inc. gradually increased its hauling contracting. It supplied top soil gleaned from the Joy family farm, one of the last truck garden farms in the District of Columbia, to some of Washington’s finest monuments and park grounds.
The Washington Senators won the franchise’s first and only World Series championship during its time in Washington, defeating the New York Giants in seven games.
Friday, October 10, 1924 2:00 pm (ET) at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C.
|WP: Walter Johnson (1–2) LP: Jack Bentley (1–2)
WAS: Bucky Harris (2)
Wikipedia contributors. "1924 World Series." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Dec. 2016. Thurs. 8 Dec. 2016. < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1924_World_Series>
From hauling coal to installing and repairing conduit, BF Joy sees its relationship with PEPCO – a company that once represented nearly 100% of BF Joy’s business and still represents roughly 30% of it today - as a true partnership.
As Ken Joy put it, "They’re a truly wonderful customer and client to work with - they’re fair and they’re not abusive, which certainly can’t be said of all companies that work with contractors."
An audience of newspaper reporters and Bell Telephone Laboratories officials gathered in a laboratory in midtown Manhattan to witness the first American demonstration of television - specifically, the telephone-line-transmission of the live picture and voice of Herbert Hoover, then the Secretary of Commerce, from Washington, DC.
The Chillicothe Baking Company, located in Missouri, began producing sliced bread with a power-driven, multi-bladed slicer invented by Otto Rohwedder, an Iowa-born jeweler. The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune reported that the typical housewife could expect "a thrill of pleasure when she first sees a load of this bread with each slice the exact counterpart of its fellows." So YES, BF Joy IS older than sliced bread - by more than a decade!
As BF Joy entered its fifteenth year of distributing goods and digging under the streets of DC, thousands of unemployed Americans – over 5,000 – were hard at work on a “digging” project the likes of which had never been seen: the construction of Boulder Dam, now known as Hoover Dam.
Authorized in 1928 and begun in March 1931, building the dam was diverse and dangerous work performed both day and night. Sadly, creating the Dam - the largest manmade structure in the world - also claimed 112 lives.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt formally dedicated the Dam in late 1935, and the hydroelectric plant that it powers began generating electricity for cities throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona a year later.
Awarded a Boston-based NFL franchise in 1932, George Preston Marshall, who owned a chain of laundromats in Washington, DC, named the team the Boston Braves. Marshall quickly demonstrated his impatient nature, changing the team’s name to the Boston Redskins in 1933. He further established it in 1936, when he chose to host the NFL championship game at New York’s Polo Grounds, to punish Bostonians for their poor attendance, and moved the team to DC upon losing it.
Marshall’s impatience served to benefit Washingtonians, as the Redskins delivered a championship to the city in their first of 13 seasons at Griffith Stadium, originally a baseball field. They secured a championship again in 1942, and became the first NFL team to have its own marching band and fight song (1937), radio network (1944) and TV network (1950). They enjoyed a string of unprecedented sold out games that began during their time at RFK Stadium (1961-1996) and continues today at Fedex Field – two stadiums that BF Joy is very proud to have worked on!
The United States officially entered the second world war on December 8, 1941 – one day after 360 Japanese aircraft attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, killing more than 2,300 American troops.
American forces provided a huge boost to the Allied powers and, though at a significant cost (over 400,000 Americans were killed during the War), helped defeat the Axis powers following battles throughout Europe.
Like thousands of other young American men, Thomas Leigh Joy joined the war immediately upon turning 18, in 1943. He served with the First Marine Division, earning both a Silver Star and a Purple Heart at Peleliu – a battle that lasted more than two months, from September to November 1944 – before returning on January 2, 1946.
Like millions of American women across the country, BF Joy’s female employees and the wives of its male employees supported the war effort in myriad of ways, from helping run the federal government as “Government Girls” to growing Victory Gardens and recycling scarce materials at home.
