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Helping the World Build Boldly Since 1889

Black and white photo of horse-drawn carriage in front of woodworking shop

A history of BOLDTHINKING®

Since Martin set up his carpentry shop more than 130 years ago, we’ve shown what’s possible when you approach every challenge with innovation, problem-solving and partnership. That’s what powers a construction company founded in woodworking to become a national leader in markets as diverse as healthcare, industrial, education and renewable energy.

1st Generation



Founder — 1889-1931

Black and white photo of family in front of home in 1889

Martin begins a construction legacy

A son of German immigrants, Martin sets up a carpentry shop in Appleton, Wisconsin. His first ad lays the groundwork for the company’s values today: Martin – Honest and reliable contractor.

Black and white photo of 3 men

A construction legacy built on relationships

Joined by his sons Arthur, Robert and Oscar (“O.J.”), Martin renames the company “Martin & Sons.” Quickly showing his penchant for inventiveness, O.J. files for his first patent in 1916: a new bowling pin design.

1920s Martin  & Sons

Roaring growth

For the young company, the 1920s are a tale of two economies. The early decade sees a booming home-building market. And, Martin & Sons’ reputation helps the company expand its portfolio of small commercial projects, fueling company growth. The stock market crash of 1929 challenges the company to seek out new markets.

2nd Generation

Oscar J  - Portrait

Oscar J.

CEO — 1931-1950

Historic photo of wooden building structure

Oscar J. builds the business

Even as the country struggles with the long-term effects of the Great Depression, O.J. takes over the business from his father in 1931, incorporating it as Oscar J. Construction and continuing to pursue commercial construction work.

Man in factory for artillery shell boxes

Joining the War Effort

America goes to war and joins the fight. Abroad, Oscar J. ’s son, Oscar C. , serves as a navigator, completing 18 combat missions, while back at home the company builds artillery shell boxes—up to 1,000 a day.

3rd Generation

Oscar C  wearing a hard hat

Oscar C.

CEO — 1950-1998

Black and white photo of office building under construction

Oscar C. creates an icon

Having learned the construction business at the feet of his father, Oscar C. takes over as CEO in 1950. During his leadership tenure, the company begins taking on larger, more complex commercial, institutional and education construction projects.

Black and white photo of people at groundbreaking

Building value through service

As the company grows, so does the reputation as a different kind of contractor. Community involvement, industry-leading profit-sharing and safety programs are hallmarks of Oscar C. ’s leadership and contribute to the company’s steady growth. secures industrial, healthcare, and pulp and paper projects.

School building with grounds in the foreground

Construction proves itself

Under Oscar C., the company begins to establish a regional presence, becoming a powerhouse in industrial, education and healthcare construction. expands locally as well, opening satellite offices in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Crane lifting heavy machinery

Building for growth

The company experiences steady, sustained growth, expanding its reach with milestone projects in locations as diverse as Saudi Arabia and Memphis, Tennessee. sees significant growth in pulp and paper projects. Revenue increases from $50 to $300 million over the course of the decade.

4th Generation

Tom  - Portrait


CEO — 1998-Present

Downtown Neenah, Wisconsin, Towers

A national construction leader

In 1998, Oscar C. transitions to chairman and Tom to CEO, with a continuing focus on the tradition of building strong relationships. leverages expertise in pulp and paper to serve the growing power market. The company helps pioneer Lean construction on a national level, expanding its reputation as an industry leader.

3  employees at planning wall

Pioneering new approaches

Building on more than a decade of Lean construction expertise, the firm debuts its trademark Integrated Lean Project Delivery® (ILPD) method with great success. The complicated rebuild of Stora Enso’s #64 paper machine conclusively demonstrates the effectiveness of ILPD, opening the door for new applications across markets.

Sutter Health CPMC Van Ness Hospital building lit at dusk at busy street corner

Cementing a Reputation for Building the Extraordinary

takes its place as a national healthcare builder and Lean construction expert with the award of its first billion-dollar contract, Sutter Health CPMC’s Van Ness Campus Hospital in San Francisco.  earns a reputation for environmental stewardship, building the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, Wisconsin’s first LEED® Platinum-certified project.


Two People Walk in  Safety Vests

Employee ownership

 crane working on an educational campus between buildings


From one man’s carpentry shop to a top-ranked construction leader with a nationwide reach, we’ve come a long way from what Martin started 130+ years ago. One thing hasn’t changed: remains an honest, reliable contractor, driven by BOLDTHINKING®. Challenging assumptions, approaching every project with flexibility and imagination and doing what it takes to help our clients and partners build the extraordinary.

Ready for a construction company that builds boldly? Let’s talk.