Alabama Academy of Honor


Magnus Miller Gorrie

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in August 2006.



Miller Gorrie is among Alabama's most successful and respected businessmen. Under his leadership, Brasfield & Gorrie has evolved into one of the nation's top domestic general building contractors with annual revenues in 2006 approaching $2 billion and 2,800 employees servicing clients in twenty-three states.

Gorrie was born in Birmingham on October 20,1935, to Magnus James M.J. and Margaret Miller Gorrie. In 1943, IBM transferred his father to New York, but the family moved back to Birmingham a few years later, and Gorrie graduated from Shades Valley High School in 1953. Earning money from a paper route and later from summer construction jobs, Gorrie saved his money and invested in IBM stock, a wise decision that would provide the nest egg to finance his business a decade later. After graduating from Auburn University in 1957, Gorrie served in the U.S. Navy's Civil Engineering Corps. After his discharge in 1960, he returned home, worked in various areas of the building industry, and in 1964 purchased the construction assets of Thomas C. Brasfield who had begun a small construction company in Birmingham in 1921. For three years, Gorrie operated the company under the name of Thomas C. Brasfield, but in 1967 he decided to change the name. By that time, Gorrie was so identified with the company that he could have dropped the Brasfield name altogether, but he believed the business and the name had meant a great deal to the Brasfield family. Although Tom Brasfield was never directly associated with Gorrie's company, the new name, nevertheless, became Brasfield & Gorrie.

Under Gorrie's leadership, the company grew steadily throughout the 1960s and 70s with the construction of small office buildings, schools, churches, industrial plants, and hospitals. In 1977, Gorrie expanded his company into wastewater and water treatment work. In the 1980s, condominium construction along Alabama's coast and the Florida Panhandle pushed the company to a new level. Expanding into new geographical markets, offices were established in Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, and Raleigh. Among its many noteworthy construction projects were the concrete frame for the Georgia Dome, the Bell South Headquarters in Nashville, and the Georgia Aquarium. The company was ranked the largest healthcare company in the nation five out of the last nine years.

Gorrie serves on numerous boards including Colonial Properties Trust, ACIPCO, Metropolitan Development Board, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Alabama Symphony, McWane Center Foundation, and UAB Civil Engineering Board of Visitors. He previously served on the boards of AmSouth Bank, Business Council of Alabama, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Medical Center East Foundation, Baptist Medical Centers Foundation, Auburn Building Science Advisory Board, UAB President's Council, and Samford University Board of Overseers. Gorrie and his wife Frances founded a school in Atlanta to serve children with learning disabilities, and served as board chairman for fourteen years.

Gorrie was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 1997, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 2002, the Birmingham Business Hall of Fame-Downtown Kiwanis Club in 2003, and the Alabama AGC Construction Hall of Fame in 2004. He was awarded the Cornerstone Award by the Association of Builders and Contractors for Lifetime Achievement in the Construction Industry in 1998 and the Auburn Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. He was recently honored by the naming of the M. Miller Gorrie Construction Center to be dedicated on the Auburn University campus on October 20, 2006, and made possible by a lead gift from Brasfield & Gorrie employees.

Miller and Frances Gorrie have three children: Ellen Gorrie Walker (husband Jim Walker), Magnus James Gorrie II (wife Alison), and John Miller Gorrie; and five grandchildren, Frances Ellen, Virginia Knapp (Ginny), and William; Magnus Miller II (Mills) and Alison Bradford (Alie B.) Gorrie.