A History of the Fisher Brothers
Michigan Construction Hall of Fame Inductees
Ralph J. “R.J.” Fisher Sr. and his wife, Zelda, founded the Fisher Companies in 1925 with the start of their first business, Fisher Sand and Gravel, of Midland, Michigan. The couple managed a small farm, and R.J. began to supplement their income with Teamster work. By World War I, he operated 14 teams of horses to provide hauling and gravel services for the Dow Chemical Company and Midland County. Together, Zelda, R.J. and their sons Arthur “Bill,” James “Jim” and Ralph “Bud” weathered the Great Depression, labor and material shortages, and World War II, in which Bill and Jim served.
Upon Bill and Jim’s return from military service, and Bud’s coming of age, the brothers purchased and continued to grow the business that their parents had established. In the five decades that followed, they would develop the Fisher Companies until, combined, they formed a 400-employee operation with an annual volume of over $100 million.
Upon purchasing the business from their parents, Jim served as President of Fisher Sand & Gravel. To this day, Fisher Sand & Gravel is a leading supplier of ready mix concrete, sand, gravel, and aggregate products throughout the state of Michigan.
The brothers then founded Central Concrete Products in 1955 and Alma Concrete in 1960. With Bud serving as President, the companies provided ready mix concrete, sand and gravel, as well as construction supplies and services, to the Mt. Pleasant and Alma areas. The brothers would later maintain both locations, but merge the companies as Central Concrete for maximum efficiency. In 1957, they further founded Fisher Contracting, with Bill as President, providing construction and heavy civil contracting services to a variety of federal, state, municipal and private clients in the Great Lakes region.
As the years passed, the enterprising brothers would go on to add four more related companies; Fisher Transportation (1970), which originally hauled bulk cement to the brothers’ ready mix plants, but has since grown into a major trucking company, providing construction hauling services throughout mid-Michigan. Next, was Central Asphalt (1982), which Bud served as President, and which offers a full range of asphalt paving services. Then, Bay Aggregates (1983) was founded to supply quarried stone products to the Mid-Michigan area. In 1984, Midland Engine was founded and operates as a high-end machine shop and heavy equipment dealer, with a strong reputation throughout Michigan for its quality sales and service.
Avid fans of outdoor recreation, the brothers later opened Mt. Pleasant’s Bucks Run Golf Club in summer 2000, having developed a championship golf course on the site of a former Fisher Sand and Gravel pit. The brothers also founded numerous joint partnerships, including Alpine Mobile Homes, Fisher Property, Fisher Oil, the River Project, and Judy Land Development.
Highly-respected members of their communities, the Fisher brothers, individually, together or with other family members, made significant contributions to organizations such as The Boy Scouts of America, Rotary Club, Exchange Club, Salvation Army, Bullock Creek School Board, Northwood University, Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Midland Country Club, Associated Builders and Contractors, Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association, Associated General Contractors, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Meals on Wheels, Michigan Ready Mix Concrete Association, Michigan and National Society of Professional Engineers, and the Asphalt Paving Association of Michigan, among many others. Individually or with other family members, the brothers have been honored with multiple honorary and service awards.
Combined, the brothers provided more than 200 years of lifetime service to their families, communities, and the construction industry. They are known for their exemplary integrity, hard work, and respect for their employees, customers and the public.
In the fall of 2012, the brothers were inducted into the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame for their contributions to the construction industry.
Arthur 'Bill' Fisher
Bill – individually or with his wife, Bette – received Junior Achievement Hall of Fame, Rotary Club Paul Harris, Exchange Club Meritorious Service, Midland Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service, Midland Beautification/Dahlia Hill, and Salvation Army Lifetime Achievement Awards. Bill, a retired Army Air Corps Lieutenant, also served as a board member of the First National Bank of Saginaw and as president of the Midland Area Contractors Safety Council. He held an honorary doctorate degree from Northwood University.
James 'Jim' Fisher
Jim – individually or with his wife, Geraldine – received a Bronze Star for his U.S. Army service in Europe during WWII, was a State of Michigan Registered Professional Engineer, and was awarded lifetime membership in the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers. Jim, a retired Army Combat Engineers Captain, served as president of the Bullock Creek School Board and Midland Country Club. He held a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University.
Ralph 'Bud' Fisher, Jr.
Bud – individually or with his wife, Mary Ann – has been awarded honorary membership in the Benefactors Society and Management Fraternity, and received the annual Chamber of Commerce Brehm Tourism Award. Bud also served as the director of First of America Bank from 1980 to 1992, on the Airport Advisory Board from 1979 to 1992, and has been a member of Central Michigan University’s Presidents Club since 1995. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Michigan State University.