Location: Florham Park, NJ
President and CEO
In 1927, Linda Gardner’s grandfather, Larry Gardner, saw a need to provide local distribution of construction materials for underground utilities. “Before that time, the sales were handled by large national manufacturers,” says Linda Gardner. “The concept of local distributors was new, and was based on employing local residents and stocking inventory locally.” She joined the Brent Material Company in the 1980s as an outside sales person, calling on contractors, visiting jobsites, attending bid openings and looking into projects at engineers’ offices.
Quick Tip: “We try to make the workplace a positive place to spend your day. Any chance we get to celebrate an employee’s birthday or a special moment, we take the time as a team and have a Brent Material-sponsored lunch.”
Gardner worked closely with both her father and grandfather at Brent Material for several years. “With my father’s unexpected death in January 2011, the thought never crossed my mind of doing anything other than continuing the family business with the same standards and philosophies my father and grandfather had,” she says.
“As I took over the reins as president and CEO, it was a huge transition. But thanks to the training and mentoring of my father and grandfather, I knew I was prepared,” says Gardner. “Today, I am proud to say we are bigger and stronger than any time in our history, thanks in large part to our dedicated employees.” Within her first two years in the CEO role, Gardner moved the company into an updated office space, upgraded its accounting and inventory tracking software, and made several key hires.