Wayne Brothers Companies has resurrected a 100+ year old Charlotte, North Carolina company. In 2009, after 98 years in business, operations at Southern Engineering Company (SEC) ceased. A licensed engineer purchased the company, administratively revived it, and changed its name. In February 2020, Wayne Brothers Companies purchased the company and restored the logo and name to honor the company’s rich, local heritage.
Leslie Graham Berry, Sr., founder of SEC, was a pioneer in reinforced concrete engineering. Berry’s most notable achievement was his patent, the “Berry Method”, of constructing reinforced concrete buildings. In 1900, he graduated from North Carolina State University (formally A & M College) with a degree in Civil Engineering. He later taught at NCSU. In 1939, the ninth dormitory on campus, Berry Hall, was named in his honor.
In 1911, SEC was established in Charlotte, North Carolina. SEC provided engineering design and steel fabrication for projects throughout the Southeast. Dubbed Little Pittsburg, SEC was the premier steel fabricator in the Southeast. The company’s products can be found in many major structures around the Charlotte area. SEC produced rolled beams that support the rounded crown of the One Wachovia Center. Its steel skeletons were used to build the Bojangles’ Coliseum and some parts were provided for Duke Energy’s McGuire Nuclear plant on Lake Norman. During the last year of Berry’s life in 1931, he engineered and supervised the building of a Full Scale Wind Tunnel at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. This was the largest in the world at the time and it brought nationwide recognition to Berry and his company.
“We have deep ties to our community. To keep the name and memory alive of a great company was an easy decision”, explains Keith Wayne, President / CEO of Wayne Brothers. “We intend to keep the ‘premier’ SEC roots going.” Southern Engineering now specializes in civil site development, geotechnical solutions, and structural design to support Wayne Brothers’ core construction efforts.