Johnson Wilson Constructors was founded in Duluth, Minnesota in 1971 by Ron Johnson and Bill Wilson. The partners’ first major project was development, design, construction and management of the College Street Court Apartments, built from 1972 to 1975.
Later, they completed Applewood Knoll, Applewood West and Fairmont School apartments, responding to a housing market need in the 1970s. As the firm gained momentum, Bill Wilson, just 47, died of a heart attack while hunting in 1983. Employees rallied to support Johnson. The quality and volume of work for Johnson Wilson never lessened.
The 1980s brought some higher profile jobs: the $6.3 million downtown Duluth streetscape project in joint venture with Northland Constructors in 1986 and the $10 million Miller Hill Mall expansion in 1987. The types of projects the firm worked on began to expand to include healthcare, office, retail, recreation, churches, education and restaurants.
In 1992, Fred Strom joined the firm, as it continued to gain a reputation for multi-million dollar commercial construction. In 1998, Ron Johnson’s son Shane, vice president of the firm, began to acquire an equity position. Ron’s son (Shane’s brother) Dean joined the firm as vice president in 2004.
As the years have passed, the list of building credentials has grown substantially. But the same standards that Ron Johnson and his first partner Bill Wilson maintained still apply today.
The Johnson Wilson Code
Deal ethically with customers, employees, subcontractors and suppliers.
Use ingenuity to conserve customers’ resources.
Get results you can be proud of.
Relish your vocation.
Keep your sense of humor.
And most importantly, always deliver on your promises.