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Companies Of A Century: F.A. Wilhelm Sculpts The Face Of The Midwest

With only an eighth-grade education, the need to support a growing family and a helping spirit, Founder Francis W. Wilhelm launched the company by building a porch for his neighbor.

Editor’s Note: Chief Executive is kicking off a new annual tradition this year by celebrating every sizable (over $100 million in annual revenues) standalone company turning 100 in 2023. Check out the rest of this year’s class for tips, insights and, above all else, the inspiration you need to keep going….and going.

 

CONSTRUCTION 

F.A. WILHELM 

HQ: Indianapolis
Revenues: $1 billion+
Employees: ~1,000 

If ever a company can be correlated with the man-made appearance of an entire state, it’s F.A. Wilhelm Construction with Indiana. The construction contractor has built all or part of dozens of iconic structures across Indianapolis, as well as throughout the Upper Midwest. 

At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500 race, Wilhelm helped renovate the Legends Plaza entrance area and outdoor area. Other projects included the NCAA headquarters in downtown Indy, Hoosier Energy headquarters in Bloomington, Indiana, a new Embassy Suites at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, the Indiana National Guard’s new two-level addition and Cummins’ new distribution headquarters in downtown Indianapolis. 

Across nearby state borders, Wilhelm played a key role in constructing the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, home of the baseball Reds and the Omni Hotel in Louisville. Wilhelm’s design, engineering and construction expertise also reach behind the scenes in many industries in Indiana and across the region, including pharmaceutical manufacturing, auto production, and the output of other verticals ranging from food to metals. 

The company’s beginnings were modest. With only an eighth-grade education, the need to support a growing family and a helping spirit, Founder Francis W. Wilhelm, built a porch for his neighbor in Indianapolis. 

Today, the company provides an entire portfolio of construction-management services, including design-build, general contracting, integrated project delivery and trade-specialty contracting services. It’s one of the largest employers of construction labor in the Midwest and the largest contractor in Indiana. 

F.A. Wilhelm continues to adapt to meet the needs of its clients, recently establishing a new flooring division, with the goal of providing flooring services across materials, textures and needs. “My grandfather would be extremely proud of how we’ve grown and the services we now provide,” says Phil Kenney, F.A. Wilhelm’s president, who credits a culture of dedication and trust for the company’s longevity. “One hundred years would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our employees, the trust of our clients and our connections within the industry.”


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