The 125-year-old Acme Brick is the latest company to receive the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award at the Chamber’s 134th annual meeting, presented by The Dannon Company, at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel June 14.
“We think that we have helped make Fort Worth a special place,” said Acme President and CEO Dennis D. Knautz. “Look at Main Street, Sundance Square, Camp Bowie, the Fort Worth Convention Center, the Stockyards and on and on,” including the array of homes in historic and emerging residential developments throughout Cowtown.
“We feel that our brick products have helped Fort Worth have a unique character and charm that sets it apart.”
The Spirit of Enterprise Award, the Chamber’s highest honor, is given annually to a local organization that has demonstrated true commitment to local business growth and community development.
“Acme Brick stands among Fort Worth’s most trusted and essential partners in progress,” said Chamber President and CEO Bill Thornton. “They will always hold a special place in Fort Worth history as the first anchor tenant of and a major drawing card for the Clearfork development that has finally tapped southwest Fort Worth’s full economic potential.”
Entrepreneur George Bennett launched Acme in 1891 near Millsap in Parker County. Early challenges included providing brick in 1902 for construction of the Swift and Armour meat packing plants in what is now the historic Fort Worth Stockyards.
Acme moved to Fort Worth in 1911 and has grown to become the nation’s largest company producing brick and masonry-related products. Nationwide, Acme has more than 60 company-owned sales locations and 26 brick plants in the central and southeastern U.S.
In 1968, renamed as First Worth Corp., Acme merged with the Justin Companies of Fort Worth and Louisiana Concrete Products, creating the highly successful Justin Industries esteemed for “boots and bricks.”
The company’s success attracted the attention of businessman Warren E. Buffett and, in 2000, Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway bought Justin Industries, bringing Acme Brick into the multinational conglomerate holding company that also includes other Fort Worth-based companies BNSF Railway, Justin Brands and TTI.
With Buffett’s promise in 2000 to keep Acme Brick in Fort Worth, the company moved in 2006 to consolidate operations at its new headquarters in the southwest part of the city.
“Over the years, we have seen outstanding companies receive this recognition from the Chamber,” Knautz said. “It is truly an honor to be recognized alongside these other great Fort Worth businesses who have done so much for so long to help make Fort Worth a special place to live and work.”
The 77,000-square-foot, three-story headquarters at 3024 Acme Brick Plaza opened in 2007, wrapped with an elegant façade of red brick.
For more on Acme Brick
Spirit of Enterprise Award Recipients 1975-2015
1975 Tandy Corporation
1976 Mrs Baird’s Bakeries, Inc.
1977 Gearhart-Owen Industries, Inc.
1978 Justin Industries, Inc.
1979 The Western Company of North America
1980 American Manufacturing Company of Texas
1981 Texas Refinery Corp.
1982 Standard Meat Company
1983 Thornton Industries, Inc.
1984 Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company
1985 Texas American Bankshares Inc.
1986 American Airlines, Inc.
1987 Freese and Nichols, Inc.
1988 General Dynamics
1989 Pier 1 Imports, Inc.
1991 Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
1992 Harris Methodist Health Systems
1993 Burlington Northern Railroad
1994 Alcon Laboratories, Inc.
1995 Union Pacific Resources
1996 Alliance Development Company, Inc.
1997 Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show
1998 Southwestern Bell Telephone
1999 Fort Worth Star-Telegram
2000 TXU Electric & Gas
2001 Carter & Burgess, Inc.
2002 XTO Energy Inc.
2004 Sundance Square
2005 Texas Christian University
2006 JPMorgan Chase
2007 Lockheed Martin
2008 Gideon Toal
2009 DFW International Airport
2010 Amon Carter Museum of American Art
2011 Wells Fargo
2012 Kelly Hart & Hallman
2013 Cook Children’s Health Care System
2014 Tarrant County College District
2015 Acme Brick Company