Our History

1930s

1930s

In 1934, James Thompson moves to Ames, IA along with his sons Kenneth and Russell to start a construction firm, aptly named James Thompson & Sons. They acquire their first project that year – the Calmar Creamery in Calmar, IA. The Thompsons build several post offices and their first project at Iowa State: Roberts Hall, which was then a residence hall for female students. In 1938, James Thompson establishes a partnership with his two sons, each serving as equal partners in the firm.

1940s

1940s

The Thompsons perform more work at Iowa State University, including Davidson Hall and the Metallurgy Building. Eventually, World War II changes the landscape of the construction industry, and the Thompsons construct a series of hemp mills in central Iowa for the federal governments War Hemp Industries Department, as well as several airfields in Missouri.

1950s

1950s

James Thompson & Sons builds Spedding Hall on ISU’s campus for the Atomic Energy Commission, which housed the Commission’s research program. In 1951, James Thompson & Sons incorporates, becoming James Thompson & Sons, Inc.

1960s

1960s

In 1961, Russell Thompson is tragically killed in a car/train accident while traveling to a jobsite. Later that year, the family decides to offer stock ownership to non-family employees. The company completes more prominent projects in Ames, including the Towers Residence Complex at Iowa State and several phases of the Northcrest Retirement community.

1960s

1960s

James Thompson, the “founding father” of JTS, dies in 1968.

1970s

1970s

Kenneth Thompson, the one remaining member of the original partnership, retires, and JTS becomes totally owned by five employee stockholders: Woodrow Buck, Ted Heggen, Norman Riis, Dean Porath and Dick Johnson. The company then sold stock to several additional employees, some of whom worked in field operations – a unique concept at the time.

1970s

1970s

In 1971, the company completes Hilton Coliseum, one of the landmark facilities not only in Iowa, but nationally. In 1976, the Veterinary Medicine Complex at Iowa State is also completed.

1970s

1970s

After restructuring and diversifying services throughout the 1970s, Story Construction is created to focus on “merit-shop” commercial and industrial construction. The company today remains an totally employee-owned merit shop.

1980s

1980s

Throughout the 1980s, Story identified water and wastewater treatment plants as an Iowa market dominated by non-Iowa companies. Story received its first contract for a wastewater treatment plant in Pella, IA, and to this day serves both municipalities and private companies in treatment plant work.

1990s

1990s

In the 1990s, Story Construction continued to support a wider variety of markets throughout Iowa. In 1996, in-house design capabilities are added to Story’s list of services, providing integrated design-build delivery to clients. The company also moved its headquarters to a new building at 300 South Bell Ave in Ames.

2000s

2000s

In 2000, Story chairman Norm Riis retires. In 2005, Story announced a new executive management team consisting of Mike Espeset, President; Pat Geary, Chief Operating Officer; and Steve Tenney, Chief Financial Officer. Dick Johnson, Story’s CEO and chairman at the time, retired in 2006.

2000s

2000s

Major projects throughout the 2000s include the $20 million Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center at the University of Northern Iowa and the USDA High Containment Large Animal Housing Facility,

2000s

2000s

Throughout the 2000s, Story excelled in providing safe work environments for employees. The company reached 1.5 million hours without a lost-time accident.

2010s

2010s

In 2018, Story finished a manufacturing facility in Oelwein, IA for East Penn Manufacturing via design-build delivery, which was the largest project in Story’s history, until ground was broken at the site of the new Ames High School the following year.

2010s

2010s

Throughout the 2010s, Story continued to specialize in GC, CM and design-build services for commercial construction. In 2012, Story adopted the Entrepreneurial Operation System to focus the entire company on its direction and the day-to-day strategy of getting there.

2010s

2010s

In 2017, the company moved its headquarters again, this time just down the road to 2810 Wakefield Circle in Ames. The new building supports a renewed focus on collaboration and provides workspaces tailored for the wide variety of careers offered at Story.