While WASCO has been shaping skylines for almost 50 years, our foundations in masonry excellence reach back to the mid-1800s.
W.G. Bush founded his masonry company, W.G. Bush & Co., in 1867. Bush’s masons were a primary force in rebuilding the devastation that the Civil War had wreaked across the South. With a base in Nashville, W.G. Bush & Co. was instrumental in establishing the city as a major manufacturing center.
The company’s work helped recreate Nashville and the surrounding area, with many structures still in active use. Structures across the Vanderbilt University campus, the historic Ryman Auditorium, and the Downtown Presbyterian Church were signature projects, and are highlights of the turn-of-the-century building boom that solidified Nashville’s reputation as “the Athens of the South.”
Building on the on the strength of W.G Bush's success, the Bush Building Company began business in 1890. The company was founded and led by W.G Bush’s son-in-law T.L. Herbert and his wife Agatha Sneed. Sneed’s nephew, William Bush Sneed, joined the company in 1892, and would gradually advance from bookkeeper to the position of Bush Building Company's president. By 1931, W.B Sneed had become the company's owner.
As building materials evolved and diversified throughout the first half of the 20th century, Bush's exceptional engineering and design knowledge allowed the company to excel in installing materials ranging from native Tennessee limestone and brick to concrete block, marble and granite. As the 1950s dawned and W.B Sneed’s sons grew into the family’s business, Bush Building Co. continued to advance on the leading edge of new construction techniques.
Bush Building Co. lead the building industry’s adoption of building with precast concrete panels, combining advanced understanding of new materials with the craftsmanship and discipline on which the company’s reputation had grown.
In the mid 1960s, third-generation manager W.A. Sneed founded WASCO to offer more advanced concrete forming and pouring as part of its service package. In 1977, he and Bush Building Company associates Paul Marsh and Bradford Procter refashioned WASCO as a masonry subcontractor and made it their full-time pursuit.
W.A. (Andy) Sneed Jr. joined the firm soon thereafter, later moving WASCO into its second generation with the passing of his father in 1997. As co-founder, past president, and current Chairman of the Board Bradford Procter prepares to retire, his son and current WASCO project manager Brian Procter will carry his family's role forward. President/CEO Andy Sneed's sons, Adam and W.A. Sneed III, have been similarly equipped to propel the family name and business well into the 21st century.
WASCO’s signature craftsmanship and attention to detail would go on to change the city’s skyline forever with landmark buildings such as CMT’s network headquarters, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, First American Bank, St. Thomas Midtown Medical Office Building, office buildings in nearby suburb Cool Springs, and Fifth Third Tower in Nashville.
Knoxville, Tennessee’s third largest city, provided the stage on which WASCO’s next major expansion began. Bush Building Company had first come to town in the 1960s to build the handsome, off-campus high-rise for married University of Tennessee students, as well as West Town Mall, the city's first major suburban shopping complex.
In 1982, growth in the Queen City began in earnest as W.A. (Andy) Sneed began travelling east to establish a presence there. High-visibility projects refurbishing such beloved landmarks as the Tennessee Theatre, downtown's splendid, pink marble-clad United States Post Office and Courthouse, and the Crab Orchard sandstone, Gothic Revival-styled Church Street United Methodist Church helped WASCO make a name for itself in Knoxville. Too, as all of these properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the work was proof positive that WASCO’s restoration services could compete on a national stage.
Throughout the ‘90s, WASCO’s local presence and expertise led to involvement with some of the area’s most visible architectural landmarks, including UTK’s Thompson-Boling Arena, Robert E. White indoor football facility, the orange-floor-tiled Anderson Training Center, Taylor Law Center, Haslam (formerly Gloecker) School of Business, and major college buildings for the Nursing, Science, and Biology departments.
Having gained a favorable reputation in Knoxville while involved in UT projects, WASCO has since grown to serve the entire multi-county region, coming alongside trusted local general contractors to build numerous area hospitals, schools, hotels and shopping malls with an experienced, locally sourced labor force sufficiently stable to attract the sons of longtime employees.
In 2013, when WASCO's tradesmen began work on the corporate office building for Knoxville-based SouthEast Bank, they were taking part in a unique collaboration. The four-story structure's striking, classic exterior was the result of a joint venture undertaken by WASCO and respected local plastering contractor Southern Stucco. For the first time in the 30-plus years that both companies had been active in the Knoxville region, the two worked in tandem, fashioning a novel exterior that married traditional brick and stone work with a custom-fabricated veneer exclusive to Southern Stucco.
Later in 2015, Andy Sneed and Shawn Gallant met Southern Stucco co-founder Barry Jenkins. As men of vision whose faith-based philosophy undergirds every decision affecting their customers, projects, and workforce, Sneed, Gallant and Jenkins discovered substantial common ground between them. This included a shared goal of offering contractors a lightweight, fully integrated envelope—one for which they would collectively assume single-source responsibility.
The shared vision for what the two could offer owners led to a merger agreement. The two firms worked out the details of a merge over the ensuing months, and Southern Stucco's Willow Avenue building became the Knoxville headquarters for the expanded WASCO in the summer of 2016.
Throughout WASCO's history, the legacy of craftsmanship and responsibility established by W.G. Bush Co., Bush Building Company, and Southern Stucco has endured. WASCO has thrived by staying true to methods and ethics from more than a century of building in the American South, journeying from the tradesman brick mason assuring quality by casting his own bricks onsite to the wide-ranging expertise and direct services of today's WASCO.
When all is said and done, though, lasting quality in building comes from the hands of individuals working with the materials of construction.
"This fundamental aspect of our trade," says Andy Sneed, "is the tradition of five generations for us. Tradesmen and craftsmen are our heritage as well as our foundation for success today and in years to come."
Day in and day out, WASCO's professionals can be relied upon to ply their trade with the same care and commitment to excellence upon which the family-founded company itself was built—brick by brick.