The First 100 Years

In 1919, one year after the Virginia General Assembly approved establishing the first state highway system, R.D. Kirkpatrick and W.S. White founded the Richmond Machinery & Equipment Company (RM&E). They must have sensed the road ahead.

In the ensuing years, the Virginia road network grew from 4002 miles in 1918 to over 75,062 in the year 2015. In 1910 it is recorded that there were 2705 vehicles registered in the state, by 2015 the number had exploded to over 7.2 million. Today, VDOT operates the third-largest state-maintained highway system in the country, just behind North Carolina and Texas. 

Changing with the times

Joseph “Bonnie” Colley began working at RM&E as a parts runner in 1955. In subsequent years, he became its parts department manager, a sales representative, and the sales manager. In 1977 he was named a vice president, in 1982 its president, and ultimately, in 1984 he purchased the company.

Bonnie Colley

Much of RM&E’s growth came under Bonnie Colley’s direction. As the business and economic conditions changed, new lines were added, and new markets developed. The size of the staff grew, and the depth of RM&E’s client list and sales expanded.

Since moving to 1701 Roseneath Road, just off the Boulevard in midtown Richmond (Scott’s Addition), the company has purchased adjacent lots and expanded its facilities to cover half of a city block.

The next generation

RM&E’s C.E.O and President, Mike Colley, started full-time with the company after graduating from Emory & Henry in 1982. Like his father, he began in the parts department, worked his way up through service, then sales.

Bonnie and Mike Colley

Decades of close customer contact prepared Mike well for taking over the reins. “Understanding the intricacies of the work our customers are doing,” says Colley, “helps us pinpoint systems and equipment that maximize their productivity and profits.”

Investing in people

RM&E is a small, close-knit business. The fact that many of the folks who work here come and stay long-term tells you two things: First, we enjoy and believe in what we’re doing. And second, we are invested in creating real, solid relationships with our clients.

Our Virginia regional sales team includes Mitch Colley, VP of Sales, serving Richmond; Mike Boyle, serving Tidewater; Austin Phelps, serving Northern Virginia; Andrew Sturtz, serving the Valley; Will Turner, serving Southwest Virginia.

Other team members include John Gorman, Parts Manager; Joe Carter, Brett Corbin; and Jesse Ransom, Parts Staff; Dottie Shook, Warranty Administrator; Jennifer Carter, Treasurer; and Chelsea Shook, Administrative Assistant.

In product support are Heath Elliott, Service Manager, and his staff, including technicians Craig Newcomb, William Humphrey, Jeff Dawson, Ricky Trainham, Jacob Stedman, David Carroll, and Billy Brooks.

Staying ahead of the curve

“We’re always looking for ways to improve all aspects of our business,” says Mike Colley. “Ideas contributed by contractors, manufacturers, buyers, and our own team keep RM&E vibrant and ahead of the curve.”

“We take great pride in what we do,” says Colley. “Our equipment has paved countless miles of Virginia’s asphalt—from driveways to superhighways—every job we are involved in, every customer we do business with, is important.

RM&E caters to everyone in the road construction and maintenance business, from the veteran contractor to those just starting. We establish relationships with the hope to serve and grow with a customer as they grow. It is those long-term, close relationships that have made RM&E so successful.

“We like to say we work for a living,” explains Mike Colley. “That means we do whatever it takes. Whether it’s researching a need, finding a way to finance a new purchase, or locating a hard-to-find part—we’re here to serve individual people, 24/7. That’s how you stay in a competitive business like this for a century.”

Copyright 2024
Richmond Machinery & Equipment Company.
All rights reserved.