GMC Founder’s Month: Celebrating 76 years
July 13, 2023 · Community
More than 75 years ago this month, GMC got its start when Don Mills Sr. founded Don Mills Consulting Engineers in 1947. Since then, our firm has evolved tremendously from a small municipal engineering company to one of the most comprehensive multidisciplined architecture and engineering firms in the Southeast, with more than 20 offices and 500 employees.
When you dive further into GMC’s history, you’ll find some surprising facts, like – did you know, Don Mills started an import-export business, exporting rice and manhole covers in the 1980s? Or that Mr. Goodwyn used his wife’s station wagon as the company’s first survey vehicle?
More importantly, our history is laced with anecdotes exhibiting the core values that have shaped us from the beginning. For instance, George Goodwyn recruited his first employees from the unemployment office and taught them how to survey. He took his new crew to a subdivision and practiced surveying with them until they were ready to take on a project, demonstrating the importance of providing opportunities for people and teaching those willing to learn.
One of his first projects – the Dexter Avenue urban renewal project in Montgomery – entailed inspecting the storm drain system leading up to the Capitol, spanning approximately one mile. Some areas had narrowed to just 24 inches in diameter, but Mr. Goodwyn crawled through and inspected every one of them. He gained a lot of respect from those he was working for and by showing them he was willing to do whatever it took to get the job done.
These are just some of the countless stories that speak to GMC’s roots and the rich history that has led us to where we are today. This month, we’re excited to celebrate our rich history as we continue looking forward to the bright future ahead!
Did You Know? GMC History Edition
- Did you know? George Goodwyn, co-founder of GMC, first started his engineering experience with the Alabama Highway Department when he was 14.
- Did you know? George used his wife’s station wagon as the first survey vehicle.
- Did you know? Don Mills started an import export business where he imported manhole covers and rice.
- Did you know? George and Don traveled to Egypt to develop a new sewer system for the Nile River.
- Did you know? Violet Martin Stanley, a senior design engineer at GMC, was the first registered civil engineer in Alabama.
- Did you know? Steve Cawood joined the firm as a partner in 1985, creating Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood, Inc.
- Did you know? Bill Wallace started the architecture department in 1986, making GMC a multidisciplined architecture and engineering firm.
- Did you know? George Goodwyn was one of four founders of Leadership Montgomery. He remains an avid advocate for social justice and still sits on the current Leadership Montgomery board.
- Did you know? Current COO Galen Thackston started the Environmental Department in 1993.
- Did you know? GMC now has more than 530 employees located across seven states.
GMC continues to celebrate our history and stands firm on the foundation to leave a legacy of good in the communities we serve.