Vaino J. Holopainen and Roy E. Handy, Jr., who founded the Wain-Roy Corporation of Hubbardston, Massachusetts, invented the first backhoe swing frame – a breakthrough that allowed the hydraulic digging arm to swing to the side to dump the bucket – in July 1947. They sold the very first all-hydraulic backhoe in America, mounted to a Ford Model 8N tractor, to the Connecticut Light and Power Company in 1948. It's hard to imagine lasting 100 years without this amazing piece of machinery!
The manufacture and use of PVC exploded in the US, in the early 1950s. At this time, encouraged by the results obtained from primitive pre-World War II pipelines, several European and American companies began to heavily invest in the formulation and processing of the product – a product which would quickly gain a prominent position in the markets of gas and water distribution; chemical processing; drain, waste, and vent piping – AND, of course, sewer and drainage.
Leigh Joy was named the president of B. Frank Joy when his father, Bernard, passed away.
Born in Washington, D.C., in 1925, Thomas graduated from Roosevelt High School and enlisted in the Navy in 1943. He served three years in active service before joining BF Joy in 1946.
A husband, father of three, and avid fisher and golfer, Leigh left an indelible mark on the Company by truly treating each and every employees as family.
After overhearing one of his employees say he’d never had a Thanksgiving turkey for his family, BF Joy’s founder, B. Frank Joy, decided in 1955 that he’d change that. B. Frank initiated the tradition of personally distributing an 18-20 pound turkey to each and every one of the company employees – and even former employees who went to the trouble of showing up! – that year, and the tradition is still going strong. Talk about a LOT of turkey!
A few days before John F. Kennedy's inauguration, BF Joy was hired to inspect all manholes on and tunnels under the streets surrounding the U.S. Capitol. BF Joy actually ended up doing the job twice, thanks to a surprise overnight snowstorm!
BF Joy is proud to have contributed to the construction of District of Columbia Stadium, which was renamed RFK Stadium in 1969 and has served as home to the Washington Redskins (1961-1996), the Washington Senators (1962-1971), the Washington Nationals (2005-2007), and D.C. United (1996-present).
A.C. Miller Concrete Products began operating out of a 5,000 square-foot precast plant in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Thanks to the steady growth in demand for precast concrete – the “building product of the century” – the company’s two plants, totaling over 200,000 square feet, now serve public utilities and private construction companies throughout the northeast corridor. BF Joy is proud to have been in business with A.C. Miller since its start!
Along with his tireless work ethic and positive attitude – one that he still brings to each year’s crab feast – Sam Harris helped spur the establishment of two of BF Joy’s most meaningful recognitions of its employees: the Company Ring, which is given to each employee after 20 years of service, and the Birth-Day vacation day with pay, which began in 2000.
Nearly 60 years after BF Joy began moving goods throughout the region and a whopping six years, three months, and 23 days after its groundbreaking, Metrorail opened. More than 51,000 individuals rode over the 4.2 miles of Metro’s Phase 1 for free, while 19,913 paying customers rode on 188 train trips two days later.
BF Joy signed a contract with The Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company, which became part of Bell Atlantic in 1984 then was renamed Verizon in 2000, to install underground fiber optic cable throughout the DC Metro area.
65 years after the company’s founding, Leigh Joy decided that it was time to start a newsletter dedicated to the BF Joy family, which had by then grown to over 200 employees. He announced the publication with his benchmark humor and care and, demonstrating his ongoing belief in financial incentives, launched a paper-naming contest with a prize of $25.00 for the employee who submitted the winner.Read Leigh's Words
"Recently, it was suggested that the B. Frank Joy Co., Inc. institute publication of a newspaper, for and about the Company and its people. While in no way intended to replace the Washington Star, here is Volume 1, Number 1 of the newest entrant in the Metropolitan area newspaper field.
The purpose of this newspaper shall be to keep all of the "Joy People" advised of current and proposed policies, benefits or opportunities available, information as to background and aims of the Joy Company, and anything deemed ‘newsy’ about all of our employees and their families.
