In the beginning, before there was a family business, Robert Lawrence Connelly – Bob Sr. – started working as a carpenter in Atlanta for Fred Dempsey (The very first Atlanta Home Builders President). Bob Sr. did many various construction jobs and eventually moved into subcontracting. His commitment to quality and plainspoken honesty formed the basis of his business.
During 1966-1967, Bob Sr. and Margaret, his wife and partner, decided to start their own company. Bob had already been working as a framing contractor and decided to take it to the next level, incorporating the business as R.L. Connelly & Sons, Inc. The Connelly family was in business building quality custom homes.
Margaret took care of all correspondence, billing, payroll, accounting, etc. while she raised the family. She was the voice that answered the phone while Bob Sr. was out working on the job sites.
Bob Jr. doesn’t remember the first time he swung a hammer: “There’s a difference between swinging one and actually hitting something with it!” By the time Bob Jr. had completed high school, he had spent most of his summers working for his father, running the framing crews himself. “in fact I became a summertime employment agency for my friends. I’d hire four or five of them to work with me over the long hot Atlanta summers.”
Bob Jr. enjoyed working in the field and running the framing crew, but he wanted something more than to work all day in the hot sun. After high school, he decided to attend Georgia Institute of Technology and study architecture. There he learned the language of the architects and designers. In the late sixties, love and war intervened, and Bob’s studies were interrupted. Bob eventually returned from the Army and resumed working with his father, now married.
Keith, Bob Jr.’s younger brother by eight years, joined the family business also. For many years Keith, Bob and their father worked together in the field. “We started working when we started walking” Keith says.
Over the years the company continued to prosper, building their reputation as a respected firm with a commitment to honesty and integrity. Bob Jr. gradually moved into management while Keith maintained supervision in the field. After many successful years, Bob Sr. decided to retire in the early 90’s. “Dad did an excellent job of stepping back allowing me to gradually take over the business. Several years before his retirement he had let go of all major decisions and watched me run things.”
Bob Jr. officially became president of the company, and in 1999, Keith started his own company focused on north Georgia clients. R.L. Connelly & Sons became R.L. Connelly & Company.
From a father’s humble start as a carpenter to the current family of builders and small business owners, the history of the company is intertwined with Southern quality, honesty, and a commitmentment to the client, “Being a family business, there’s more than just a name on the line,” says Bob, “It’s our last name.”