Like so many success stories of business beginnings, this one started in a basement. In Richfield, Minn., in 1946, George Adolfson launched a residential construction company and shortly thereafter was introduced to Gordon Peterson, a civil engineer. Together, they established Adolfson & Peterson Construction (AP).
Starting small and blossoming quickly, initial projects included sidewalks and fireplaces, swiftly moving to complete masonry homes. By 1950. commercial jobs outpaced residential projects, and AP gave itself advantages with innovations such as winterizing processes on job sites, allowing its crews to work through the year, while other contractors halted during the cold season.
This competitive edge, along with strong family bonds that weave through the history of the company, have given AP the strength to weather storms and triumph.
"We exclusively build things we believe are going to make our communities better," says Tom Horsting, senior vice president for the construction firm. Projects range from educational facilities to health-care complexes to municipal buildings and commercial developments, tapping into senior living markets as well.
In 1980, AP's second office opened in Denver, followed by several more across the country. "Colorado was appealing. It had so much to offer, from the mountains to its economic viability." Horsting says. Today, headquarters remain in Minnesota, though the Colorado office represents AP's largest region, with 193 employees.
Strong principles guide AP, including courtesy and respect for employees. Because funds were tight in the years following the economic turmoil of the Great Depression, AP made meals available to its team members starting shortly after launch.
"Our office kitchens are fully stocked to supply breakfast, lunch and even dinner if needed," Horsting says. "This tradition was an important part of our founding and we strive to keep it alive."
Another tradition is gifting employees with holiday meals each Christmas season to share with their loved ones. Initially the company hand-delivered a turkey to each employee, but with a current workforce of 529, every person now receives grocery gift cards.
"People come to stay at AP," Horsting says, noting he started in 1985; the chief estimator began his career at AP as an intern and the director of field operations worked his way up from a teenage laborer.
Adolfson hired Denny Pherson in 1965 after he learned...