Founder and Entrepreneur:  C. Dewitt Brown, Jr. 1929 - 2000

Born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1929, C. DeWitt Brown, Jr. was just 16 years-old when he picked up his first brick and trowel and began his career in the masonry industry.

 

Already engaged to his Adamson High School classmate, JoAnn V. Richardson, Dee abandoned his two paper routes because he thoughT the promise of a career as a journeyman bricklayer would provide a greater financial reward. After Dee graduated from high school, he entered into the Union Bricklayer Apprentice Program, which took four years to complete. He served his apprenticeship working for a small family-owned, General Contracting firm named O'Rourke Construction.

 

Dee worked several years as a bricklayer while he continued to look for opportunities for growth. When he was given an opportunity with TXI to work as a masonry products salesman, he jumped at the chance. After a couple of years, Dee had become the top salesman for TXI. During this period Dee worked with many contractors and felt that most were poorly organized, had unsophisticated management styles and their cost controls were nearly non-existent. Dee again saw a new opportunity for this future leading him to make a change. Dee contacted Mr. Ralph Rogers, the founder of TXI, to discuss what he had learned and his desire to start his own company.

 

At the age of 26, with most of Dee's savings and the financial support of Mr. Ralph Rogers, Dee Brown Masonry, Inc. was founded on October 31, 1955. Dee started the business using a desk in the master bedroom of their home. After a few years of growth, Dee was able to rent office space at the corner of Dyer Street and Central Expressway.

  • 1962:  The growth of Dee Brown Masonry, Inc. affords Dee the finances to allow him to purchase approximately 2.7 acres of land in northeast Dallas and build his first office building, shop and warehouse.

  • 1976:  TXI approaches Dee about taking over two companies they acquire through bankruptcies, Cardinal Masonry Company of Houston, Texas and Southwest Masonry, Inc. of Austin, Texas.

  • 1980:  Dee Brown, Inc. is formed as the holding company which owns Dee Brown Masonry, Inc., Dallas Division and Corporate Office, Dee Brown Masonry, Inc. – Houston Division (formerly Cardinal Masonry Company) and Dee Brown Masonry, Inc. – Austin Division (formerly Southwest Masonry, Inc.).

  • 1982:  Masonry Technology, Inc. was formed to compete with the non-union masonry market.

  • 1985:  Dee moved Buddie Barnes back to Dallas and promoted him to Executive Vice President and COO. As the company reorganized, it also began to look at markets outside of Texas for the first time.

  • 1989:  DBM/Hatch, Inc. is formed to construct work in the California and Hawaiian markets.

  • 1990:  Buddie Barnes is named President and COO and Dee continues as Chairman of the Board and CEO.

  • 2000:  Buddie Barnes becomes Chairman of the Board, President and CEO. 

Chairman of the Board: Robert V. (Buddie) Barnes, Jr.   

Born in Dallas, Texas in 1946, Robert V. "Buddie" Barnes, Jr. grew up in a family well ingrained in the construction industry.

 

After graduating from Bryan Adams High School in East Dallas, Buddie enrolled at Texas A&M University – Commerce (formerly East Texas State University) with a degree program in Business Finance and Business Management. During the summer between Buddie's junior and senior year of college, he changed his degree program from Business Finance to double major in Architecture and Business Management.

 

In 1968, while working for Sears as a Regional Management Trainee and Department Manager, and continuing with his college education, he married his high school classmate, Deborah Dee Brown.

 

In 1969, Buddie continued working for Sears as well with his college degree.  He began to look for a better way to support his family using the architectural education he was receiving, an opportunity presented itself and Buddie began working in estimating at Dee Brown Masonry, Inc. 

  • 1976: Buddie receives his BS in Industrial Technology with a double major in Architecture and Business Management. Later that year, Buddie is named Dee Brown Masonry's first Contract Administrator, took over the purchasing from Dee and developed new job cost setups and job cost controls.

  • 1977: Buddie is given the task of performing the due diligence on all projects under contract with Cardinal Masonry Company and Southwest Masonry, Inc. With the task completed, TXI and DBM draft an agreement to sell these companies to DBM. On finalization of the transaction, Buddie is promoted to Vice President/General Manager of Cardinal Masonry Company and he and his family move to Houston, Texas.

  • 1980: After the formation of Dee Brown, Inc., Buddie is named Vice President and Division Manager of Dee Brown Masonry, Inc. – Houston Division.

  • 1982: Masonry Technology, Inc. was formed to compete with the non-Union masonry market.

  • 1985: Buddie is promoted to Executive Vice President and COO of Dee Brown Masonry, Inc. – Dallas Division and Corporate Offices. He was charged with the reorganization of the Dallas Division and overall corporate organization. With the promotion, Buddie moves his family back to Dallas.

  • 1986: Buddie's ties with the AGC National – Specialty Contractor Board lead to the development of national relationship with large General Contractors working in Texas and other markets. DBI goes first to Tampa, Florida, then Atlanta, Georgia. DBI develops projects in Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Washington, DC; Boston, Massachusetts; and Providence, Rhode Island.

  • 1989: DBI begins work in Arizona and California.

  • 1990: Buddie is promoted to President and COO of Dee Brown, Inc. and Masonry Technology, Inc. Dee Brown Masonry, Inc. is closed down.

  • 1995: All work is completed under the Dee Brown, Inc. name.

