With a goal to empower people and managers to make decisions, Brannon Industrial Group aims for continued growth, operating with integrity, working with the community, and develop sustainable solutions throughout all of their divisions.
As a family-owned Texas business located in Brenham, Brannon Industrial Group (BIG) opened in 2010 as Premier Metal Buyers and provided scrap metal recycling services. Mike Brannon and his son, Blake, are both entrepreneurs at heart. Mike began the company as a small roll-off dumpster business with his wife, Cindy. After pursuing a career in professional baseball, Blake decided to transition to the family business and continue growing the company as Premier Metal Buyers, the area’s reliable, trustworthy solution for metal recycling. Both Mike and Blake have committed to operating the business with the foundation of integrity and treating others with honesty and respect. This continues to guide their decisions to this day, as Mike leads the company as CEO and Blake leads as President..
Today, BIG has grown to include not only Premier Metal Buyers, but also BVR Waste & Recycling, Stop and Go Potties, and, most recently in 2019, Brand It Graphix. Brannon Industrial Group serves 40,000 customers and operates in the Brazos Valley, Central and East Texas, and Metro Houston. BIG’s four divisions services the following counties —Brazos, Grimes, Washington, Milam, Burleson, Austin, Montgomery, Walker, Harris, and Fayette. BIG currently has 175 employees across all divisions and operates through 82 fleet vehicles. BIG company divisions include:
• Premier Metal Buyers: Scrap metal removal and recycling, alloy recycling, customized material handling solutions, waste stream audits
• BVR Waste & Recycling: Commercial, personal, and municipality waste and recycling; roll-off dumpster rentals and containers for personal, commercial, construction, and demolition waste removal and cleanup; temporary fencing products for large and small construction projects, job sites, and special events
• Stop and Go Potties: Variety of portable toilets, from standard for construction sites, oil fields, farms, retail, and long-term use, to luxury for special events, weddings, and corporate parties
• Brand It Graphix: Sustainable practices used in daily printing and production operations, including energy-efficient equipment, chemical-free technologies, and recycled paper for print jobs
After beginning in 2010, BIG began to see significant growth as Premier Metal Buyers. The company grew from 8/10 of an acre of land to 10 acres to meet the storage need of metal and increased equipment. They gained their first industrial account, BVR Waste & Recycling, and continued buying metal and establishing a long-term relationship. By 2015, the company had grown to 50 employees and worked on some large government projects. However, also in 2015, they saw the steel and oil markets begin to crash. “BVR Waste & Recycling approached us to sell their business, and we made the decision to move forward. The process of buying that company was one of our biggest challenges. It took over a year to close the deal in 2017, and BVR Waste & Recycling became our first acquisition after lots of perseverance,” says Blake Brannon.
BVR was initially about the same size in people and operations as Premier Metal Buyers, so BIG doubled in size as a company overnight. The business continued to grow, but after a year it began to face obstacles because the growth had become too much to control. “We realized we needed to change a lot of things and couldn’t continue the business on our own. We took a step back to see everything from a renewed perspective, and that is when we began to focus on people and leadership,” explains Blake. “We needed to grow in new skills as we merged the two cultures of Premier Metal Buyers and BVR and put the right people in the right roles. Our focus since that time has been about the culture of our company and hiring the right people with the right skill sets. We have started to see this decision pay off, and the BIG team continues to grow and get better as we commit to our values of integrity, innovation, and service.”
Protecting the Community
BIG’s single-stream recycling process involves hand sorting. When COVID-19 hit in 2020, there were unknowns on the surface transmission. Out of caution, BIG agreed with one of their municipalities to temporarily suspend the sorting of the recyclables. Unfortunately, a portion of their single-stream material was landfilled. Out of precaution, another municipality requested a disinfectant to be applied to the garbage carts upon delivery to their residents. BIG deployed various protocols with their employees including testing, temperature
readings, health questionnaires and information, additional protective equipment, social distancing, and limited access to internal buildings and customer interactions. The company established contingency and cross-training plans with their routes and drivers throughout the organization to ensure customers would be serviced should drivers be out for extended periods of time.
BIG also continued to serve the community with innovative solutions by shifting to offer disinfection of facilities to help protect against the spread of COVID-19. This was completed by trained applicators from BIG using ULV Foggers to disinfect offices, city buildings, job trailers, portable toilets, and homes with an approved, non-toxic disinfectant against the virus. Through maintaining safety protocols and using a disinfectant with no heavy chemical odor or residue, BIG’s solution helped employers ensure their employees were protected and had a sense of security while working. Although business has gone back to normal, BIG maintains its commitment to a clean and safe environment for both its employees and customers.
Focusing on Team and Empowerment
A challenge today for Brannon Industrial group is the Great Resignation, which has affected the waste and recycling industry as much as any other industry, if not more. BIG has worked hard to combat this issue by creating a culture that empowers employees. “In doing so, we have created a network of advocates, both within BIG and the community, that speak to the effectiveness of our culture and purpose as a team. This has significantly aided in reducing employee turnover within our organization and increased interest in job opportunities,” says Blake.
He believes that the company’s most outstanding achievement has been the continued growth and development of BIG’s culture and team. “Merging two businesses with different
company cultures and getting people bought into our culture and vision was difficult. Culture is everything. Our culture was different from BVR before we bought it. Our goal is to empower people and managers to make decisions. We want to see continued growth, so we put the right people in place and empower them to take ownership and make decisions for the success of our customers and growth of the company,” explains Brannon.
Because BIG has continued to focus on team and company culture, they have been able to grow into the four divisions now under Brannon Industrial Group. “We have created an environment at BIG that has begun to exude into the surrounding community and industry peers in such a way that there is excitement to join the BIG team. We fostered a culture of growth, excitement, and opportunities that attracts people to our divisions and overflows into positive impact on our community.”
Blake is committed to being a strong example of a community leader and spends time educating young people on recycling and entrepreneurship. By partnering with Texas A&M University throughout the year to provide opportunities for students to tangibly learn about scrap metal, waste, and recycling, college students can see how waste and recycling are an important part of their clean-up days following football games. Blake also spends time sharing the importance of recycling with local schools, businesses, and community groups. He regularly provides tours of BIG’s facilities so students and citizens can see how waste and recycling works up close.
Committed to Success
BIG is committed to a culture of constantly looking for ways to do things better. The company’s ultimate goal will always be to provide the best way to process waste, trash, and metal faster and more profitably.
Says Blake, “We strive to provide new innovations, software, and technology that offer the best solution to simplify the process. The heartbeat and goal of our company is to serve our customers with integrity and sustainable solutions for their success.” | WA
For more information, call (979) 830-9060 or visit www.bigcompany.com.