How We Got Here
Present day Donley's was founded as Ernest F. Donley's Sons Inc. when Ernest's sons borrowed $25,000 from their Dad to purchase the construction business from Donley Bros. Co. in 1941.
In 1969, the company shortened its name to Donley's under the leadership of Terry K. Donley who had officially begun working at the business as an estimator in 1952. Terry was able to broaden Donley's services in the concrete market and during the 1980's expanded their offerings into general contracting and construction management.
In 1996, Mac Donley took the reins to become the fourth generation to lead the family business. But it's not just the Donley family that spans generations; there are employee families in their third and fourth generations as well who are proud of their contributions.
Over the last 15 years, we have expanded first into Virginia, then Maryland, later into North Carolina and South Carolina and now into Georgia.
EXPLORE THE TIMELINE
1941 - 1961
Don and Phillip Donley borrowed $25,000 from their dad to purchase the Construction Department from Donley Brothers. Ernest F. Donley's Sons, Inc. is established on February 14, 1941 as concrete form work contractors. At the time, they were the only local supplier of metal pan forms.
World War II
Starting just after Donley's was incorporated, the emphasis shifts from construction to industrial mill supplies, including saw sales & sharpening.
Equipment Division is formed.
When Terry Donley was a child, his father Philip F. Donley would take the future president of the company to work on Saturdays and give him odd jobs—sweeping floors, washing windows, etc. He went from sweeping floors to sharpening tools when he was 13 or 14 years old.
Formwork subcontracting business grew from pans and open centering to all formwork for concrete, including footings. Donley’s was the first in N.E. Ohio to use ganged forms, tower cranes, and concrete pumps.
Donley’s business offerings included:
- Formwork Contractors
- Lathing Contractors
- Light General Construction Equipment Distributors
- Industrial Mill Supplies (varied lines)
- Circular Saw Sales, Sharpening & Repair
- Automotive Tool Distribution
Terry graduates from Miami University and becomes an estimator.
Interiors Division is formed. This section of the business started an expansion program in 1955 and Donley's became acoustical ceiling applicators, terminated lathing for plaster by 1959 and started as drywall contractors. This business expanded from acoustical ceiling contractors to drywall and later to movable partitions.
1962 - 1981
The 30-story Winton Place was a project with many firsts.
The tallest apartment building—at 264 feet—between New York and Chicago at the time, Winton Place was the first high-rise apartment building on Lakewood’s Gold Coast.
It was the first project to be completed with a ceremonial “sky-closing”—a pail of Donley’s concrete was flown by helicopter to the building’s heliport where Co-owners Fred Parr Cox and George N. Seltzer fashioned the concrete into a 1-foot square using gold trowels.
It also was the first major project where Donley’s did the concrete along with the formwork—a major turning point in the company’s history.
Donley's purchased J. H. Libby Company, broadening Donley’s capabilities in concrete placing and finishing.
Donley’s moves to present location at 5430 Warner Road.
(Image 1) Phillip, Donald, Ernest & William Donley
(Image 2) Marketing Brochure
Terry Donley takes over leadership of company from Don Donley.
The company name changes from Ernest F. Donley’s Sons to Donley’s
First slip form concrete core project, tower crane, and concrete pump in Cleveland.
(Image 1) Pier W Restaurant (1965)
(Image 2) Cuyahoga County Community College (1969)
Equipment and other divisions are sold in order to allow entry into GC market, including Interiors Division. Growth was consistent up to the mid-1970's, when competition became very keen and branch locations became predominant. This period found too many companies competing for business in the Northeast Ohio market place.
1st Design/Build concrete project, Richfield Coliseum.
Expansion to Central Ohio with establishment of Columbus office. This office was closed in the early 1980’s.
1st concrete restoration project, Cleveland Clinic Employee Parking Garage.
(Image 1) Terry With Staff
(Image 2) Terry and Donley Brothers
1982 - 2001
1st General Contracting cultural project, Western Reserve Library.
(Image) Western Reserve Library Groundbreaking (1983)
1st Design/Build construction project – LTV Steel Welfare Building.
Mac Donley and Don Dreier named Vice Presidents.
New Marketing Slogan...
“General Contractors with a Concrete Reputation”
1st Construction Management project, Timken Mercy Ambulatory Care Center
Willard Park Garage Construction
(Image 1) Willard Park Garage Construction
(Image 2) Willard Park Garage
Mac Donley named President.
(Image) Mac Donley, Terry Donley, Don Dreier
1st Construction Management higher education project, Lake Erie College.
Construction begins on Louisville Design/Build Parking Deck. This marks Donley's initial expansion outside the state of Ohio.
(Image) Louisville Parking Deck
2002 - 2015
Donley’s expands into Mid-Atlantic region and opens office in Richmond, Virginia.
1st higher education project is completed in Virginia, University of Virginia Emmet Street Parking Deck
(Image) University of Virginia Emmet Street Parking Deck
Donley’s acquires Blair Concrete in Raleigh, North Carolina, extending its geographic range of concrete services.
Completes Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland, selected as one of the World’s Coolest Buildings.
Donley’s launches Safe-D safety program.
- Safety is our culture.
- Our daily goal is to operate incident free.
Awarded $300 million Cleveland Clinic/CWRU Health Education Campus, its biggest project ever.
(Images) Cleveland Clinic/Case Western Reserve University Health Education Campus
2016 - TODAY
Donley’s positioned itself for even stronger growth by selling the company’s Construction Management (CM) business to Independence Construction of Independence, Ohio, part of the DiGeronimo Family of Companies. The move will position Donley’s to continue investing in and growing its concrete business across multiple geographies.