  • 1998: Dee and Buddie set up a partnership with Kepco+ (Kepco+DBI, LLC) which focuses on work in Utah.

  • 2000: In January, prior to Dee's death, Buddie is promoted to Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO. Dee becomes Chairman Emeritus.

  • 2006: Due to the construction climate in California, the decision is made to close DBM/Hatch, Inc. Management personnel transfers back to Texas.

  • 2008: All operations are consolidated in DBI headquarters in Dallas, Texas. The third generation steps up to begin the management of DBI. January 2008, Buddie Barnes is named Chairman of the Board and CEO. Robert V. "Rob" Barnes, III is named DBI's third President and COO.

  • 2015: Buddie retires and becomes COB. His son Robert V. Barnes III becomes President and CEO

  • 2016: In February, Buddie was inducted into the MCAA Masonry Hall of Fame.

Buddie has and continues to serve the construction industry in many ways:

  • Chairman – Quoin, A Chapter of AGC

  • President – Associated Masonry Contractors of Texas

  • Director – Texas Masonry Council

  • President – United Masonry Contractors Association of Dallas

  • Regional Vice President – Masonry Contractors Association of America

  • Board Member – University of Texas Construction Research Center

  • Buddie has been and continues to be very involved civically with the following groups:

  • Salesmanship Club of Dallas

  • Chairman – Texas A&M-Commerce Foundation

  • Vice President – Texas A&M-Commerce Distinguished Alumni Chapter

  • Board Member – Baylor Health Care System Foundation

  • Board Member – Episcopal Foundation of Dallas

  • Board Member – Gaston Episcopal Hospital Foundation

  • Board Member – Visiting Nurse Association

  • Board Member – Dallas Arboretum

  • Executive Board Member – Circle Ten Council of Boy Scouts of America

"I feel that the role I must have at this time of my career is to be the mentor, friend and father to my children that both Dee and my father were to me. Keeping that entrepreneurial spirit alive and seeing that the third generation is prepared to lead us into the future with even greater success that we have had to date."                                                                                                          -- Buddie Barnes, September 2008

President and CEO: Robert V. (Rob) Barnes, III

 

January 2008: Dee Brown Inc. begins transition to the 3rd Generation

Named President, COO January 2008, Rob describes his current position as "just another place on the field."  Rob was recently quoted on how he attained this position by stating, "From the bottom up".  Son of current Chairman and grandson of DBI's founder, Rob has been trained in all aspects of the business. On January of 2015 Mr. Barnes became President and CEO.

 

"The summer of 1987, prior to my senior year of high school, I worked on the job site of the Meyerson Symphony Center in downtown Dallas.  This was my 4th summer to work for the company, albeit the first summer full time.  I started out in the basement on the trash crew, after several weeks of this, I was promoted to a mason tender and worked building scaffold, stocking block, shaking up mortar etc...  By mid-summer, I was working as a stone setter's helper installing the large Indiana Limestone Panels on the exterior of the symphony center.  This summer I will never forget, I learned an appreciation and the importance of each of these positions to the success of our business.  I have a deep appreciation for all personnel on our team whether their job be field labor, field supervision, or office personnel.  It takes all employees to accomplish our task.  My hope is that our team will continue to excel, to perform at a level that well exceeds our competition and that we, as a company, align ourselves well with the values listed in our mission statement."

Previous Experience:

  • Project Manager December 1992 - July 1992.  Managed Exxon World HQ, Burlington Northern Nat'l HQ

  • Estimator July 1996 - July 1998

  • Director Estimating / Marketing July 1998 - December 1999.  Moved company into high-end multi-family mixed use developments with marquis project Addison Circle, re-established old markets of architectural precast, and stone-clad precast.

  • Vice President Estimating / Marketing January 2000 - December 2004.  Responsible for procuring American Airlines Center, and Nasher Sculpture Center.  Established relationship and pushed DBI into Sculpture Art market segment.  Successfully expanded operations into Oklahoma, Arizona, and Florida. 

  • Executive Vice President January 2005 - December 2006.  Responsible for implementing Estimating and Marketing strategy.  Successfully re-organized, and re-focused small projects and experienced 27.5% growth in 2006.

  • Executive Vice President, COO January 2007 - December 2007.  Oversee all facets of operations.  Estimating and Marketing, Project Management, and Field Operations.

  • President, COO January 2008 - 2015

  • President and CEO 2015 - Present

Education:

  • M.B.A.  Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 2007
  • Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas 1992

Texas Masonry Council:

  • Marketing Committee 2004 

  • Secretary Treasurer

  • Executive Committee and chair of Finance Committee 2005  

  • Vice President, Executive Committee, active Finance Committee 2006

  • President 2007

  • Executive Committee 

  • Immediate Past President 

  • Executive Committee 2008  

  • Board of Directors 2005-2008

Building Stone Institute:

  • Technical Committee Chair 2008 

  • President 2015

"My grandfather, Dee Brown, helped to develop this industry nationally. He surrounded himself with people who would balance each other's strengths and weaknesses; he was very good at presenting a unified front. Always the visionary, he was integral in helping my father, Buddie Barnes, select 'people for the third generation of leadership and management who will continue that balance.'"

--Rob Barnes, 2008

Dee Brown, Inc. is a quality focused team of transformative people that will impact not only our partners, but our community & globally, our industry!

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