Many big companies were built on a dream, some resources and plenty of hard work. This can be said of Drummond Company, Inc. which was founded in 1935 by H.E. Drummond. Unlike other coal mining operations that were financed by sophisticated investors, Drummond started by taking out a $300 loan from Walker County Bank in Jasper, Alabama. He used three mules as collateral for the loan.
In 1956, H.E. Drummond passed away and the second generation of Drummond family members headed the company with Don Drummond as President. This time the company was financed through a $50,000 life insurance payment and a $240,000 small business association loan.
During the 1960 to 1970 period the company was able to raise its output from 200,000 annual tons to 1,500,000 annual tons. The firm took the acquisition path to growth by buying Kellerman Mining Co. Drummond also made its first sales agreement with Japan.
A significant contract was clinched by the company in 1976 when it signed a two-million annual-ton contract for 15 years with Alabama Power for Plant Miller. This required the company to make some capital outlays to fulfill the contract that was well worth it. Back on acquisition mode it bought control of ABC Corporation in 1985 to add coke production to its growing range of products and services. The company also bought Perry Supply which is a mining and foundry supply business. It acquired Jasper Oil which offers a full line of petroleum-based products ranging from lubricants and oils to hydraulics and both on-road and off-road fuels.
Today the company continues mining and processing thermal and metallurgical coal. Drummond runs the Shoal Creek underground coal mine in Alabama and the Mina Pribbenow surface coal mine in Columbia (Latin America). The company sells more than 29 million tons of coal annually and has more than 2 billion tons of reserves. The ABC Coke unit is the largest merchant coke producer in the U.S.
Drummond is also in the real estate business. Through joint ventures it has real estate activities in Alabama, Florida and California. It is engaged in residential development and golf courses.
It is sometimes hard to imagine that it all began with a man’s dream and a $300 loan with mules as collaterals.