Lacy Construction Co.

LacyLacy strives to provide the most project opportunities for its customers that it can.

By Alan Dorich

After 70 years, Lacy Construction Co. continues to thrive thanks to its people, President Jerry Huismann says. “If we didn’t have the people we have with us now, we wouldn’t have [our success],” he declares.

Based in Grand Island, Neb., Lacy Construction provides general contracting services to the commercial, healthcare, hospitality and religious markets. Founders Paul and Jay F. Abrahamson and Robert Lacy started the company in 1946 as the Abrahamson Building and Supply Co.Lacy info box

The three initially constructed homes in Grand Island. “After a few years of this, Paul and Jay decided they wanted to do something else, so they sold the business to Robert,” Huismann explains. The company then changed its name to Lacy Building and Supply Co.

In the late 1950s, the company started doing commercial work. “That’s when the business started doing better,” Jerry Huismann says, noting that the company enjoyed slow but steady growth over the next few decades.

The company also saw the scope of its projects grow, which included the $5 million city hall of Grand Island, Neb., in the early 1990s. “That was probably one of my biggest jobs that I was a project manager on,” he recalls, noting that it consisted of a new, three-story building.

However, the city did not have complete ownership of the property until after Lacy started work on it. “We had to drive piling around the site until their lease ran out, which was probably six months into the build,” Huismann recalls. “Then, we could tear the building down. It was a good project to cut my teeth on.”


Lacy employs a staff of 56 and enjoyed sales of $19 million last year. Although the company is not the largest company in its region, “We definitely try to be cutting-edge with our procedures, our equipment and how we approach the building business,” Huismann says.

“We’re just always trying to present the most opportunities for our clients that we can, whether that’s new methods or materials, or contracting methods or even ownership methods,” he says. “We’ve actually started doing design/build/lease where we own buildings and lease them back to clients to help them get in the insulated concrete forming systems.”

In terms of new methods, Lacy has started using integral concrete forming (ICF) systems as a basic building block. “We’ve built four different structures with that now,” Huismann says. “That is a green product that is sustainable and offers great insulating value for the people who use it for their buildings.”

Sharing Responsibilities

Lacy self-performs much of its work, Huismann says. ”It allows us to maintain our projects on schedule, and it also helps us to maintain the budgets because we have control of … the materials that are on those projects,” he says.

The company has strong relationships with its subcontractors, he asserts. However, these partnerships require an important exchange between the two parties. “We’ve got to put a contract together and we rely on their expertise to do that work,” he says. “On the other side of the coin, we need to make sure that they do what they say they’ll do.

“We have to work together as a team,” he says. “Sometimes, that requires a little negotiating, and other times it’s just a little encouragement to maybe work a little faster.

“Ultimately, we’re responsible for the subcontractors’ well-being,” he says. “We’ve got to make a project successful for them, but ultimately, we have to please our customers, and that requires some encouragement, and we’ll make sure we encourage our subcontractors to do that.”

Growing with Lacy

Lacy strives to form long-term relationships with its employees, Huismann says. “We want to make it so they can enjoy the benefits of work, but also be able to take part with their family, too, so they have time to raise their children, or whatever stage in life they might be at,” he says.

These benefits also can include career experience. “We have some superintendents that were able to grow with us,” he says. “They were able to take on challenges, new risks and look at bigger projects. We [have grown] as a team.”

Its team includes his brother-in-law, Mel Griess, who is its vice president of operations and its safety director. “He can train our people on not only what OSHA requires, but [other] practices that ensure our staff is operating safely,” Huismann says.

He also praises Accounting Manager Lori Bendixen. “Lori has done well with keeping up with accounting practices and principles, as well as software and its capabilities, and staying current on those practices,” Huismann says.

Superintendents Martin Evans and Shannon Walker also have been key. “It’s because they work hard at knowing current principles and practices in construction and what it takes to be a good superintendent,” Huismann says.

He adds that Lacy plans to continue developing relationships with clients, co-workers and other industry professionals going forward. “We’ll continue to let them know about our capabilities, how we pay attention to details and how we are a good team builder,” Huismann concludes.

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