Estes Construction Celebrates 50 Years In Business

Des Moines, IA: 
Estes Construction Celebrates 50 Years In Business.
The small construction company that started as a one-person operation on a card table has grown over five decades into a multi-company business with about 400 employees in nine offices throughout the Midwest. The company is celebrating 50 years in business this fall and opened its Des Moines office four years ago.
Jim and Lori Estes grew their company by working hard, giving back to the community, and setting high expectations for themselves and their employees. They led by example and were role models to many, including their nephew Kent Pilcher. He acquired the company from Jim and Lori Estes in 2004 and serves as the family business president and chief executive officer.
Pilcher explains the mindset and business strategy that helped the company succeed during the economic downturn in the early 1980s. “Jim and Lori decided they were not going to participate in the recession. The company took jobs outside of the local community to meet the demand for construction in other areas. We followed a similar approach by opening a Des Moines office in 2016. Our position as the leading K-12 school builder in Iowa enables us to reach every corner of the state easily from our two offices. The statewide penny tax for schools created construction demand in Iowa and we saw a growing need for services beyond construction. We help districts evaluate facilities, navigate referendums and select a designer so the entire building process is seamless.”
Company founders Jim and Lori Estes were generous with their time and supported causes that mattered to them. The couple’s commitment to their community is part of their legacy. Mr. Estes explained his philosophy about volunteering in a 2013 interview, “You are required to give back to the community. Find your cause. Fund it with your time and talents.” Estes allows employees time away from work to serve on boards and committees, lend a hand building homes or support community causes that reflect their passion. Mr. Estes also said, “You can’t just go home after work every night and sleep.” The company is invested in supporting causes to build strong youth and strong communities.
Education was important to the company founders and Pilcher carries on his family’s legacy by allocating a significant amount of resources annually to continuing education and career development opportunities. Twelve new college graduates are currently participating in Estes’ project engineer program. The highly structured, three-year program teaches technical and leadership skills needed to advance within the organization. Estes provides clear pathways for advancement from within all of its professional and skilled trade careers, along with unique leadership development programs that are available to all employees.
As Pilcher plans what is next for his growing company, he is reminded of his uncle’s can-do, will-do, positive attitude. “Jim would say, ‘Always tell yourself what an opportunity.’ ”

Estes Construction core competencies include facility assessments and master planning, preconstruction planning performed in-house, and turn-key construction management. The company has offices in Davenport and Des Moines, Iowa.