John Loflin Cornell joined the United States Marine Corps in 1942, where he transitioned from running a team of mules in Paducah, Texas to running a bulldozer in the South Pacific. After seven campaigns, he returned to Texas to perform conservation work on the Four Sixes Ranch. In 1956, John moved to Oklahoma to build soil conservation dams. Cornell Construction performed grading and drainage work for highways in the 1960s and purchased its first asphalt plant in 1970. The second generation, John R. Cornell, became President in 1994 and the third generation, John Lee Cornell, became President in 2016. The company is headquartered in Clinton, Oklahoma and is continuing its high quality work in grading, drainage, and asphalt paving.