Fort Worth, Texas, June 14, 2016 - The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce honored Acme Brick Company with the Chairman’s Spirit of Enterprise Award at the Chamber’s annual meeting, presented by The Dannon Company, at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. 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.
The award, initiated in 1975, recognizes local enterprises for outstanding contributions to the development of the community. Selected by the four most recent chairs of the Fort Worth Chamber, the recipient is chosen for contributions to the advancement and prosperity of the city, as well as a commitment to the preservation of the American private enterprise system.
“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. Acme Brick truly models every virtue the Spirit of Enterprise Award upholds.”
“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. We feel that our brick products have helped shape Fort Worth’s unique character and charm that sets it apart.”
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 25 brick plants in the central and southeastern United States.
The operation’s track record of excellence and outlook attracted legendary business magnate Warren E. Buffett. In 2000, Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway bought Justin Industries, bringing Acme Brick into the multinational conglomerate holding company. With Buffett’s promise in 2000 to keep Acme Brick in Fort Worth, the company moved in 2006 to consolidate operations at a new headquarters. “The Fort Worth Chamber, and (Chamber President) Bill Thornton in particular, helped us look at several options,” Knautz said.
One site was on Edwards Ranch acreage designated for the planned Clearfork project’s major retail-office-residential development long needed in southwest Fort Worth. “When Bill brought me to this location, I told him our shopping was done. It was an extraordinary testament to the Edwards family who carved out a corner of their future development for us. That is the ‘Fort Worth Way’ – with one family/business helping out another.”
Groundbreaking in 2006 cleared the way for Clearfork’s first anchor tenant. The 77,000-square-foot, three-story headquarters at 3024 Acme Brick Plaza opened in 2007, wrapped appropriately with an elegant façade of red brick.
Spirit of Enterprise Award Recipients 1975-2014
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 Bancshares 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
About The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, with more than 2,000 member businesses, is recognized as one of the nation's top economic development organizations. Through business-to-business marketing, educational events, economic development, workforce development and government advocacy, the Fort Worth Chamber assumes a leadership role in making Fort Worth, the 16th largest city in the United States, a premier location in which to live, work and do business.
About Acme Brick Company
Acme Brick Company, the largest U.S.-owned brick manufacturer, is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies headed by famed investor Warren Buffett. Acme was established on April 17, 1891 and celebrated its 125th birthday this past April 17.