1990 – 2000

The 1990s for Findorff was a celebratory time full of impressive achievements and iconic projects. Kicking off the last decade of the century, Findorff commemorated its 100th year as a leading contractor throughout Wisconsin. The coming ten years would bring continued success with both classic and historically relevant architecture in Madison and Milwaukee.

At the start of the 1990s, Findorff not only celebrated its centennial milestone, but also saw the highest annual sales in the Company’s history. The future of the Company also had a promising outlook consequent to the retirement of Ken Kruska and Gerd Zoller. In 1992, ownership of Findorff was once again transferred, and long-time employees Dan Peterson, Tom Schuchardt, and Rich Lynch joined Curt Hastings as the Company’s primary owners. The new ownership team marked the selfless and forward-looking attitude of another generation devoted to Findorff’s legacy.

Although new leadership took the reins at Findorff, old traditions of quality craftsmanship stayed true to the Company’s construction initiatives. In Milwaukee, Findorff built a permanent office in 1996 and completed the construction of several notable buildings.

Specifically, Landmark on the Lake made a major impact on the Milwaukee skyline, towering 32 stories and totaling 300,000 square feet. Back in Madison, Findorff was also keeping busy with the construction of several new buildings on UW’s campus. In 1991, Findorff built the 260,000-square-foot Grainger Hall for business students. From 1997 to 1998, Findorff was the selected contractor to remodel one of its very first projects, the University’s Red Gym.

Originally built for military training and student athletics, the Red Gym had since transformed to house various departments and was proclaimed a National Historical Landmark. This special undertaking totaled $11.75 million and required a comprehensive renovation. As over a century had passed since the building’s original construction, Findorff’s skilled tradesmen carefully restored the woodwork milled and installed by the Company’s founder himself, John H. Findorff. Simultaneously next door, Findorff constructed the $15 million addition to the Pyle Center.

The 1990s was also a time of other educational pursuits. Specifically, Findorff completed additions for McFarland High School and Stoughton High School, as well as the new construction of Badger Ridge Middle School in Verona.

It is without a doubt that Findorff was advancing as a top contractor throughout the State, exemplified by the notable work of its skilled employees and strategic direction of its thoughtful leaders. However, the Company’s most landmark project of the decade, if not the century, is yet to be named. Over 70 years ago, Wisconsin’s famous and internationally-acclaimed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright proposed a design for the Monona Terrace Convention Center overlooking Lake Monona in Madison. Controversy and politics surrounded the proposed project over the years in regards to its development. The stars finally aligned on a cold January day in 1995, when Findorff’s crews drove the first of the 1,725 steel piles into the project’s lakeside landfill. Findorff served as the project’s general contractor and teamed with Chicago’s Stein & Company to serve as construction managers.

Over the next 30 months, the project required all but two of the company’s project managers, supervising a crew of 120 carpenters, 14 equipment operators, 55 iron workers, 30 cement finishers, 55 laborers, six brick masons, and numerous subcontractors. Finally, in the summer of 1997, construction of the Monona Terrace Convention Center was completed on schedule and on budget. Fireworks and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra capped the three-day celebration opening the spectacular facility.

Upon the decade’s close, grief filled the hearts of the Findorff family once again. In April 1999, Gordon Findorff, the grandson of the Company’s founder, passed away at the age of 70. Described by Curt as a “people person and a cheerleader for the organization,” Gordon was the Company’s first Safety Director. He was a valued employee and like many others before him, he truly epitomized Findorff’s commitment to the trades and employees. Nevertheless, because of people like Gordon, Findorff’s foundation was as solid as ever for future generations to build upon in the next decade and beyond.


Notable Projects

  • Anderson Hospice Center
  • Badger Ridge Middle School
  • Grainger Hall at UW-Madison
  • Landmark on the Lake
  • McFarland High School Expansion
  • Meriter Hospital Addition
  • Milwaukee County Jail & Correctional Facility
  • Midwest Express Concourse D at General Mitchell Field
  • Monona Terrace Convention Center
  • Pyle Center Addition at UW-Madison
  • Red Gym Renovation and Restoration at UW-Madison
  • Stoughton High School Addition
  • Stoughton Hospital Addition
  • UW Hospital and Clinics Addition