Mr. Norrell began his career in construction working on projects funded by the federal government.
During a job in Autauga County, Republican party activists came through the site pinning presidential election buttons on workers in support of President Herbert Hoover. The next morning, Mr. Norrell showed up wearing a button for Democratic candidate Al Smith. By nightfall, Mr. Norrell was a private contractor.
A native Alabamian, Mr. Norrell worked with companies including M.S. Morgan, Scott Construction, Harbert-Cargyle and C.J. Kershaw Contracting. In 1946 he received his Alabama contractor’s license, and G.W. Norrell Contracting Company was founded. By 1948 it was recognized as one of the state’s five largest bridge contractors.
Mr. Norrell’s 1962 retirement left sons Grady, James and Louis at the helm. Today, grandson Sonny Norrell and granddaughter Pamela Kearley run the company in the Georgiana office Mr. Norrell built in the 40s.
His contributions to the construction industry include president of the Alabama Road Builders Assoc. in 1958 and leading the organization of the first Alabama Highway Conference.