This paper is for YOU! We want you to know us and us to know you. If you have questions, we will answer them. If we have questions, we will invite answers. We are aware that some of our people know nothing of the Joy Company other than their own job locations and crew. We employ "Joy People" in the shop, in the yard, in the Generating plants, in the office, in the streets of Washington, and in the streets and fields of Maryland. We have Foremen, Lead men, Crew Leaders (A & B), Skilled, Semi-skilled and Unskilled Laborers, Equipment Operators, Truck Drivers, Mechanics, Typists, Clerks, Bookkeepers, and many other classifications… all working to make the Joy Company their company, and we want you all to know each other.
The success of this newspaper is dependent upon all of you. We must have input to make an edition worth printing. Send us any information you feel will be of interest to your friends and fellow employees. Did your child win any honors, scholarships or the like? Is someone getting married, retiring, made a hole-in-one, a contest winner? Anything that you feel is worth bragging about, we would like to share with you.
SO HERE IT IS… THE FIRST EDITION! COME ON EVERYONE… START CONTRIBUTING TO THE NEXT EDITION, AND LET’S GET A PAPER WE’LL ALL BE PROUD OF!!!"
At the age of just 36, T. Kenneth Joy ("Ken") became the third president of the company that his grandfather founded 65 years earlier.
Born in 1946 in Washington, D.C., Ken graduated from St. John’s High School and earned a B.S. in Economics from Wheeling College before entering the U.S. Navy Aviation Officer’s Candidate School in 1968. He received a Reserve Officer’s commission and trained as a Naval Aviator at Pensacola, FL, and Corpus Christi, TX, then flew anti-submarine patrols from 1970 to 1974 at naval air stations in Maine and Bermuda. Ken later served as a flight instructor in Corpus Christi, where he also earned an M.B.A. from Webster University before resigning from the Navy and joining BF Joy in 1976.
Ken is married and has two children.
As reported in the second edition of the BF Joy employee newsletter and by numerous news media throughout the DMV, a crew led by Bob Murrill unearthed a concrete-encased time capsule when excavating under the ‘Madonna of the Trail’ statue located in front of the post office at Montgomery Lane and Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, Maryland.
The crew had been notified that the capsule might exist somewhere within the six-foot-tall, 12-ton base of the ten-foot-tall, 5-ton statue – yes, that adds up to sixteen feet and 34,000 pounds of concrete! - which had been commissioned and dedicated on April 19, 1929, by the Daughters of the American Revolution to honor the pioneer women who had left in covered wagons from its location, which was the starting point of the trail to the far West.
So, with the built-up anticipation of archaeologists in the Egyptian desert, the crew was very happy when Aubrey Richardson, one of the crew’s members, spotted the capsule and immediately halted drilling so that it could be carefully cut out by hand, which was no easy task.
The crew’s anticipation persisted until Montgomery County officials arrived and proceeded to open the capsule and discover what lay inside the heavy copper square box. Picking out each of the capsule’s artifacts one by one, the officials found papers related to the statue’s honorees, an invitation to its dedication, pictures of the ceremony, a map of the trail to the West, and a list of the DAR members who had raised funds for and dedicated the statue.
After enjoying their discovery for a little while the BF Joy crew, like all good archaeologists, got back to work and finished the job – a relatively small task of earth-moving that they’re sure to remember!
The Redskins won their first Super Bowl thanks to great coaching by Joe Gibbs and great running by Super Bowl MVP John Riggins.
Read Full Interview
William “Hawk” Hawkins, who joined the company in 1932, was interviewed by Carolyn Lewis for the July 1987 issue of Let’s B. Frank. The interview provided a very unique look on BF Joy’s history from someone who had been around from very close to its start. Here it is in its entirety.
Lewis: When did you come here and what was it like then?
