Memory of the Month: GEICO, a groundbreaking company

By on July 24, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Posted in: Working at GEICO


Each month, we share an image from GEICO’s past and invite you to exercise your caption-writing skills.

On this very day, 57 years ago, GEICO’s founder, Leo Goodwin, sank a shovel into the earth to begin (symbolically, at least) construction of the building that would become GEICO’s new headquarters. With his business steadily growing since Day One in 1937, Goodwin and his management team had determined that the various Washington, D.C., buildings that had housed GEICO’s operations for 20 years would no longer suffice.

No, the company needed some elbow room in which to handle the business of its half a million policyholders, and found it just outside the D.C. line, on a 27.45-acre tract of prime Montgomery County, Md., real estate. There, not long after this photo was shot, construction began on a state-of-the-art 600,000-s.f. office building that would open two years later, in 1959.

Goodwin would not be involved in many more major decisions about the company. Within a year of this groundbreaking ceremony, Goodwin announced his retirement at age 72. Having made the decision to move his company out of Washington, he and his wife, Lillian, then decided to move themselves away from the Nation’s Capital as well.

But they didn’t stop at one of the adjacent states. They lived out their retirement years in the warmth and sunshine of Florida. And much later, having grown to more than six times the size it was in 1957, GEICO followed its founder to the Sunshine State in 1996, by opening an office in Lakeland.