Fargo - Neither Bob nor Greg Gibb say they were pressured to join Robert Gibb & Sons, the plumbing, heating and electrical contracting business their grandfather founded in 1915.
“Nobody pushed us to go into it, but it was a good opportunity at the time,” Greg Gibb said.
The brothers are the third generation of Gibbs to run the company currently celebrating its 100th year in business. Their father, the late Bob Gibb, ran it from 1951 to 1985.
Today, Greg Gibb serves as the company’s executive vice president and Bob Gibb is the president.
They were not the only ones to follow a family member into the business.
“We have sons of guys who spent their whole career here,” Bob Gibb said. “They’re working for us now, too.”
He credits good employees as one of the keys to their longevity.
Brother-in-law Kevin Riley, the company’s executive vice president of service, sales and marketing, said it is also due, in part, to the example set by the family.
“One of the things I see is the work ethic of these guys and their father and grandfather,” Riley said. “These guys put in more hours than anybody here. There is dedication, and it comes down from the top.”
Already an apprentice in his home country of Scotland, Robert Gibb began working as a plumber soon after arriving in Fargo in 1907. He formed his own company, Robert Gibb Plumbing and Heating, in 1915.
It became known as Robert Gibb & Sons after his sons Dave, George, Don and Bob joined the business following World War II.
Underground sewer and utility work and HVAC services were added to the business in the 1950s. The service department was expanded and electrical services added after it moved to its current location, at 205 40th St. S., Fargo, in 1974.
After 100 years, the company has been involved in the construction of a number of noteworthy structures including the Fargodome, West Acres Shopping Center, Fargo South and Moorhead high schools and the Roger Maris Cancer Center.
They are currently working at the new Sanford Hospital, the North Dakota State University STEM building and the University of North Dakota’s new medical school.
Riley said celebrating 100 years in business does not mean Robert Gibb & Sons is an old company.
“We have a theme of ‘100 years preparing for tomorrow,’ ” Riley said. “The reason is, we’re not an old company. We’re on the cutting edge of technology.”
One area of success is in BIM, or Building Information Modeling, which is essentially a 3-D CAD, or computer-aided drafting, that helps plan, design, construct and maintain buildings and infrastructure.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re leading the charge in technology and in a lot of the new ways we’re doing things,” Riley said. “We consider that we spent the last 100 years preparing for the next 100 years.”
They are also looking ahead to their succession plan.
Bob Gibb said Bob Gibb IV lives and teaches in Vietnam and his other son works in insurance in Kentucky, so it is not clear that another son will take over the business. He pointed out a successor no longer has to be a son. In fact, Greg Gibb has a few daughters and a son-in-law currently working for the company.
“We’d like to see the company continue in whatever form possible,” Gibb said. “It has great opportunities, and the future looks bright.”
What: Robert Gibb & Sons
Address: 205 40th St. S., Fargo. Additional offices are located in Bismarck and Peoria, Ariz.
Phone: (701) 282-4400