Hawk: I came to work in July 1932. That was a bad time because of the Great Depression. People were starving, standing in soup lines, losing their jobs and their homes. I had been walking the streets for a long time trying to find a job, when I walked into 1112 – 9th St., N.W. “Mr. Frank” (B. Frank Joy) asked me how he could help me and I told him I needed a job and could drive a truck. He told one of the men to take me out to the Autocar and let me drive it, and I almost ran over that man trying to get to the truck!
When I first saw “Mr. Frank” I thought to myself, he looks like a tough man, I don’t think I’ll work for him long – I planned on staying until I found something else. That was 55 years ago and he was a fine man to work for.
Lewis: Do you remember how many people we had working then and how many trucks?
Hawk: We had 8-9 trucks and about 25 people.
Lewis: Not long ago, you gave me a book to use in my research on Joy Company history. It listed all of the salaries paid to employees. I noticed the TOTAL payroll for all of the employees for June 1, 1939 was $534.70 and you were making $14.00 a week?
Hawk: That’s right, I made thirty-five cents an hour.
Lewis: What was it like working then?
Hawk: The trucks we had were ’28 & ‘29’s mostly. You had to crank them up every morning and in the winter time you had to empty the water out every night and put it back in every morning. The only heat in the trucks came off the engine and it was real cold we carried an oil lamp in the cab for heat! They had no doors and some had acetylene lights you had to light with a match. Sometimes the lights would blow-up if too much gas escaped. The trucks had hand-wind dump bodies; you had to crank them up, dump your load, and hand-crank them down.
Lewis: Are you glad you came to work here?
Hawk: Yes! “Mr. Frank” kept us working all through the depression and that wasn’t easy to do. He treated his employees good, and he was a good man to work for. Back then black men had a hard time finding a job. They were only hired for temporary labor work. I was lucky to find someone who would hire me and keep me working.
Lewis: What is one thing that stands out about working for the Joy Co.
Hawk: It was during the Depression, people were starving back then. It was around Christmastime and “Mr. Frank” really surprised me. He went across the street and got a big box of groceries and gave them to me. He told me, “Hawk, things are not like they could be but it is up to me to make them better – things will get better.”
“Mr. Frank” was a great person to work for. He cared for his employees. He often told me, “Hawk, if you can’t help someone don’t hurt them.”
Hawk and I talked about many things that day but the one thing that I kept hearing was the fact that Frank Joy cared about his people. That same caring was here when I came to work in 1971 and it is still here. No matter how much we change, the employees are still the most important thing around here. For without all of you we wouldn’t be in business.
Realizing the increased demand for natural gas services in the DC metro area, BF Joy expanded its construction services to include the installation of gas lines and mains. This was no minor investment, as BF Joy’s employees already knew how to accomplish a portion of this task, the excavation, but had to learn how to install the 500-foot lines, which are completely different than conduit pipe. As such, the company sent dozens of workers to attend two days of training at Washington Gas, where they learned how to use a fusion iron, connect service “T’s,” butt fusions, and meld plastic gas line connections. Given how prevalent natural gas is these days, it’s clear that this was a very smart adaptation for BF Joy!
In what Ken Joy called “one of the most demanding challenges in its long history,” BF Joy was tasked with raising underground phone cables running across Route 50, which were interfering with the widening of the Whitfield Chapel Road bridge, onto the bridge. To complicate matters, the job had to be completed without stopping either traffic or phone service, in compliance with state regulations, and amid rain, snow, mud, and darkness.
So, after a great deal of planning – planning that involved numerous meetings with C&P, the Maryland State Highway Administration, the State Police, and the State Environmental Protection Agency - the project came to a peak in the early morning darkness of Sunday, March 12, when the State Police shut down all six lanes of Route 50 for exactly 30 minutes to allow the cable to be raised. In that half hour, every member of the BF Joy team – composed site superintendent John Merkle, construction manager Joe Shelton, four foremen Ronnie Grimes, George King, Joe Shelton, Jr, and Ricky Kretizer.Click to see all workers
- had to coordinate with each other and five cranes to perform, as Ken Joy put it, “like a team of surgeons doing a heart transplant on a patient the size of a football field.” And they did.
