March 1, 1940 was the official startup date for Hamilton Construction Co. of Springfield, Oregon according to the founder Harry I. Hamilton. Hamilton said the company was started with $500 “from his own pocket and loans primarily from his contracting friends.”
When asked why he started his own company he explained that he was encouraged by his contracting friends, material suppliers, and engineers. Prior to this time, Hamilton had worked for Fred H. Lindsey of Mountain States Construction Company of Eugene. Hamilton said he was Fred Lindsey’s right-hand man for 15 years. Lindsey died in 1939 and Mountain States Construction went out of business. Hamilton supervised the completion of all the work under contract at the time of Lindsey’s death. Hamilton recalls that his first company bonus was Fred Linsey’s Ford sedan. Mrs. Astrid Lindsey gave the car to Hamilton after her husband’s death. Hamilton then gave the car to his wife, Liela, as he needed his pickup truck to supervise the field work.
Hamilton’s first job was a subcontract for the Portland firm Leonard and Slate. The job entailed four miles of concrete paving south of Grants Pass. Hamilton rented equipment from Mrs. Lindsey. Hamilton’s second contract in 1940 was to build five composite bridges on West 11th Street in Eugene, Oregon. The start-up investments for this contract included three Ford pickup trucks and a concrete mixer. Hamilton said he built his own pile driver for the job. It was at this point when business progressed rapidly for Hamilton Construction. With over 50 people employed, Hamilton primarily worked out in the field shoveling concrete, working on subcontract paving work, and acting as the foreman and superintendent.
In 1942 Hamilton took on his first business partner and purchased the company’s first crane, The Bay City (top left photo). The following year, Hamilton embarked on a long and active period joining the Associated General Contractors (AGC) and became president of the Portland Chapter in 1954. One of Hamilton’s “smartest things I ever did” was hire Bill Peckham in 1949. Hired as an engineer with a starting salary of $75 per week, Peckham became the president of Hamilton Construction when Harry Hamilton retired in 1974. After his retirement, the company added two more partners, one of which was Hamilton’s current President Scott Williams. Williams started in 1979 as a project superintendent and quickly took on project management and estimating responsibilities. In January of 1989 Jack Hamilton took the reins as president, working closely with Scott Williams. Eleven years later Jack Hamilton tapped Williams to join the company’s senior management team.
Today, Scott Williams leads the Hamilton Construction team out of the Coburg, Oregon corporate office and still plays an active role in day-to-day activities. With four divisions, Hamilton’s workforce and equipment fleet has grown significantly and we’re proud to maintain a tight-knit family dynamic.