Johnston Construction

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Johnston Construction Project

Johnston Construction Project

Johnston Construction Project

Johnston Construction Project

Johnston Construction Project
Our History
In the late 1940’s, Richard L. “Dick” Johnston (1916-2002) along with his wife, Dorothea, began a mason contracting business in Tacoma Washington to service the residential and small commercial markets. From meager beginnings but with unyielding ambition, abundant energy and hard work, he was driven to succeed – at something. His early endeavors included jobs as a woodsman, a fisherman, a welder, a shipbuilder during World War II, a concrete block manufacturer and eventually as a mason.

While some early positions provided reasonable pay, he was always trying to increase income and better himself. Hearing that construction was hiring after the war, he checked with the local building trades council and found that bricklayers were the highest paid craft at that time and that sounded particularly good to him. A few trips to the library, watching local jobsites, practicing at home and learning all he could on his own, he finally presented himself to the union looking for a job. They put him to work as an improver and a few months later he became a foreman for the contractor he was working for. Still wanting to do better, he offered his services on a piece work basis. His income increased and the contractor was still making money! Of course this is where the entrepreneurial spirit and free enterprise system surfaced and the rest of the story is “history”. Dick remained a union contractor and received his 50 year gold card in 1997. He was active in all the local promotion and contractor groups. He was a true leader and served as the vice president of the west for the Mason Contractor Association of America in the 1960’s.

In 1966 he and his son, Richard M. “Mike” Johnston incorporated the business as it stands today. Dick retired in 1976 and Mike and his wife Sharon proceeded to operate and expand the company. Mike grew up with the business, graduated from the University of Washington in the College of Architecture with a bachelor of science in Building Technology and Administration in 1966, and has been with the company since then. Mike also was involved in all levels of promotional activities and contractor groups eventually becoming president of the Mason Contractors Association of America’s national organization (2000-2001).

In 1998, Richard A. “Rick” Johnston, came aboard as an officer and shareholder joining the firm started by his granddad and dad and thereby creating the third generation business. Rick worked for the company originally while a student and in 1989 joined the firm full time earning his journeyman bricklayers card becoming a foreman and eventually a project manager. The company emphasis at that time was brick and block, especially in the commercial, industrial, and public work sectors.

As Richard M. considered retirement and the business grew in size and complexity, it became apparent that another capable management partner would be desirable. Jed Olafson, a longtime key employee at Barkshire Panel Systems, joined the firm in 2005 when his prior employers retired. Jed became a partner in 2006 and brings extensive experience in structural masonry, brick veneer, pre-built panels, and especially all kinds of domestic and foreign stone applications.

Currently, Richard A. (Rick) with his journeyman skills and jobsite experience is responsible for our jobsites, equipment, and employees. Mike and Sharon continue to monitor the general administration and bookkeeping operations as well as business promotion and consulting services. Jed, with his CAD and computer capabilities, provides our drawings and detailing and oversees takeoffs and estimating. Combined, Mike, Rick and Jed provide nearly 100 years of collective experience in the masonry industry. Together their goal is to remain one of the leading certified mason contractors in the area. They share a commitment to quality, customer service, efficiency and safety which is required for success in the construction world today.

It is obvious to the management team of today, that since our beginnings, Johnston Construction Company, Inc. has been and will remain willing to give back what we can to the industry we love and get so much out of.