Having already planned out and practiced what each crew member would do during each of the thirty minutes, the men put up barriers to shut down all lanes, cut all welds on ten plates over road excavations, removed the plates, lifted the cable onto the bridge, replaced and re-welded all plates, and removed all road barriers – all on time and without a nick in the C&P phone cables or the bridge.
It was a job well done and fondly remembered.
In 1971, B. Frank Joy Company purchased Wall Products Company, a D.C.-based distributor of Formica Brand Laminates. The strategy was to diversify from the core Joy business of utility contracting and to have a company with both growth potential in the remodeling market, counter cyclical from Joy's primarily commercial segment. Read more
In 1979, WPC obtained the rights to a new countertop material, DuPont Corian. Corian was both in its life cycle infancy, and was a specialty building product. Success in Corian sales was dependent on dedicated marketing and selling efforts, working with Residential and Commercial specifications companies.
As a result of the subsequent growth of the DuPont product, and other specialty building product offerings, the company name was changed to Carapace LLC in 1990. By 2006, Carapace had become the largest marketer and distributor of Corian in the U.S. with warehouse facilities in Maryland, Charlotte and Atlanta. With over 50 sales people and 115 employees, Carapace service D.C., Maryland and seven other Southeastern states.
Reflecting on what made BF Joy successful over the last 75 years and what would make it successful in the future, Ken Joy adopted and implemented the BF Joy Core Values, which all new employees must read and agree to abide by for the entirety of their employ. The Values are posted throughout the company’s headquarters.
Demonstrating it's support for it's hometown team again, BF Joy provided its underground infrastructure expertise to Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, which was renamed FeEx Field in 1999.
In one of the most complex jobs in its history, BF Joy dug a trench more than 20-feet deep and more than 100 feet long in order to move all of Verizon’s cabling and make construction of the sports arena possible.
BF Joy won this $9.3 million contract, the largest in its history, to construct a fiber optic loop in DC and surrounding counties.
Miss Utility’s MD/DC Damage Prevention Committee presented BF Joy with its annual award, which recognizes contractors who steadily work toward damage prevention and promote underground utility safety on a daily basis, for the first time.
BF Joy took the award home in 2007 and 2008 and has always sought to expand its safety efforts by holding all-hands safety meetings and rewarding its safest employees.
Dutch Morley, who’s worked at BF Joy for 31 years, remembers hand-digging beneath sidewalks, 12-foot deep holes, and an appearance by John Riggins.
Ken Joy, who was still BF Joy’s president at the time, remembers very long nights and the constant need to keep both his workers and the public passersby - many of whom had just left the area's many bars after closing time - safe.
As is the case with all BF Joy jobs, both Dutch and Ken agree that the best part of the project was its completion, on time and on budget.
In what all of BF Joy’s longtime employees agree was one of the company’s most memorable projects, twelve crews worked overnight, for over two years, to service and repair PEPCO’s ducts below a very busy section of M Street.
In a major move towards a trench-free future, BF Joy becomes the official mid-Atlantic distributor of LMK Enterprises, Inc.’s T-Liner lateral pipe repair, mainline point repair, and Vac-A-Tee technology – a renewal technology that eliminates the need for costly excavation, is the most effective and environmentally sound repair system of its kind, and is certified to have a service life of over 100 years.
The system allows for the reconstruction of mainline and lateral pipes with the installation of a one-piece T-Liner. The joining of two separate liners is not required, and the T-Liner is inserted through the mainline pipe, without the need for excavation. Once positioned at the junction, the mainline portion is inflated and the lateral liner is inverted up the old lateral pipe. The result is a one-piece, structural seal for the sewer system junction, and a durable water-tight seal that eliminates inflow and infiltration.
