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Bray Sheet Metal Company: it's a family affair.

Mary Simmons' grandfather, William Carson Bray Sr., started Bray Sheet Metal in the early 1920s in the shop behind his house at 1508 Scott Street in Little Rock. Today Simmons is president of the company, which has 35 full-time employees and services accounts as far away as New Jersey and Wisconsin.

Bray's operations are still located on Scott Street, but the house Simmons grew up in now serves as the company's corporate offices. Additional land purchases have increased the plant operations to 7,000 square feet.

Simmons became president of the national operation six years ago. Before that her father, Carson, and her uncle Warren Bray, ran the business. Over the last 26 years Simmons has worked for the company, she's watched it grow.

"The company started out as a roofing and sheet metal company," says Simmons. "It went from that, in the '50s, to specializing in paper mill work, air systems for paper mills."

In addition to the air duct work for paper mills that takes Bray's work crews all over the United States, the company does all types of roofing, including slate, tile and metal roofing and general sheet metal work.

"We recently completed a beautiful new slate roof for St. Edward's Catholic Church," says Simmons.


Air systems for paper mills keep Bray work crews traveling to all parts of the United States, while steady, on-site crews are maintained with major clients such as International Paper in Pine Bluff, Arkansas Kraft in Morrilton, and Georgia Pacific in Crossett.

Bray's specialization in the fabrication and installation of all types of industrial air systems includes HVAC systems, PV systems, false ceilings, paper machine hoods and panels, installation of fiberglass hood and duct work, entry doors, shaft guards and belt guards. From design, material selection, fabrication and installation to final inspection, each project is carefully monitored by skilled, qualified personnel to assure that the customer's specifications are met or surpassed.

All fabrication of materials takes place in the shop and then is trucked to the different paper mills and installed by field crews.

"It's very difficult to compare Bray with other sheet metal shops, mainly because we do specialize in the paper mill industry," says Simmons. "So many of your other sheet metal shops do generalized duct work in commercial type buildings, while ours deals with much larger sized duct fabricated for an industrial environment."

Something new to Bray is HVAC service work. With the addition of a qualified technician, who has 36 years experience in air conditioning service, Bray will now have the capabilities to service paper mills, as well as residential and commercial accounts.

Simmons emphasizes the importance of Bray personnel, some of whom have been with the company as long as 20 years.

"That's what this company is all about. We have an outstanding group of people. I guess that's what's unique about this business. I'm not hands on with the sheet metal portion of it yet everyone knows what they're supposed to do and everyone's important."
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Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Aug 16, 1993
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