Ames Construction Celebrates 50 Years in Business
From humble beginnings, the Ames family has built a construction empire over the last five decades, building countless bridges, highways, golf courses and more along the way.
In 1962, the company that would become Ames Construction began with just one man and a renovated a D8 tractor.
Fifty years later, the company is a major player in the contracting business with five offices spread through the midwest and western states and a long history of scoring high profile deals. As of Tuesday, the company can add another feather to its cap: The Burnsville City Council has officially proclaimed this "Ames Construction Week."
In 1962, Richard J. Dick Ames struck out on his own after beginning his career as a day laborer for the Volden Highway Construction Company ten years earlier. According to the company history, he purchased the venerable D8, which now sits outside the company's headquarters in Burnsville, and started Richard J. Ames Excavating. A year later, Raymond "Butch" Ames joined him, and the company became Ames Construction Inc.
Through the years Ames has "vaulted to national prominence," as the city proclamation, and now includes over 2500 employees with four additional regional offices, in Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Corona, CA.
The firm has been the lead contractor on many high profile projects that involve millions or even billions of dollars, such as the Denver International Airport, Crosstown-I35W Interchange, and a $187.5 million bridge over the Mississippi at Interstate 90. Most recently, Ames nailed Dakota County's largest road construction project in 2013, a $27.5 million revamp of the Hwy. 13 and County Road 5 interchange.
The company has also acquired a reputation for their work on difficult or unusual projects. In August of 2010, for instance, Ames was hired to control flooding on North Dakota's Devils Lake, which has risen 30 feet and quadrupled in area since 1993, swallowing farms, homes and even whole towns.
Ames also has a hand in the vanguard of the green movement. Ames has been hired to construct the Sapphire Energy Integrated Algal Bio-Refinery project in New Mexico, an effort to cut out petroleum with oil produced by algae. The 300-acre farm is expected to generate one million gallons of crude oil per year once in operation.
Ames has also frequently has lent support to Burnsville and other South Metro cities, including a $250,000 bronze sculpture at the intersection of Burnsville Parkway and Pleasant Avenue.
Officials at Ames declined an interview request for this story.