George & Lynch celebrates 100th anniversary
DOVER – One hundred years after its founding, the contracting company George & Lynch is starting its second century as a totally employee-owned firm. Founded in 1923 by Hyland George and John Lynch as a road construction specialist, the company passed from family to private ownership in 1994 before transitioning to employee ownership in 2022.
“There were three reasons we decided to establish an ESOP, or employee stock ownership plan,” President and CEO Chris Baker told Delaware Business Times. “The first was that some of us were getting ready for retirement, and we saw this as a way to reward loyal employees. Second, it will help with ownership and leadership transition, and third, it will serve as a good tool for recruitment and for retention of employees. It’s similar in structure to a 401K plan.”
Upon retirement, vested employees will sell their shares back to the company. The George & Lynch corporate administration setup is determined by a board of directors with outside members.
The company, which has just under 200 employees, operates primarily across Delaware and nearby Maryland helping construct roads, bridges and water and sewer systems as well as doing site preparation for subdivisions and industrial and commercial projects.
“We don’t do vertical building at construction sites, but we do take care of such things as grading and water and sewer work,” Baker explained. “With street or road construction, someone else will handle curbs, sidewalks, seeding and things like that.”
One of the most visible projects that George & Lynch is currently working on is the 190-acre pharmaceutical manufacturing campus in Middletown being constructed by WuXi STA Pharmaceutical, a leading contract research, development and manufacturing organization (CRDMO), which is expected to provide 500 full-time jobs when it opens in 2026.
“We also do a lot of work for Sussex County with their treatment facilities and sewer systems and in off season with Ocean City, Md., with their street work,” Baker said.
George & Lynch operates as both a contractor and sub-contractor, although Baker said, “We self-perform about 85% of our work.”
“We have grown with Delmarva as we have built Delmarva, putting our best work into creating the infrastructure that makes our region run,” Baker said.
The World War II watchtowers at Fort Miles along the Delaware coastline are a particular point of historic pride for the firm. Expected to last perhaps two decades, they’re still standing more than 80 years later. George & Lynch also did some of the original runway work on what became Dover Air Force Base as well as the horse-racing track at Delaware Park.
In addition to its Dover headquarters, George & Lynch has a second location in Gumboro and is a partner in three asphalt plants in Dover, Dagsboro and Delmar
And, Baker said the company plans to celebrate its centennial in style.
“We’re planning a large party in May,” he added. “The invitations haven’t gone out yet, but we expect about 600 guests and employees to attend.”
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