Robert "Rab" Summers
2006 Honorary Alumni
Robert “Rab” Summers has been in the road building industry since May 12, 1946. Born into the industry and family the same day, he is the third generation in a company that was started in 1932. Lines R. Taylor, Summers' grandfather, had a vision of quality workmanship and reasonable price when he became the 69 th firm licensed to serve the State of Tennessee on important construction projects.
Robert W. Summers joined his father after World War II and formed Summers-Taylor, Inc. which still flourishes today with the third generation owner, a.k.a. Rab Summers. Keeping his grandfather's and father's legacy intact, Summers is the Chairman of the Board and President of Summers-Taylor, Inc., and he has elevated the business. Summers-Taylor, Inc. is currently the largest heavy and highway construction contractor in Northeast Tennessee.
Summers is the first to admit that being the third generation owner of a dominant business is not easy. “Our reputation for delivering quality work has been built for three generations and six decades,” says Summers. Keeping these standards has paid off for Summers. He received the national Nello L. Teer Award in 1998, at the American Road and Transportation Builders Association annual meeting Summers was the first Tennessean to win this award. The award is given annually to honor a highway contractor who has made outstanding contributions to both the Association and the transportation construction industry as a whole.
Holding true to the values taught to him by his forefathers, Summers does not just take pride in his business, but in his community as well. Summers-Taylor Inc. takes leadership roles in civic and non-profit organizations such as the Elizabethton Library, Hands On Museum, the United Way , Johnson City Medical Center Cancer Treatment Center and East Tennessee State University as well as many others across the region.
Summers also has taken a “hands-on” approach to his industry. He serves as the vice president of the Tennessee Road Builders Association and is a board member to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. In addition Summers is a trustee to Tusculum College , member of Tennessee Prevailing Wage Commission, and director of Tennessee Business Roundtable.
Past memberships include: ETSU Foundation board of directors, President of Hands On Museum, Chairman of Johnson City Regional Planning Commission, Sequoyah Council Scouts of America and President of Tennessee Asphalt Paving Association.
Summers graduated from Duke University in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, and a Master in Business Administration from Emory University in 1970. When Summers is not working he can be found attending ETSU basketball games or on the golf course.