Summers-Taylor was founded in 1932 in Elizabethton, Tenn., originally as a general maintenance and construction contractor under the name Taylor Construction Company. Named after its founder, Lines R. Taylor, the business initially served two large German-owned rayon mills that had located in the town during the 1920s. The company was given license number 00000069, meaning it was the 69th contractor of any kind to be licensed in the state of Tennessee.
The advent of World War II and the eventual nationalization of the two rayon companies led to additional work for Taylor Construction, accelerating its growth. The company also won contracts to build local schools, hospitals and retail stores.
In the early 1940s, Lines Taylor’s daughter, Doris, married Robert W. Summers, who later joined the business. Summers’ presence immediately changed the direction of the company because of his road-paving expertise, acquired during previous work experience with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
With this added knowledge, the firm moved heavily into road construction and paving. The firm’s leadership also founded a subsidiary branch called Taylor Ready-Mix Co. for manufacturing concrete products.
In 1948, Summers also founded a paving business called Summers-Taylor Paving Company, which was extremely successful and grew quickly, with sales increasing from $237,000 to $849,000 by the end of just the second year.
In 1970, all three businesses – Taylor Construction, Taylor Ready-Mix and Summers-Taylor Paving – were combined under the company’s current name of Summers-Taylor, Inc.
As Summers-Taylor’s physical structure on Elk Avenue has been expanded and renovated several times over the years, the company’s bottom line has achieved a steady trajectory of growth through four generations of family-guided leadership. When Robert Summers, son-in-law to company founder Lines Taylor, died in 1981, his son, Rab, took the helm and is now Chairman of the Board. Rab’s son, Grant, as President, represents the fourth generation of family ownership.
After a final restructuring in 1989, with the purchase of Malone Brothers, an asphalt paving company in nearby Greeneville, Tenn., Summers-Taylor is firmly entrenched as a leading construction company, serving the tri-state region of Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina.