Family has been the cornerstone of GreenWood Inc. since its inception 30 years ago. It’s this concentration on family and relationships, says the Greenville-based company’s leadership, that has allowed the full-service general, mechanical, and electrical contractor and workforce solutions provider to build deep connections with its customers across industries from the mid-Atlantic to the Southeast.
While the company began with a focus on building and construction, it’s grown over the years. GreenWood now provides services to industries ranging from the pharmaceutical industry to the aerospace and automotive industries. The company has close to 700 employees across more than 50 project sites, said Laura Lipscomb, GreenWood’s CEO. On Oct. 20, GreenWood announced it had achieved 1.5 million safe work hours at its Mitsubishi Polyester Film project site in Greer, South Carolina.
“It all started with John Wood,” said Laura Lipscomb, John Wood’s daughter. Wood had worked for Daniel International for almost 30 years before he decided to create a company, and along with Allen Green, they started GreenWood — a combination of their names — in 1990. In 1992, Lipscomb said her father bought out Green and took full control of the company.
The business stayed in the family with Lipscomb and her older brother, Brad Wood, buying the company from their father in late 2014 when they were in their mid-40s as John semi-retired — which was mapped out in a family business succession plan. John still consults for GreenWood. Brad Wood died last year, and Lipscomb purchased 100% of GreenWood.
The COVID-19 pandemic did impact the company. Due to the economic downturn and the financial toll on their clients, GreenWood had to cut about 100 jobs. However, the business has already picked back up. Lipscomb said that GreenWood is planning to rehire approximately 90% of those who were laid off before the end of the year.
The growth and success of the company over the past 30 years, said GreenWood’s president Kevin Crittendon, lies in satisfying the customer and creating a win-win. “It’s just doing business the old-school, right way to do business,” he said.
“Anytime I was out with John [Wood] somewhere around our folks, he would always remind them of these four key objectives: Always work safe, satisfy the customer, make money and have fun,” Crittendon said. “This culture and focus continued on with Brad as president, and it lives on today with Laura. Laura and I intend on passing GreenWood, its successes and values, along to the next generation.”
As the company looks to the future, Lipscomb said the third generation — grandchildren of John Wood — is now beginning to take an interest. While the next generation is mostly still in high school with a couple in college or recently graduated, many have started training in some way to be involved with GreenWood. This forward thinking led to GreenWood being certified as a woman-owned business through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council since the next generation is made up of a majority of young women.
“What my dad learned his whole career and what Brad learned from him, and I learned from both of them, has kept the company going,” said Lipscomb also noting the importance Crittendon has played. “We’re lucky and blessed, for sure, to have been able to continue the business.
“We’re in it for the long haul, and I hope we get another 30 years in,” she said.