John H. Pettit was born in Ellicottville, New York and later moved to Grantsville in Western Maryland in the 1950s. After the Korean War, he graduated from Strayer Business College.
John Pettit worked for J. Wesley Buchanan & Company—a home building company—before founding his own business, Pettit & Griffin, Inc. in 1963, which became one of the area’s most well-known companies for taking pride in building affordable housing.
Pettit & Griffin, Inc. was incorporated in March 1963 by John H. Pettit (john) and Howard D. Griffin (Dave) as a land development, residential home building, and light commercial building company. John and Dave started their first single-family home project on April 1, 1963. With six employees at the start, they concentrated in Prince George’s County, and developed over 850 units in their first 10 years in business.
In 1976, Howard D. Griffin passed away. He sold his stock from the business due to an illness in 1972. Being a stoic and highly intelligent man, Dave’s contribution to Pettit & Griffin, Inc. was paramount in the success of the business. Over the next 20 years, the company grew into one of the premier mid-size development companies in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Annual sales reached $25 million with over 120 employees in 1989.
In the early 1990s, operations were scaled back due to a downturn in the economy. In 1994, John H. Pettit passed away unexpectedly from heart complications. John is sorely missed by countless people who speak of him as a generous and philanthropic land developer, who never lost touch with the needs of a growing community.
During his lifetime John Pettit established the Pettit Family Charitable Foundation. This Foundation serves to provide financial support to organization that provide housing and basics necessities to those in need the county. Still in operation today, Pettit Family Charitable Foundation will continue operating well into the future by John’s surviving children and grand children.
John Pettit was survived by his four children, Richard B. Pettit, J. Stephen Pettit, Barbara L. Pettit, and Jeanne M. Pettit who were all active in the business over the years. Richard Pettit, John’s eldest son, became President and CEO of Pettit & Griffin and its affiliated businesses.
In June 2003, Pettit & Griffin restructured its hierarchy of partnerships and businesses and became known as Pettit Companies.
Today, Pettit Companies is in its third generation with nearly 20 employees. Pettit Companies has two business divisions
• Pettit Development, LLC offers full-service land development and excavation services to residential home builders across the DC metropolitan area, including some of the area’s most well-known and largest volume builders.
• Pettit Management Services, Inc. offers full-service property management and leasing services for its commercial retail, office, flex, and warehouse properties as well as commercial condominium association and business management for its related businesses.