In our over 60 years of experience, we've built a few milestones. Here are some of those highlights.

Ames Construction has delivered quality construction services for more than 60 years. We were founded as a small, family-run earthwork contractor that served a single community. Today, we’re a full-service, heavy civil and industrial general contractor operating throughout North America.

  • 1962 – 1967

    Humble Beginnings Shape a Business Foundation.

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    "When I started the company, we had nothing so there was nothing to lose. We took risks because that's how you grow. And we built relationships and sealed contracts with a handshake because we grew up with an understanding that your word is your bond." — Dick Ames, founder

    After working 10 years alongside his mentor, Verdie Volden, owner of V. J. Volden Highway Construction Company, Dick Ames bought a used 1953 Cat D8 and went out on his own. Ames Construction started at a time when government programs were in place to assist farmers with soil conservation efforts, townships were beginning to expand into cities, and funding became available to help grow the infrastructure of the nation's highway system. One by one, Ames family members joined the company and were persistent in pursuing work to keep the small company going. By the mid-1960s, their contacts with community leaders and business people began to pay off.

    • Dick Ames starts his contracting business in Minnesota as Richard J. Ames Excavating
    • First road job: Grading two miles of township road
    • Dick asks his brother, Raymond "Butch" Ames, to partner with him
    • The company is renamed Ames Construction, Inc.
    • Soil conservation work and residential site development gave a big boost to the small company; John, Tom and Larry Ames join the company
    • Ames proudly joins Associated General Contractors
  • 1968 – 1974

    Tough Times Lead to New Opportunities.


    "Sometimes you're lucky to be in the right place at the right time—but you still have to work for your luck. You have to perform and be open to new challenges. Setbacks and crises are inevitable and bring opportunity. The key is to learn from your mistakes and move forward with confidence. Ames doesn't run from a problem; we stick with it until it is solved." — Butch Ames

    Expansion into the residential and commercial earthwork markets stretched Ames Construction's resources and required an increased investment in manpower and equipment. The demands of the growing business and fluctuating finances tested the stamina of the company and its owners. When the housing market stalled in the late 1960s, the company aggressively pursued commercial work and aligned with local major private general contractors. By the early 1970s, Ames began to emerge from tough economic times.

    • Ron Ames and Ames' nephew Mark Brennan join the company full time
    • Housing market stalls and Highway 212 project stresses business assets
    • Ames adopts the tagline, "Working in Harmony with Nature"
    • Dick trades a pile of gravel for the former Burnsville Township Hall, making it the company's headquarters
    • First civil engineer hired: Jerry Everson
    • First large commercial civil contract: St. Paul Civic Center
    • Ames begins to emerge from tough economic times

    Working in Harmony with Nature

    Ames Construction takes its responsibility as a temporary steward of our country's natural resources very seriously. Ahead of its time with environmental efforts, the company's first soil conservation project in the 1960s helped protect agricultural land from soil erosion. Since that time, the company has used the tagline: "Working in Harmony with Nature" as a declaration and reminder of its commitment to environmental issues.

  • 1975 – 1988

    Perseverance Pushes Limits and Growth.

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    "We've had good years and bad years, but we got through them and are a stronger company for it. We owe a lot to the dedicated people who work for us. They go wherever we need them to go-never once asking what the company is going to do for them in return. Our employees don't just work for a paycheck; they put their whole heart into what they do." — John Ames

    By the mid-1970s, Ames Construction had built strong business relationships and proved its capabilities locally in Minnesota. With a reputation for working both hard and smart, opportunities arose for pursuing work outside of their home state. Considered the company's "power plant years" of growth, geographic expansion uprooted family members to establish offices in different regions of the country. The company's visibility as an expert earthwork and underground utility contractor opened doors to multiple "firsts" and expanded market opportunities.

    • First large out-of-state contract, South Dakota
    • First industrial and heavy civil construction project, lowa
    • First power plant project, North Dakota
    • First soil cement job, lowa
    • First underground piping job, Utah
    • First Arizona project
    • Formal safety program established
    • First hydroelectric power plant project, Wisconsin
    • First mining project, Utah
    • Offices open in Colorado, Utah and Arizona with satellite office in Nevada
  • 1989 – 1999

    National Visibility Soars to New Heights.

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    "The principals have a lot of fire and passion for the business. We are continually looking forward to find opportunities and blaze new trails for the company. We look at every new challenge—including things we've never done before-and say, 'What could be so hard about that?' And then we go out and do it." — Ron Ames

    In 1989, Ames Construction broke ground on one of the largest heavy civil projects in the world—the Denver International Airport, where Ames achieved a reputation for tackling major contracts and completing them ahead of schedule. This increased the company's visibility on a national scale and cemented its position as a leading transportation construction contractor in the United States. Ames also continued to build on its strengths in each of its regional markets, expand geographically and steadily establish a presence in new market sectors.

    • Largest and most efficient civil contractor on the new Denver International Airport; 300 Ames employees worked nonstop 24/7 from late 1989 to 1994
    • First large dam project, Wyoming
    • Ames Percheron Farm becomes a division of Ames Construction
    • Enters railroad market with grade separation project in Nebraska
    • First international contract: Muruntau mine, Uzbekistan
    • First design-build project, Colorado
  • 2000 – 2012

    Client Confidence Advances Progress.

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    "We have strong client relationships because we know how to communicate and get along. Our clients count on us to be innovative and find ways to make difficult situations work; it's one of our core strengths. The livelihood of Ames Construction in the past and for the future is about keeping an unwavering commitment to our clients." — Mark Brennan

    Entering the new millennium, the company's history of building solid relationships with engineering firms and other major contractors positioned the company to take another step forward. Ames broadened its reach and transitioned from being known as a high- volume earthmover to establishing a strong presence as a bridge and structures builder. By its fiftieth year in business, Ames had positioned itself as one of the largest heavy civil and industrial general contractors in the nation.

    • First refinery project for private client in Utah
    • San Manuel Mine reclamation project, Arizona
    • Enters renewables market with wind power project in New Mexico
    • All American Canal irrigation expansion in Southeastern California
    • First $1 billion design-build highway contract: 1-15 CORE in Utah County
    • First $1 billion design-build commuter rail project: RTD Eagle P3 in Colorado
    • Office opens in Corona, California
    • Ames celebrates 50 years in business
  • 2013 – 2023

    The Only Constant in Life Is Change.

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    "The only constant in life is change. We have learned to expect it and embrace it. If you're interested in what you're doing and you're growing, you're never satisfied— that keeps us pushing to take on new challenges, supported by the people who work to make it happen every day." — The Ames family

    By continually adapting to meet ever-changing needs in an evolving industry, Ames Construction continued to build on its core strengths while remaining flexible to lean into new opportunities. Technology influenced how the work gets done more efficiently in the field and in the office; a government investment in infrastructure set the stage for ongoing work in familiar markets; and a movement toward sustainability opened new doors for expansion in the energy sector.

    • First Canadian projects: rail and mining
    • Largest highway project in Arizona history: Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway
    • Completes the last of five major crossings over the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers
    • Adds white paving to self-performed capabilities
    • Corporate headquarters moves to renovated Ames Business Center; constructs new state-of-the-art maintenance facility
    • Butch Ames appointed Chairman of the Board; Jerry Ouimet named President and Chief Executive Officer
    • Celebrating 60 years in business