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GRS - the early years
From humble beginnings half a century ago, GRS – originally Galliford Road Stone – has grown to become the country’s largest nationwide trader, transporter and handler of construction aggregates and waste materials.
The company gained its independence after a management buy-out from contractor Galliford in 1997. That was also the year that aspiring salesman Jon Fisher – now GRS chief executive – joined a new team with a can-do attitude and bags of ambition.
That spirit – still part of the GRS core values today – helped the firm to achieve rapid success trading road stone in the Midlands and South East. In turn, that led to the formation of a sister company for bagged aggregates just three years later.
Realising a vision for growth
Both GRS divisions continued to grow, adding to their portfolio in the mid-2000s with complementary joint ventures in inert landfill and rail depots. GRS was involved in many of the major infrastructure projects of the era – including the likes of Heathrow Terminal 5, Wembley Stadium and the M6 Toll – allowing the business to expand as it picked up work in new areas. Demonstrating its resilience during the economic downturn, GRS continued to perform, growing into new markets and adding to its network of bagging plants.
In 2012, a second management buy-out, led by Jon Fisher, allowed further expansion and a new focus on developing people. Jon then set out his own vision for GRS, to create the only nationwide business of its kind, serving UK construction with materials, waste services and end-to-end logistics.
That vision has led to further strategic acquisitions, joint ventures and commercial partnerships that have become a hallmark of the GRS business model. It's one of the reasons why GRS has been named among the highest climbers the Sunday Times top track 250 growth companies for three years running.
Becoming a nationwide player
After expanding northwards, and across the east and south west of England in 2015 and 2016, 2017 was a seminal year for GRS. Firstly the company acquired West Country building materials firm Maen Karne in January, followed by two further bagging plants in the north. Then at the end of the year came the acquisition of London infrastructure services business S Walsh & Sons. As if that wasn’t enough GRS also began 2018 with the launch of Earth Solutions, a nationwide waste and recycling partnership with UK’s leading building materials and construction solutions provider Tarmac.
As a result, today GRS occupies an almost unique position, employing around 800 people at 75 locations nationwide, from trading offices and bagging plants to rail depots and recycling facilities. Between them they handling almost 20 million tonnes of construction aggregate and waste materials each year. Through its partnership approach the business is involved in vital infrastructure schemes like Crossrail, Hinkley Point and Thames Tideway, alongside major highway projects such as the A14 in Cambridgeshire.