James E. Williams Founder (1952-2006)
Williams Equipment and Supply Company’s roots trace back to New Orleans after World War II. H.S. Fink had founded a construction supply business, and in 1950, the veteran and recent Texas A & M graduate James Williams went to work for him selling to contractors. In 1952 Finke offered Williams a chance to be a partner with him in a new location. Williams moved to Memphis, Tennessee and started Finke and Williams, Inc.
Finke and Williams was the first company in the Mid-South area to sell both equipment and supplies to masonry and concrete contractors. Tubular steel scaffolding was a new item and an immediate hit. Williams soon showed the concrete contractors the Gates Cam-Lok, a single-waler forming system which greatly reduced their lumber costs and sold the first tie wire in small coils which reduces their labor expense.
In 1960 James Williams bought Finke’s stock in the Memphis operation, and the name was changed to Williams Equipment and Supply Company. Over the next several years, Williams Equipment introduced contractors to a number of new innovations and labor-saving supplies and equipment. These included Richmond (now Dayton Superior) “bar lock” couplers for splicing rebar, non-shrink grouts, plastic joint cap for placing sealant over expansion joints, diamond blades, “shooting boom” type forklifts, and concrete slipform pavers.
Moreover, Williams Equipment fundamentally changed the way area contractors did business in two important ways. First, the company pioneered the rental of equipment, which previously had to be purchased. Second, Williams opened branch offices in smaller towns such as Tupelo, Mississippi, and Jackson, Tennessee– places which, heretofore, had been considered too small for a specialty contractor supply business. By packaging a broad range of equipment, supply, and rental products, Williams Equipment gave contractors outside the metropolitan area advantages in price, availability, and local service.
After the death of James Williams in 2006, Gordon McIntyre was elected President and CEO. The 2008 Great Recession was difficult, but Williams Equipment set the stage for future sales growth with the addition of steel-ply forms for pouring concrete walls and many specialty supply lines for infrastructure construction. Over the next 12 years Williams Equipment acquired two companies, greatly expanded the rental fleet and opened new branches. The Memphis Business Journal recognized the company each year as one of the top 100 privately-owned companies based in Memphis and was regularly on the list of Fastest Growing companies.
In 2018 both Williams Equipment and Supply Co. and Williams Equipment and Supply of Louisiana were purchased by Construction Supply Group (CSG) based in Houston, TX. By 2020 CSG was composed of 21 construction supply businesses in the U.S. and Canada and had sales of $1 Billion. That year it was purchased by the New York private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice (CD&R) which also purchased White Cap from HD Supply. White Cap is the largest distributor of construction supplies, jobsite safety items, and electric tools in North America. CD&R owns both CSG and White Cap which are distinct legal entities but operate as one company managed by White Cap. Williams Equipment and Supply retained its name as a division of White Cap. White Cap has continued to grow organically and through acquisitions including Ram Tool in 2022.
Gordon McIntyre was the White Cap Mid-South District Manager until 2023 and was succeeded by Alan E. Carey, Jr. Today, Williams Equipment and White Cap operates 15 locations in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana and offers the broadest range of construction supply products and tools for concrete, rebar, masonry, sitework, drainage, waterproofing, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. The company also represents leading equipment manufacturers including Bobcat and Takeuchi loaders and excavators, Avant loaders, Gomaco concrete paving equipment, and Bandit woodchippers.