OUR HISTORY
Trusted Since 1936

Our Story

OUR STORY begins with one man and a determined spirit.

 

In the face of the Great Depression, Charles D. Smith, an estimator and project manager for a sizeable construction company in Fond du Lac was making an acceptable living doing what he loved. With entrepreneurial spirit outweighing economic risks, Charles believed he could achieve more by taking matters into his own hands.

 

Establishing his own company, Charles worked relentlessly for five years before his son Donald decided to join the business and C.D. Smith and Son was born. The father-son team built their business on a tireless drive to exceed owners’ expectations. C.D. Smith continued to grow through strong leadership and the dedication of Thomas D. Baker, Donald’s son Gary M. Smith and today is passionately led by Charles’ great-grandson Justin A. Smith. 

 

Today, C.D. Smith is one of the Midwest's strongest construction firms. The foundation of the company remains in the people and the principle the company was built on—unprecedented quality in every aspect of its operations and the pursuit of total customer satisfaction.

1936

Founded by Charles D. Smith the company’s first project was the Oshkosh Wastewater Treatment Facility with a construction value of $500,000. At that time a carpenter made 29 cents per hour.

1941

Charles’ son Donald joined the firm.

1942

The first large projects were primarily water treatment facilities, but business soon grew to include municipal and government buildings.

1946

The father and son team built Charles D. Smith and Son by focusing on a single concept, "to exceed owners' expectations."

1955

Thomas D. Baker joined the firm as an estimator/project manager, after previously working summers as a laborer. Tom’s enthusiasm and building skills allowed him to rapidly progress within the company and soon, he was managing some of the firm’s largest projects.

1964

Donald was elected President following the death of his father's. That same year, Tom Baker was promoted to Vice President.

1970

The business continued to grow by taking on projects across many different markets including everything from industrial and municipal projects to schools and hospitals.

1974

Donald’s son Gary joined the management team after receiving his BSCE from Marquette University. Gary’s extreme attention to detail and high standards set the benchmark for quality through all aspects of the Company’s operations.

1978

Tom Baker was named President after Don’s retirement.

1982

The name was officially changed to C.D. Smith Construction, Inc.

1995

Gary Smith was named President and COO. That same year, Tom Baker was named Chairman in addition to his role of CEO.

1996

C.D. Smith continued to grow and expand, becoming one of the strongest contractors in the Midwest. Completing projects throughout the State of Wisconsin and across the nation, the company continued to practice the same work ethic and techniques that Charles D. Smith put into place decades before.

1998

Gary’s son Justin A. Smith joined the family business full time after graduating from the University of West Virginia. He started as a laborer and worked through the ranks to the role of Superintendent running work in Michigan and Washington. Justin later joined the office team as a Project Manager.

2008

Justin was promoted to Vice President and C.D. Smith unveiled a new brand identity.

2011

Still building strength and achieving success, the firm celebrated 75 years in business.

2014

C.D. Smith Construction, Inc. Board of Directors appointed Justin A. Smith President and CEO following the passing of Gary M. Smith.

2015

C.D. Smith opens a Milwaukee branch office. 

2016

Continuing to be a closely held family business, C.D. Smith secured three of the largest contracts in its history. These $100 million-plus projects include 7seventy7, a 34-story housing and mixed-use development for Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee; a 600,000 square foot DOA Hill Farms office building in Madison; and upgrades at the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewer District.

2018

C.D. Smith broke ground on its new 50,000 square foot corporate office in Fond du Lac. The relocation of the headquarters will be the first home office move in company history.

To complement the monumental change, the company also announced a brand refresh initiative. Visual elements reflecting the strong history were kept while putting an emphasis on the company’s forward-thinking mindset through change.