LEXINGTON, Ky. — Gray Construction, a fully integrated service provider specializing in engineering, design, and construction, is continuing its tradition of elevating leaders from within through the announcement of Brian Jones as president and chief executive officer and Patrick McCowan as chief operating officer.
Stephen Gray remains president and chief executive officer of Gray Inc., the holding company for Gray Construction. Jim Gray will remain in his current position of chairman of the Gray Inc. board of directors.
Celebrating its 60-year anniversary, this transition is part of a succession plan carefully developed by the Gray family with guidance from the Gray Inc. board. This is a milestone in the company’s history, marking the first time a non-family member will lead Gray Construction.
“When my parents founded our company, they wanted every team member to feel like a part of our family. My brothers and I really strived to carry on that foundation through the years,” said Stephen Gray. “This core thinking helped us identify potential leaders throughout the company who would help build on past successes and take us into the future, while maintaining our culture and core values.”
“I’ve watched both Brian and Patrick grow up in our company with Brian starting as an intern and Patrick joining us as a field engineer. Throughout their careers at Gray, both have strategically led teams with thoughtfulness and compassion,” he continued. “We are committed to the idea that the business can only grow if the people are growing. Succession planning is a key part of our business strategy, and these moves are a result of this planning.”
As CEO of Gray Inc., Stephen’s most passionate area of focus remains on the stewardship of the company values and culture established by the Gray family, as well as the personal and professional growth of Gray team members. Stephen will remain responsible for overall business strategy and financial performance for all the Gray Family of Brands with a dedicated focus on the core business of design and construction, growing the Food & Beverage market through new companies and complementary services, and overseeing Gray’s real estate development arm.
“Being the first non-family member to hold this position at Gray Construction is such an honor. I’m humbled by the trust they’ve given me and realize I have some big shoes to fill,” said Jones. “My inspiration is watching our entire team live our core values every day. I’ve always been made to feel like I am part of this family and encouraged to focus on people growth as a precursor to company growth. Gray has an exceptional senior leadership team, and I’m excited to work with them to build upon our past accomplishments.”
As president and CEO of Gray Construction, Jones will focus on continuing the company’s progress as an industry leader and growth-oriented business with keen attention toward building and strengthening relationships with customers, team members and business partners. Jones joined the company in 1999 as an intern and quickly moved into the project management ranks, which led to his heading up Gray’s Southeast office in Birmingham before stepping into his most recent role of COO.
In the role of COO of Gray Construction, McCowan will lead the day-to-day operations for Gray’s expanding services with an eye for recruiting the next generation of team members, spearheading technological advances, and improving quality and efficiencies. McCowan began his career at Gray as a field engineer. Over his 19-year tenure with the company, he has been on the fast-track to success, holding multiple positions in project management, and most recently, leading Gray’s Southeast office in Birmingham. He has been a driving force behind the success of dozens of large-scale projects, building strong partnerships with customers such as Michelin North America Inc. and Siemens Energy Inc.
“I can honestly say I have the upmost gratitude toward the Gray family and Brian for the trust they’ve shown in me by placing me in this new position,” said McCowan. “Brian has done a tremendous job as COO, and I look forward to building on the platform he’s developed. No one in our industry compares to the team members we have here at Gray.”