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July 18, 2023

BEAR To Turn 40!

BEAR’s 40-year journey began in July of 1984, when Nick, George and Jim Wienold incorporated their small carpentry firm under the name BEAR Construction Company. The three brothers chose the BEAR name after considering several other options, ultimately landing on BEAR due to their mutual love of the outdoors and also as a nod to the rising Chicago Bears, who would go on to win the Super Bowl the following year. Although the hard-working brothers started the firm as a carpentry and drywall contractor, they quickly realized that their quality of work and capabilities were often more advanced than the general contractors who often employed the young company. With the support and encouragement of many satisfied customers, they expanded the scope of the company to focus on general contracting and managing the construction process from start to finish.

The firm concentrated its early efforts on tenant interiors and retail work. BEAR’s client base and revenues grew steadily because of the firm’s reputation for outstanding workmanship, customer service and value. To accommodate this influx of work and its growing staff, in 1987 BEAR purchased a 5-acre parcel with an office and warehouse located in Arlington Heights. The next decade saw continued growth and a further expansion of services. By the early 1990’s, the company had added healthcare and tech facilities to its repertoire, and by the end of that decade the firm employed roughly 20 office personnel. After an office addition and even the use of a temporary construction trailer to house the growing staff, it was time to look for a new facility. After a lengthy search for the right property, in 2001, the company sold the Arlington Heights property and moved into its current 36,000-square-foot headquarters in Rolling Meadows. To satisfy the needs of BEAR’s Chicago based clients, the company opened an additional office at 221 N. LaSalle in 2013. That same year BEAR also completed an internal expansion of office space at the Rolling Meadows HQ. During this period, BEAR’s healthcare group grew significantly, and the firm also continued to expand its scope of services with the addition of its Industrial and Special Projects division (ISPD). BEAR also grew north of the Illinois border and opened an office in Milwaukee around this time.

By 2016, BEAR had roughly 60 office employees and over 100 union tradespersons, and revenues were consistently topping $150 million dollars annually, placing BEAR among Chicago’s largest contractors. The downtown office had outgrown its space and moved to a larger office at 1 N LaSalle. In March of 2016, BEAR’s path took a turn that no one would have predicted when the firm was awarded the contract to manage the work at Chicago’s Old Post Office. While no one could predict at that time, that project would go on to become the largest historical renovation in the United States, with BEAR directly managing roughly $750 million dollars of work over the 3.5 year job. The Old Post Office was immensely successful, and earned BEAR many awards and honors. More importantly, it cemented BEAR’s position as one of Chicago’s premier general contractors, capable of any challenge or scope of work.

Nick retired in 2017, with George and Jim remaining as CEO and President, respectively. Along with these two, Executive Vice President Scott Kurinsky and Senior Vice President Dennis Hill rounded out the Executive Management team until 2022. The executive team expanded at that time by promoting Kathy Bender to Vice President of Internal Operations and adding Chief Financial Officer Adam Sandefur in 2023. BEAR continued its growth with the addition of a Municipal, Education and Infrastructure group (MEI) in 2022, and promoted eight others to the title of Vice President, each leading a group within the company.

Today, BEAR Construction Company has 7 offices in Illinois and Wisconsin and is servicing clients in multiple states across the country. The firm employs an office staff of over 100 professionals to focus on every aspect of construction, including preconstruction, project management, accounting, safety and risk management. Additionally, the firm employs over 100 carpenters, decorators and laborers experienced in all types of projects. While the company has grown significantly since its inception in 1984, the Wienold brothers have made it a priority to maintain the level of client service and family atmosphere they began with. That culture, where every employee feels valued and has a sense of ownership in everything the company does, is what still sets BEAR Construction Company apart from its competitors today.

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