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.
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.
Charles’ son Donald joined the firm.
The first large projects were primarily water treatment facilities, but business soon grew to include municipal and government buildings.
The father and son team built Charles D. Smith and Son by focusing on a single concept, "to exceed owners' expectations."
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.
Donald was elected President following the death of his father. That same year, Tom Baker was promoted to Vice President.
The business continued to grow by taking on projects across many different markets including everything from industrial and municipal projects to schools and hospitals.
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.
Tom Baker was named President after Don’s retirement.
The name was officially changed to C.D. Smith Construction, Inc.
Gary Smith was named President and COO. That same year, Tom Baker was named Chairman in addition to his role of CEO.
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.
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.
Justin was promoted to Vice President and C.D. Smith unveiled a new brand identity.
Still building strength and achieving success, the firm celebrated 75 years in business.
C.D. Smith Construction, Inc. Board of Directors appointed Justin A. Smith President and CEO following the passing of Gary M. Smith.
C.D. Smith opens a Milwaukee branch office.
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.
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.
In March 2019, C.D. Smith expanded locations, adding a second branch office in Madison, WI.
Then in May, C.D. Smith opened its doors to its new corporate office in Fond du Lac, WI. The new space offers state-of-the-art virtual construction technologies, better highway accessibility for visitors and a wide range of sustainability features. Employees also received more amenities, including an interactive training space for employee development, a work cafe with fireplace and lounge area, outdoor space with grills, complete fitness center and numerous breakout and collaboration spaces.
C.D. Smith opens a fourth office location in La Crosse, WI.
Reflecting on growth through leadership and dedication, the firm celebrates 85 years in business.
In collaboration with the project team, C.D. Smith took mass timber construction to new heights. On July 20, 2022, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) declared Ascent MKE as the World's Tallest Mass Timber Hybrid Building.