When he took a summer job at age 18 as a laborer pouring cement, Pierce Flanigan was not convinced he wanted a future with his family’s road construction business. But the project he was working on in 1996 — paving a road for the expansion of the Baltimore Convention Center — sparked his interest.
“I’d worked there during summers while I went to college, but I hadn’t really made my mind up until I graduated,” he said. “I really fell in love with it. I liked the idea of fixing things … of seeing a team really come together and do something that’s impressive.”
Now 40, Flanigan heads the more than century-old Baltimore-based P. Flanigan & Sons. As a fifth-generation president, Flanigan has continued the tradition of investing in the city where his great-great-grandfather, Irish immigrant Patrick Flanigan, put down roots in 1885.
The business that worked on the city’s first modern sewer system in the 1920s has evolved into construction and maintenance of streets and highways, runways, taxiways, port terminals, bike lanes, parks and sports fields. P. Flanigan workers have built Seagirt Marine Terminal in Dundalk, the horse track at Sagamore Farm and downtown road improvements for the Baltimore Grand Prix, among many other projects.
The company, working since around 1910 out of the same headquarters on Loch Raven Road in Northeast Baltimore, also runs two asphalt production plants — one it built in the 1960s in Westport, and one in Sandtown, where it also operates a concrete recycling plant. The company employs nearly 300 people.
In Sandtown, the business has been buying up nearby properties, including a recycling plant in 2006, and more recently, a former railroad lot and a vacant corner store, as part of its expansion. It now owns about 20 acres in the neighborhood, where it produces the asphalt it uses or supplies to other contractors.
The company’s roots stretch to 1885, when Patrick Flanigan started a plumbing contracting business. During the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, Flanigan & Sons helped prevent the flames from spreading by creating firebreaks through demolition. In 1908, it opened the first asphalt manufacturing plant as cobblestones and paving stones fell out of favor. In the 1920s, Patrick Flanigan helped build a city sewer line, called Flanigan’s Pipe, which was developed as a privately held utility.
Pierce Flanigan became president after his father, also named Pierce Flanigan, died in 2008.
The company president credits the longevity of the business to the involvement of the owners over the decades.
“We’ve never gotten too big,” he said. “It’s always been run by the owners. It hasn’t gotten out of scale for what the family can do.”
Pierce Flanigan IV
Education: B.A. Kenyon College; MBA, University of Baltimore
Hobbies/interests: Outdoors activities
Family: Wife, Emlyn, and four children