Going Local: Associated Constructors Co.

 (Photo: Erik Prenzler)

(Photo: Erik Prenzler)

Gary Oehler, David Vance, and Spencer Vatterrodt formed Associated Constructors Co., Inc. in October 1984. “For the first two years we worked out of Spencer’s basement,“ said Gary. “The market wasn’t doing real good, but sometimes it’s better to start a new business at that time” continued Gary.

The three partners met while working at another contractor and Spencer & David were physically working (i.e., carpentry) when the firm was started.  Today Associated Constructors has nine salaried employees and ranges between 60- 90 “collective bargaining” workers. “We are a “hard bid” contractor, so estimating is very important to us and at least one employee works full-time at that,” said David.    The company has carpenters, plasterers, tapers, painters, and laborers.

Associated is a commercial interior finishing contractor, which means they do light-gauge cold metal framing, drywall work, finishing carpentry & hardware, paint & wall coverings, acoustical ceilings, and wall panel work.  They also do exterior insulation and finish systems.

During the past 34 years, the company has had steady growth and now produces $20 million of new development annually.  “Right now we are busy doing extensive work at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana,” said Gary. “At any one time we might have 10-12 projects happening, and one of the partners is actively engaged in every project,” said David.

“Our biggest challenge today is finding young people to work in the skilled trades,” said Gary.  Associated attends career fairs and tries to educate high school students about the demand for skilled labor and opportunities for education and apprenticeships.  “Our workforce is getting aged” continued Gary.

Recent projects by Associated Constructors in Bloomington- Normal include Vale Community Church, Westminster Village, Destihl Brewery and the Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center.   The company covers an area that is south of I-80 and then all the way south to just north of St. Louis. The total coverage area of Associated is Peoria, Champaign- Urbana, Springfield, Decatur, in addition to Bloomington-Normal.

For more information on Associated Constructors Co., please visit their website at www.associatedconstructors.com