Demien Construction Co.
Ralph Demien grew up on the family farm before leaving his home in Missouri to fight in World War II. When he returned, the hard-working veteran got involved in the construction business. After putting his time in as a laborer, he began to work his way up and eventually founded his own business, Demien Construction Co. (DCC), in 1956. Ralph started out building houses around Wentzville, Missouri. Over time, the business diversified, taking on new work in the commercial sector. In 2014, DCC is a mid-sized general contractor serving a mixed market throughout the state.
DCC is a second-generation family business. Ralph’s sons, David and Russell Demien have taken the reins. David serves as the company’s president and Russell’s title is company secretary and treasurer. The brothers work with longtime business partner, Larry Juern, vice president of DCC. All three partners work as project managers for the company, continuing daily involvement in the company’s diverse projects.
The business employs between 40 and 50 people, fluctuating seasonally and with contracts. Working from a single location in Wentzville, Missouri, the team provides comprehensive construction services, including design-build work for both new construction and renovation projects. Around 90 percent of revenue comes through the commercial sector, although DCC frequently returns to the company’s roots to provide high quality residential construction services.
Staying ahead of the competition
The company’s broad capabilities have allowed DCC to remain flexible and stable over the years, despite the ups and downs of the construction market in recent years. “We have had to be more diverse in the projects we look at and be willing to branch out to do things we haven’t in the past,” David explains. “We have also sought out new vendors over the last four years to help us stay competitive. Through the downturn, we did a lot of public work. Over the course of a few years, we have done four parks and we did four different library projects in one year. The public sector became a larger market for us.”
With the market stabilizing, the crew has seen private work bouncing back, although public projects continue to drive much of the business’ revenue. Recent projects include a major renovation project at Browsick Park, working for Charles County Missouri. The team has also performed several renovation and restoration projects for the St. Louis School District. In the private sector, the portfolio includes churches and the Wentzville Aquatic Center, which Daniel notes was an unusual project.
Daniel has trouble picking a single favorite project, but a recent notable contract has been work on the Cuivre River Electric Cooperative headquarters in Lake St. Louis. “This was a design-build project that we were involved in from the very beginning,” David recounts. “This was a great collaborative effort between the owners, the design team and the contractors. The finished product was really great and the process was fairly smooth.”
A passion for building
All three owners of DCC share decades of experience and a real passion for the industry. “We have all worked out in the field and understand construction from the ground up,” David says. “We enjoy what we do. I went to school for economics and went to work for the state for a year before I started here full time in 1977. I was very frustrated because it didn’t seem like I had much to show for the work I was doing. In construction, I get a lot of satisfaction. When we were young, our dad would drive us around and show us the work he had done in the 40s and 50s. It is a good feeling to see what you have built.”
David’s team shares the same passion for building, which is part of what makes him proud of his team. “We have a great crew here,” he notes. “We take a lot of pride in being able to keep them working. This is a cooperative environment and I really enjoy seeing our team work together through the challenges onsite.”
While David prioritizes relationships with employees, he also shows great appreciation for the relationships he has built outside of the company with clients and strategic partners. “We work with high-quality subs who are willing to work efficiently and professionally,” David adds. “Our subcontractors are our largest investment and we need them to do well. Our policy is to do a job once and do it right. Customer satisfaction is one of our best indicators of quality performance.”
For more than 57 years, the DCC team has built upon a strong foundation of hard work, quality craftsmanship and professionalism. These qualities have kept the business moving forward in good markets and bad. Over the coming years, David is looking forward to continued growth as Demien Construction Co. provides consistent, quality construction services throughout Missouri.
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