Bill Lorrigan Construction
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Nick Randall
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
In 1986, Bill Lorrigan decided to realize his dream and went into business for himself. After years of working in the construction industry, Lorrigan, with the help of his wife Barb, founded Bill Lorrigan Construction Inc. Based out of Reedsville, Wisconsin, Lorrigan Construction began as a small company and over the past 29 years has grown into a reputable design-build contractor specializing in agricultural, industrial and commercial construction.
Bill entered the construction industry 35 years ago as a laborer for a local construction company. “I told myself that I wasn’t going to be one of those guys who turns 65 and looks back and says I should have, would have and could have,” recounts Bill. With this mentality he learned everything he could about the industry until he was confident enough to set out on his own.
Currently Lorrigan Construction has 50 full time employees. Bill has integrated family members into the business to guide Lorrigan Construction into the future. Son Ryan Lorrigan, who has been involved with the company since his teens, is currently involved in estimating as well as commercial sales. Bill’s son-in-law Jesse Schuh is a project manager with Lorrigan Construction and helps with estimating. Schuh is a 2009 graduate of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) where he studied Architectural Engineering with an emphasis on Structural Design.
With a portfolio of farms covering the state of Wisconsin, Lorrigan Construction is capable of handling any specialized agricultural needs. The Lorrigan team is skilled in creating milking parlors (robot operated, rotary, herringbone and parallel), freestall barns, manure pits and bunkers.
“We’ve built some 5,000 cow dairies,” says Bill. Included in the Lorrigan Construction portfolio of projects is Jerseyland Dairy, located in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The dairy farm includes a 16,000-square-foot-parlor and holding area and features a 72-cow carousel–style milking parlor.
Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy LLC, in Kewaunee County, also boosts a 72 cow rotary milking parlor and has been an ongoing customer since 2001. Lorrigan Construction has been part of their complex expansion by designing and constructing everything from the feed center and digester building to barns and office facilities. Currently Lorrigan Construction is working on Pagel’s newest venture which includes office expansion and a cheese production facility.
As a design-build firm, Lorrigan Construction self-performs the design, as well as concrete and steel for most of its projects. While it oftentimes depends on the location of the job, Lorrigan Construction will sub-contract work to carpentry, brick and HVAC contractors. ”Our relationships with our sub-contractors is very important,” notes Bill. “It can make or break a job.”
Lorrigan Construction also has its own fabrication shop. Bill feels this is one aspect that sets the company apart from others. “We actually perform our own fabricating work for our agriculture buildings in our own shop,” says Bill. “We do the work and then ship it to the job site from our own location. It really helps with scheduling when you fabricate it and ship it yourself.”
Recent commercial projects completed by Lorrigan Construction include a 12,000-square-foot airport hangar in Appleton, Wisconsin. The company also recently worked with Amerequip to construct a 100,000-square-foot office and manufacturing facility. The conversion was due to Amerequip expanding its workforce. “It was a real interesting project,” says Bill. “They had a groundbreaking ceremony which the governor himself attended, so that was pretty exciting.”
A thriving company
Building a company from the ground up and experiencing a successful 29 years is no small feat. As any small business owner is aware, the economic challenges alone are enough to discourage even the savviest entrepreneur. Bill takes pride in knowing that Lorrigan Construction has stood the test of time.
“A lot of companies didn’t make it when the economy took a big hit back in ’08 and ’09,” says Bill. “I’m proud to say we made it through that.” Bill states that sometimes survival means making tough decisions. “Sometimes you have to be the guy to make the tough decisions but all the employees who stuck with us through the tough times are still with us today.”
“It’s always nice to be able to see the final product when the work is complete,” says Bill. “It’s really great though to know that we’re keeping people employed. I get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing that the workers we employ are able to hold onto a decent paying job.” Bill says that there is an associate who has been employed by the company since it started in 1986. “He worked with me when I used to run a steel crew for another company. I decided to go out on my own and a week later he was there with me.”
Lorrigan Construction is projecting a 5 to 10 percent increase in business in the next few years. In 2016 the company will celebrate 30 years in business. Bill and the team are not planning a celebration just yet, but Bill says the company will do something to show appreciation for the longevity the loyal employees have fostered. As the anniversary approaches, Bill Lorrigan Construction Inc. will continue to evolve and innovate with the changing industry.
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