KBR rolls out new look as company evolves from blue collar past
A legendary Houston company that built the Gulf Freeway, Rice University’s football stadium and Minute Maid Park has a new look as it continues to evolve from its blue collar past.
KBR has rolled out a new logo, font, motto and website that reflect the growing amount of business that the company receives from government contracts — including some to help the United States return to the moon and even put a man on Mars.
With heavy construction projects making up an ever smaller share of its $4.9 billion in annual revenue, KBR now receives more than 70 percent of its business from government contracts for information technology, cybersecurity and other support services for NASA, the military and various agencies.
“We’re shaking off the shackles of the past in terms of the way people think about us,” the company’s CEO, Stuart Bradie, said in an interview. “We’re very proud of our history, but we’re different now.”
Houston oilfield service company Halliburton bought Brown & Root in December 1962 and later merged it another acquisition, M.W. Kellogg — forming KBR in 1998. The combined company landed several construction and logistics contracts all over the world but those years were not without controversy. Halliburton and KBR received intense public scrutiny for no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars in the aftermath the second Iraq War.
Former vice president Dick Cheney, a proponent of the controversial war, was chief executive of Halliburton before before his election, with former president George Bush in 2000.
Red for blue
KBR became an independent company in April 2007. A dozen years later, KBR is changing its logo, trading in Halliburton’s signature red color and block letters for a blue futuristic font and a multicolored logo that depicts a view from outer space of the sun rising over the Earth. The new logo borrows elements from the old Brown & Root logo, such as globe.
“The globe, the sun and the digitalization now reflect the dynamism of our people,” Bradie said.
KBR publicly displayed its new logo when company executives rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday afternoon.
While KBR continues to land contracts for construction and energy projects, the new look follows a series of behind-the-scenes change in which KBR has become the fastest-growing government services company in the United States. Earlier this week, stock traders reclassified KBR from an engineering, procurement and construction company to an information technology consulting company.
“This is a wholesale change that represents the new KBR,” Bradie said.
KBR’s local roots as an engineering and construction firm go back to 1919. Its Houston-based predecessor company, Brown & Root, made tanks, ammunition depots and ships during World War II and went on to build highways, refineries, pipelines, and offshore oil rigs.
KBR’s 36,000 employees around the world will get updated business cards, coffee mugs, memorial coin and other gifts delivered to their desks on Monday. Later this year, the company’s new logo will be displayed at a Houston Rockets basketball game and at the Houston Texans exhibition football game in London.
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