Curran & Briggs Limited is a well known company on Prince Edward Island (PEI). Our equipment, with our green and white vehicles, is a common sight all over PEI. We are quite proud of the fact that some of our employees are third generation, which tells you how long we have been serving our customers on PEI. Many people think that Curran & Briggs or C&B as many call us, originated here on PEI, but our history started long before the company arrived in the Maritime Provinces.
The original company name was Curran & Clement, founded in Orillia, Ontario, in 1920 and named after its two owners at that time. Curran & Briggs Limited started off as a company that did concrete work for sidewalks, curbs, bridges, etc. After a few years of progress, the headquarters of the company moved to Toronto in the early 30s when Fred T. Briggs purchased the shares owned by Mr. Clement, and the company was re-named to Curran & Briggs as it is today. Services provided were expanded to include grading, crushing and asphalt. Greater success in the business encouraged the company to expand its area of influence so in 1937 Curran & Briggs opened an eastern division to fulfill contracts in Springhill, Nova Scotia and PEI. Our eastern division headquarters were established in Summerside, PEI and our corporate head office is still maintained in the same location today.
Curran & Briggs continued operations across Canada during the Second World War and was even awarded the first Canadian contract on the Alaska Highway! At the same time the eastern division was busy building runways at the Summerside and Mount Pleasant, PEI, airports. Following the war the company took advantage, in Ontario, of opportunities for building roads and concrete bridge structures. During the 1950's and 1960's Curran & Briggs completed numerous contracts on various Ontario Highways, including highway’s 400, 401, Queen Elizabeth Way, the Trans-Canada Highway, and other jobs located in northern Ontario. Not stopping there, the company carried out municipal work, especially in Toronto. During this time period Robert T. Briggs became president of the company, replacing Fred T. Briggs.
Meanwhile on the East coast, the eastern division also was expanding its work area into Newfoundland helping, the then premier, Joey Smallwood finish the Trans-Canada Highway. Working on joint venture contracts with the construction company Mannix of Calgary found Curran & Briggs constructing a series of dams at Bay d'Espoir in addition to a major contract at Churchill Falls.
Curran & Briggs Limited closed down its Ontario operations in the 1970s and work in Newfoundland was ceased due to a decrease in construction contracts available. However, the company’s work on PEI continued, and perhaps this is a reflection on the management of the company's operations on PEI at the time rather than just the work potential that was available. Here on PEI our general manager at the time was Mr. Walter Riehl.
In the summer of 1943, Walter Riehl was a high school student looking for a summer job while school was out. Fortunately, for the company, he found one with us and he started off as a labourer. His job performance made quite an impression and he was offered full time employment as a foreman with the company when he graduated from high school in 1946. Walter earned a promotion to a superintendent’s position in 1954. 1957 saw him being appointed as the branch manager for PEI and in 1966 he advanced into the general manager’s job. He was selected to take over as president of the company in 1990 by the then retiring management group.
As Walter Riehl rose through the organization he recognized that the success of a construction company could not depend on just one hard working manager, and especially here on PEI where an acceptable volume of business requires a diversity of operations. During Walter’s term as president of Curran & Briggs, he expanded the company operations on PEI into different divisions, with managers, responsible for one or more of the divisions.
The company divisions at the time were:
- Grading, asphalt paving, sewer, water (Brian Profitt).
- Crushing and aggregate supply (Brian Profitt).
- Pulverizing, asphalt milling and crack filling (Tri-Mix Limited- Walter Riehl).
- Equipment and tool rentals, hoses and welding supplies (Advance Rentals-Greg Bowles).- Barging aggregate (25% partnership - Mariner Towing).
Walter Riehl has seen many changes in the construction business during his 65 plus years on the job and he sees more happening even now. With the changing face of the construction business Walter saw that it was time to enjoy retirement and on 1 January 2008 the ownership of the company changed hands. In a way it still remains a “family” business as five employees joined together to purchase and take over ownership of Curran & Briggs Limited The five employees are; Greg Bowles (Manager Advance Rentals), Brian Profitt (General Manager), Rick Kennedy (Comptroller), Steve Campbell (Project Manager / Estimator) and Kerry Doucette (Superintendent).
In January 2018 Curran & Briggs underwent another change in ownership with the retirement of Brian Profitt & Greg Bowles. The company is now owned by the three remaining partners.
Curran & Briggs at present is a construction company ready and able to tackle any job in its field that comes up on PEI. We own our own equipment, apart from a few owner / operator trucks that are called on during peak periods. During the busy construction season, the payroll rises to approximately 185 employees. The new owner group welcomes the challenge, and will be looking for growth, for the company, in the future.
Today the company still consists of Curran & Briggs Limited, Tri-Mix Limited and Advance Rentals, with shops in located in Summerside and Bloomfield.
The company organization is:
President – Rick Kennedy, CA
Vice-President – Steve Campbell, C.E.T.
Secretary – Kerry Doucette, CT.
Project Managers - Kerry Doucette, CT and Steve Campbell, C.E.T.
Estimator - Chris Doucette
Superintendents - Benny Gallant and Scott Mahoney
Custom Paving / Small Projects – Ivan Paynter and Scott Howatt
Health, Safety & Environment Coordinator – David Corney, CD, CSS
Copyright © 2006 Curran & Briggs Limited