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OUR HISTORY SPANS 80 YEARS: 1934-2014.

WE’VE LEARNED A THING OR TWO OVER THE YEARS.

Our slide show offers a quick historical overview featuring our people and our projects. Or scroll down for a more detailed timeline of Story Construction milestones.
1930s

  • 1934 – James Thompson moves to Ames, Iowa, with his sons, Russell and Kenneth, to start the construction firm of James Thompson & Sons. In March 1934, they acquire their first project, the Calmar Creamery in Calmar, Iowa.

  • 1936 – The Thompsons build several post offices and schools before getting their first project at then-named Iowa State College in 1936. The project is the construction of Roberts Hall, a residence hall for female students.

  • 1937 – Moore Bros. Dairy Building is built by Thompson & Sons. It still anchors the corner of Fifth and Clark Streets in Ames, Iowa.

  • 1938 – Tama High School, the first monolithic concrete school of its kind in Iowa, is built by Thompson & Sons. Also, the Thompsons establish a partnership agreement with father and sons serving as equal partners.


1940s

  • 1940 – Floyd County Courthouse in Charles City, Iowa, is built by Thompson & Sons.

  • 1942 – Davidson Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, Iowa, is built by Thompson & Sons.

  • 1944 – World War II changes the construction landscape. James Thompson & Sons constructs a series of hemp mills in central Iowa for the federal government’s War Hemp industries, as well as airfields in Missouri.

  • 1945 – Wall Lake Popcorn Factory in Wall Lake, Iowa, is built by Thompson & Sons.

  • 1949 – Metallurgy Building at Iowa State University is built by Thompson & Sons.


1950s

  • 1950 – Spedding Hall is completed at Iowa State University, winning Thompson & Sons its second Award of Merit from the Atomic Energy Commission for a safety record of zero lost-time accidents during construction. The $2 million building housed the Commission's research program.

  • 1951 – James Thompson & Sons incorporates.


1960s

  • 1960 – Thompson & Sons moves into a 2,500-square-foot office addition at 222 East Third Street in Ames. Principal tools of construction are artistically portrayed in the entry way mural – including a plumb bob, steel beam, carpenter’s square, saw and masonry brick. The mural was designed by Superintendent of Construction Woodrow Buck.

  • 1960s – Several phases of the Northcrest Retirement Community in Ames, Iowa, are completed throughout the decade.

  • 1961 – Russell Thompson is tragically killed in a car-train accident while traveling to a jobsite. Later that year, the Thompsons decide to offer stock ownership to non-family employees.

  • 1966-1969 – Towers Residence Complex at Iowa State University is built by Thompson & Sons. General Superintendent Woody Buck develops a “flying forms” concrete process to efficiently build the cantilevered concrete floors.

  • 1967 – Thompson & Sons completes the parking ramp at the ISU Memorial Union.

  • 1968 – James Thompson, founding father of Story Construction, dies.


1970s

  • 1970 – Kenneth Thompson retires and James Thompson & Sons becomes totally owned by five employee stockholders: Woodrow Buck, Ted Heggen, Norman Riis, Dean Porath and Dick Johnson. Declaring a commitment of management and ownership by key employees, stock is sold to several additional employees, including some working in Story’s field operations—a unique concept at the time.

  • 1971 – Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University is built by Thompson & Sons.

  • 1972 – The company decides to diversify its services and split into three companies: James Thompson & Sons Development (specializing in land development), Gray Real Estate and Allen Construction (focusing on the residential market).

  • 1976 – Subsequent restructuring creates STORY CONSTRUCTION to focus on “merit-shop” commercial and industrial construction.

  • 1976 – Thompson & Sons completes the Veterinary Medicine Complex at Iowa State University.


1980s

  • 1980 – Story identifies water and wastewater treatment plants as an Iowa market dominated by non-Iowa companies. Story receives its first contract for a wastewater treatment plant in Pella, Iowa.

  • 1982 – Story Construction purchases the assets of James Thompson & Sons, Inc.

  • 1987 – Green Hills Retirement Community in Ames is completed by Story.


1990s

  • 1991 – Story completes a $16 million major renovation project for the Iowa-American Water Company in Davenport, Iowa.

  • 1996 – Story moves to a new office facility at 300 South Bell Avenue, Ames.

  • 1996 – In-house design capabilities are added to Story's list of services, making it an integrated design-build firm providing single-source responsibility on projects.


2000s

  • 2000 – Story Construction wins a National Design-Build Award from the Design-Build Institute of America for the Sauer-Danfoss Manufacturing project in Lawrence, Kansas.

  • 2000 – Norman Riis, Story's chairman, retires.

  • 2000 – The $20 million Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center project is completed at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

  • 2005 – Story announces a new executive management team consisting of Mike Espeset, President; Pat Geary, Chief Operating Officer; and Steve Tenney, Chief Financial Officer.

