The underground utility contractor celebrates its 100th year in business in 2017
In 1917, much of the greater Washington DC metro area, including Maryland, was still in the dark when the sun wasn’t out. The way to keep your home warm then was through coal. Ice boxes kept food fresh. That’s when the entrepreneurial light bulb went off for Bernard Frank Joy.
Joy recognized the opportunity and purchased a Washington, DC storefront from his aunt, from where he sold and delivered coal, ice, and animal feed to communities in the surrounding area. Joy began his small enterprise with one business partner, one employee, and a horse and cart. Now located in Hyattsville, Maryland, B. Frank Joy, LLC (also known as BF Joy) has grown from that humble shop to one of the region’s most respected underground utility contractors, with more than 200 employees and 50 crews. Through various underground infrastructure projects, B. Frank Joy has had a hand in illuminating the metro area and Maryland. Recent projects include Capital Crossing; the National African American History Museum; Pike and Rose; Sibley Hospital; and Trump Post Office Plaza.
During both World Wars, the company continued its commitment to serving the community. In 1925, the company began renting trucks to the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) and the C&P Telephone Company (now Verizon) – customers BF Joy still serves today. In 1946, it became the first contractor in Washington, DC to install underground conduit and manholes. In the 1980s, BF Joy expanded into natural gas pipeline work, and became a major player installing underground fiber optic rings in the heart of downtown Washington, DC. This year BF Joy will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
“Powered by people, a core value of the company, exemplifies our commitment to our employees,” says Kevin M. Joy, president of the firm and great grandson of its founder. “Since the first Thanksgiving turkey giveaway in 1955, B. Frank Joy strives to treat every employee like family – and provide them with the opportunity to treat each other in the same manner.” To foster the feeling of family, the company hosts annual events focused on its employees: an all-staff crab feast, family picnic, ring ceremony, the traditional turkey giveaway, and a holiday breakfast, to name a few.
A Veteran-owned business, BF Joy also provides its employees with opportunities to further their careers, offering a three-track training program that focuses on technical competence, leadership development, and safety. “Our training program is designed to enhance and advance employee performance and ensure the company consistently demonstrates the importance of safety practices. We strive to provide our employees with the opportunity to grow,” says Joy.
Coal and ice delivery are now long gone, but BF Joy continues to do work that makes life a little more pleasant. The utility contractor works in both the public and private sector and provides gas and power distribution and related infrastructure; manhole inspection and repair; streetlight installation; fiber optic splicing and testing; traffic control infrastructure; and even snow removal services. The company also believes in giving back to the community, and supports numerous charitable organizations, including PHI Community Foundation; Prince George’s County Christmas in April; the Literacy Council of Prince George’s County; Boy Scouts of America; and the National MS Society.