Our Story...



This is Our Story, Together.

Trusted. Dependable. Genuine. These are words often used to describe our products, and it’s true. However, these qualities are not the secret to our success; it’s our people. Those we employ, those who we serve, and our trusted industry partners. After all, our commitment to a future of sustainable building solutions for cities and neighborhoods across North America is possible only through their commitment to us and the diversity and skillsets they bring to our organization and culture.

This is our identity. This is our mission. This is our story, together.

“I had never felt so comfortable at a job interview.  Everyone was so welcoming. Three years later and it’s more than what I was hoping for. The company is great at cultivating a supportive environment. I have confidence in knowing we are working toward the same goal. Being a leader in your industry is appealing and our focus is being the best at what we do and to share our culture. That becomes very helpful in recruiting quality candidates.”

Diana Duquette

Human Resources Coordinator

Corporate – Johnson City, TN

3 1/2 Years

“I was a welder in the coal mines early on in my career where I learned electrical work. By the time I was hired by General Shale as a welder, they needed an electrician. Soon after, I moved into the automation department building panels for the plant robots. The experience was invaluable to me. Before you know it I had a laptop and was programming equipment for plants across the country. I’ve seen ups and downs in my 20 years but General Shale takes care of you.”

Charles "Bubba" Cox

Robotics Technician

20 Years

“My goal was to have a true, authentic looking English countryside kitchen. I immediately knew I needed to have brick as the finishing touch on the space. General Shale from the beginning supported my creative vision and it’s why I love sharing and talking about this company with my audience.  I’m such a people person and quality of product isn’t the most important thing. There’s still another half to the product and it’s the people behind. Among all the companies I’ve worked with, this has been the most enjoyable.”

Tori Donahue

Interior Designer & Horticulturist

Pennsylvania | 6 Years

“It’s simple. It looks complicated, but once you learn it, it’s simple. I like working for General Shale because of the people and they pay well. They’re just all-around good guys. [Before I got into this position] I wanted to be a lead and continue to grow. I talked to my supervisor about it and the next thing you know it happened. I like what I do and I think they do too.”

Tyler Espinoza

Plant Lead, 2ND Shift

Spring City, TN Plant

9 Years

“I ended up moving to Roanoke to find a role with a stable schedule and work hours. [When researching General Shale] I just thought the diversity of everything was a really intriguing. The company has it’ own language. Even though I had a lot to learn quickly, Katie Craig took me under her wings and kept telling me ‘it will all click in your time.’ And it did! Even in a short time, I’ve recognized an authenticity to this industry. We are literally taking dirt from the earth and creating something special, and I think that has a lot to do with why we have people that work really hard but who are also great people. There are companies where the perception and expectations are not reality, but General Shale is different. These are people who know what it takes because they’ve been doing it for 20 years or more. It’s incredibly important.

Catherine Balsley

Office Administrator

Roanoke, VA Plant

1 1/2 Years

“One of my buddies worked here and said it was a good job and that I should try it out. After a while, I wanted to learn more to move up and I’ve been training in other departments. I went to school to try to move up in life and you’ve got to work hard. General Shale supports hard work.  After all, what we make provides a place for people to live and go to school. It has to be right.

Josh Lamb

Packaging Lead – Weekends

Spring City, TN Plant

3  Years

“I was impressed with General Shale when I met them during a recruiting event, and I fell in love with the industry once I learned the design aspect of it. It can be challenging as a female in the industry, but the support system is unique at General Shale. Leadership and guidance are always available when needed, but you have to be self driven. It’s reassuring to look around and relate to individuals who have been with the company for over 20 years, while managing family, marriage, and the demands of daily life. That says a lot to me.”

Torie Kelly

Outside Sales Representative

Tri-Cities, TN

3  1/2 Years

“In the place I worked before, it was in a big city of hustle and bustle. Not everyone was warm or overly friendly. But when I came to General Shale, everyone took me in like family. The guys I work with now I have worked with for almost 20 years. It makes my job easier, too, because we know each other professionally and what we can do and expect. My biggest takeaway about the company is everyone here is very smart.  We don’t have people who do half a job. The people really seem to care about what they do and how they want to keep the company successful. I really appreciate that and it backs up the fact that we are the leader in what we do.”

Mike Downing

Network Support Assistant
Corporate – Johnson City, TN
18 years

“When this plant opened, they needed a shipping supervisor.  A friend working here encouraged me to apply and I thought, ‘I don’t know anything about loading trucks and forklifts but I’m a hard worker’ and I’ve been doing it ever since. I enjoy it. It’s challenging but I’m up for it. One thing that is so interesting to me is General Shale’s upper management is interested in what I do and the daily successes we have at our plant. They make sure they’ve acknowledged a job well done and that’s nice.

Kelly Harbaugh

Shipping Supervisor

Terre Haute, IN Plant

14 Years

“I like to switch up designs. Without brick a house can look two-dimensional. General Shale has a lot of variation in product that makes it helpful when designing our homes. I know General Shale is now the biggest brick manufacturer but it doesn’t feel like it. They are still very relational and easy to communicate with. Whether it’s a delivery or sales question, if there’s an issue, General Shale listens.”

Kyle Hicks

Hicks Construction Co.

Residential Custom & Spec

Home Builder

“Years ago you only had three to five choices of brick. I am amazed at how General Shale’s growth has enabled them to use their resources to provide for the needs of the customer. The building industry is complex, and we have more houses being built now than ever. General Shale listens to our needs, understands our concerns, and makes changes to help our business.”

Tim Hicks

Hicks Construction Co.

Residential Custom & Spec

Home Builder

General Shale is helping to bring us into the future. On the commercial side, it’s incredible to be part of such a lengthy process that requires so many people to work together. To nurture that process and see it in the end – that’s incredible! It’s nice to remind people that this is an enduring industry and product that has a very rich history.”

Rick Goss

Architectural Sales Manager


40 Years

“I’ve watched General Shale grow through the years…and no other manufacturer has offered the resources like they have in the market. Their products and people have always been number one in my book. And we’re all family [in this industry]. There are times I’ve worked with competitors to get them things they need if its right for a brick customer. It is a very satisfying feeling when you help a customer see a project through.”

Clint Hale

District Sales Manager


25 Years

“I had a personal connection to General Shale through my family and I had always heard positive things about the company. When I came in, I instantly loved it. The culture is wonderful and it’s great to see the company growing through acquisitions. Even though we’re the largest now, it still has a small-company feel. Leadership makes a point to remember your name and congratulate the team when we have a record day.”

Shannon Hazelwood

Inside Sales Representative

Roanoke, VA Plant

5 1/2 Years

“As a young professional I was looking for an opportunity to work in an environment where I could grow and take steps up. I wanted to find a place where I could have influence and make an impact. General Shale has offered me a platform to voice my ideas and be creative. The company recognizes that what you are doing makes a difference, and they see value in the position you hold. And for me personally, it’s very satisfying to work for an organization that supports trade-skills having grown up in that environment.”

Nick Forsberg

Manager of Digital Marketing & Sustainability

Corporate – Johnson City, TN

2 Years

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