  • 2005 – Story employees are recognized for reaching the milestone of working 1 million hours with no lost-time injuries in 1,000 days.

  • 2006 – Dick Johnson, chairman and CEO, retires from Story.

  • 2006 – The Associated General Contractors of America presents Story with its National Safety Award.

  • 2006 – Master Builders of Iowa presents Story with the Masters Award for construction of the USDA High Containment Large Animal Housing Facility project.

  • 2007 – The milestone of working 1.5 million hours with no lost-time injuries is reached by Story employees.

  • 2009 – Story celebrates its 75th anniversary.


2010s

  • 2010 – Story signs a partnership Agreement with Iowa OSHA for construction management projects — the first in the state.

  • 2012 − Story employees celebrate a year without any lost-time accidents.

  • 2014 − With beginnings as James Thompson and Sons in 1934, Story marks 80 years of continuous service in Ames, across Iowa and in surrounding states.


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1934: James Thompson, with his sons Russell and Kenneth, moves to Ames, Iowa, to start the construction firm of James Thompson & Sons. In March 1934, they acquire their first project, the Calmar Creamery in Calmar, Iowa.
1934: James Thompson, with his sons Russell and Kenneth, moves to Ames, Iowa, to start the construction firm of James Thompson & Sons. In March 1934, they acquire their first project, the Calmar Creamery in Calmar, Iowa.
1937: Moore Bros. Dairy Building still anchors the corner of 5th & Clark in Ames.
1937: Moore Bros. Dairy Building still anchors the corner of 5th & Clark in Ames.
1938: Tama High School
1938: Tama High School
1942: World War II puts a different cast on the business as construction needs were changed by the war. James Thompson & Sons constructed hemp mills in central Iowa for the federal government’s War Hemp industries, as well as airfields in Missouri.
1942: World War II puts a different cast on the business as construction needs were changed by the war. James Thompson & Sons constructed hemp mills in central Iowa for the federal government’s War Hemp industries, as well as airfields in Missouri.
1960: JT&S moves into a 2,500 SF office addition at 222 E. 3rd St., Ames.
1960: JT&S moves into a 2,500 SF office addition at 222 E. 3rd St., Ames.
1960: Principal tools of construction are portrayed in the entryway mural at JT&S' new office
1960: Principal tools of construction are portrayed in the entryway mural at JT&S' new office
1966: Woodrow Buck developments a
1966: Woodrow Buck developments a "flying form" concrete process for Towers Residence Complex at ISU
1969: Towers Residence Complex is completed for ISU students
1969: Towers Residence Complex is completed for ISU students
1970: Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum under construction.
1970: Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum under construction.
1970: JT&S becomes totally owned by employee stockholders: Woodrow Buck, Ted Heggen, Norman Riis, Dick Johnson & Dean Porath
1970: JT&S becomes totally owned by employee stockholders: Woodrow Buck, Ted Heggen, Norman Riis, Dick Johnson & Dean Porath
1976: Veterinary Medicine Complex is completed at ISU
1976: Veterinary Medicine Complex is completed at ISU
1980: Pella Wastewater Treatment Plant
1980: Pella Wastewater Treatment Plant
1996: Story moves into new offices at 300 South Bell Avenue, Ames.
1996: Story moves into new offices at 300 South Bell Avenue, Ames.
2000: Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, UNI
2000: Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, UNI
2000: Sauer-Danfoss, Lawrence, KS
2000: Sauer-Danfoss, Lawrence, KS
2000: Norman Riis, Story's Chairman, retires
2000: Norman Riis, Story's Chairman, retires
2005: Story employees reach the milestone of working ONE MILLION HOURS with no lost-time injuries in 1,000 DAYS.
2005: Story employees reach the milestone of working ONE MILLION HOURS with no lost-time injuries in 1,000 DAYS.
2005: Story announces new management team: Steve Tenney, Mike Espeset, and Pat Geary.
2005: Story announces new management team: Steve Tenney, Mike Espeset, and Pat Geary.
2006: Dick Johnson, Chairman and CEO, retires from Story.
2006: Dick Johnson, Chairman and CEO, retires from Story.
2006: Story wins National Safety Award from Associated General Contractors of America.
2006: Story wins National Safety Award from Associated General Contractors of America.
2008: Master Builders of Iowa presents Story with the Masters Award for USDA High Containment Large Animal Housing Facility project.
2008: Master Builders of Iowa presents Story with the Masters Award for USDA High Containment Large Animal Housing Facility project.
2009 Marks Story's 75th Anniversary
2009 Marks Story's 75th Anniversary
2014: With beginnings as James Thompson and Sons, Story Marks 80 Years
2014: With beginnings as James Thompson and Sons, Story Marks 80 Years
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