“After months of researching numerous mainline and lateral rehabilitation systems, we found the LMK T-liner head-and-shoulders above the rest,” said Ken Joy. “We are proud to be a licensee of this innovative process and are very excited about our new relationship with LMK.”
For the first time in the company’s three-generation, 89-year history, BF Joy reaches outside of the Joy family for its top executive post.
Reflecting on this choice ten years later, Ken Joy explains it as a true no-brainer. "About 10 years ago when I selected Melissa Koehler to be the first president who was not a direct descendant of our founder, I did so because she was the best person for the job," said Ken. "As importantly, she possesses all of the key leadership attributes that have made BF Joy so successful: integrity, long-term strategic thinking, and respect for the individual. Her last name might be Koehler, but in her heart and her actions, she's a Joy. She IS family."
BF Joy celebrated its 90th anniversary by golfing and socializing with longtime business partners at The Congressional.
Thomas Leigh Joy passed away at the age of 82 following complications from a stroke. Leigh served as president of BF Joy from 1955-1985 and as board chairman through 2007, and is remembered as a deeply charismatic and much-loved leader, husband, father, and friend.
Leigh's son, Ken, remains on the board and Leigh's grandson, Kevin serves on both the board and as a leader in the company's day-to-day operations.
See Underneath The Stadium
Just a month after BF Joy helped complete its underground infrastructure, Nationals Park opened its gates and played host to the Atlanta Braves. A group of Joy Company staff attended the game, along with 39,389 fellow Washingtonians, and enjoyed viewing a 3-2 victory on a field that they helped create!
B Frank Joy appeared on ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover, running the electrical and communication duct banks as well as the excavation and backfill for the sanitary sewer at the site of The Fishing School. BF Joy’s employees enjoyed participating in the unique experience and, more importantly, giving their time and expertise to such a worthy cause.
This article described how the Isuzu box truck that carries a customized, skid-mounted jetter boosts the BF Joy sewer division’s productivity and enables safer operation.See the Article
BF Joy won a manhole repair contract from Dominion Resources, forming what will hopefully be a long-term partnership with one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy.
Giving back far beyond the DC Metro area, BF Joy employees traveled to New Orleans, LA, to demonstrate sewer lateral and manhole lining with LMK technology.
The Joy Companies, Inc. announced the acquisition of Mr. Go-Glass, a 33-year old, family-owned full-service glass business based on the Delmarva Peninsula.
BF Joy saw the acquisition as a great opportunity to further diversify its business and position itself for smart and sustainable growth through the 21st century.
As the last few years have proved, Mr. Go-Glass has been a perfect addition to the Joy Companies family due to its similar culture and vision, core values, and emphasis on people.
BOSS Magazine interviewed Kevin Joy in a profile of the nearly 100 year-old company.Read the Full Article Here
As part of the partnership with ABC of Metro Washington and the Dr. Charles Drew Engineering Academy, employees from BF Joy LLC spoke to students at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School on May 16th.
Following their presentation, each employee spoke with small groups of students about the construction industry, ways to apply their education from Dunbar, and post-Dunbar educational opportunities.
BF Joy was proud to help bring light and power to the Museum, which seeks to understand American history through the lens of the African American experience and is the most recent Smithsonian Institution museum to open its doors on the National Mall.
“Congratulations on your 100 year anniversary! Thank you for the outstanding services and commitment to safety B. Frank Joy has provided to Washington
Gas over the years as a
key service provider.”
Assistant Vice President, Construction
For the first time in its history, B. Frank Joy LLC appears in the Washington Business Journal's Book of Lists - twice, as a top Veteran-Owned Small Business and a top Family-Owned Business. Talk about a great way to kick off our 100th year!
BF Joy celebrates what’s made arriving at the much sought-after, rarely-reached century mark possible: the quality of its work and the people who do it. Here’s to another 100!