History

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Frank H. “Bud” Paschen
1936 – 2016

Frank H. “Bud” Paschen had a clear vision for F.H. Paschen when he founded the company more than 40 years ago—a place where teamwork and innovation thrives and qualities like hard work, meeting deadlines, solving problems, handling messes and keeping promises are highly prized.

Add to those values a passion for construction, for seeing cranes swinging on a job site and something being built. That equaled fun for Bud Paschen, whose highest honor was receiving a high five from a satisfied client. A descendent of builders, Paschen’s legacy to his company is in those core values and in his vision to entrust the future of the company to his dedicated employees.

To know the history of Paschen is to understand a company that has never settled for the status quo. We are continually evolving and building to expand our expertise, and to better serve our clients and our community.

Founded by a fourth generation contractor, F.H. Paschen dates from 1975 when Frank H. “Bud” Paschen started his own company. Raised on construction and a strong work ethic, Frank grounded his firm in the values he learned working for his family’s business. He understood that deadlines and handshakes matter, that taking care of problems and getting the job done makes all the difference, and that a high five from a satisfied client is the greatest reward.

Paschen Brothers

The Paschen legacy began in 1871—the year of the Great Chicago Fire—when Bud’s great grandfather, Christian Paschen, started a tuck-pointing business. Chicago was rebuilding and its population exploding, making this period a profitable time for construction. Christian used his success to help two of his sons, Frank (Bud’s grandfather) and Henry, launch their own venture, and in 1902, Paschen Brothers Construction Company opened for business. A few years later, a third brother, Jacob, joined the firm, which would grow to become one of the largest construction companies in Chicago.

Paschen Contractors

In 1938, Paschen Brothers was renamed Paschen Contractors, Inc, both to reflect the company’s growth and to recognize a second generation of Paschens becoming officers in the organization. As the country came out of the Depression, PCI expanded its work in the transportation sector, building and rehabbing roads and bridges all over the Chicago area. Paschen Contractors continued to leave its mark on Chicago with high-profile projects and important infrastructure work, including the tunnels under the Chicago River for the Subway; the Jardine Water Purification Plant, one of the largest water treatment plants in the world; and part of The Deep Tunnel, a massive tunnel built to reduce flooding and pollution in the Chicago area. Paschen also worked on major commercial projects throughout the city including building the Dirksen and Kluczynski federal buildings, working on the reconstruction and expansion of McCormick Place, and building other major projects in Chicago like the Olympia Centre, Chicago Board of Trade Addition, and the IBM Building.

In the 1970s and 1980s, PCI expanded its scope, building IBM facilities in Missouri, Virginia and New York and working on projects in California, Florida, Virginia and Washington, most notably Tampa’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

Branching Off

In 1975, Frank H. “Bud” Paschen founded what would later become F.H. Paschen. Frank grew up watching his father work on projects and dreaming of one day owning his own company. As a teen, he began working on construction sites alongside laborers and then learned the business at Northwestern University and in the estimator’s office at Paschen Contractors, Inc.

The company began humbly, remodeling post offices and performing other remodeling and rehabilitation work. But within a decade, Paschen had expanded operations outside Illinois into three new states and entered the heavy construction market, winning contracts for major transit, highway and bridge projects.

A New Name and New Markets

In 1985, to reflect the company’s broader scope of services as well as an expanded service area, its name officially became F.H. Paschen, Inc. Paschen was in a period of sustained growth, expanding into new markets such as municipalities, school districts, colleges and universities and public housing authorities. At this time, the Job Order Contract (JOC) division was formed to better serve the new and growing clientele.

Acquiring S.N. Nielsen

With an eye toward new markets, F.H. Paschen expanded once again with the 1992 acquisition of S.N. Nielsen, one of Chicago’s oldest general contracting firms. The purchase helped increase F.H. Paschen’s expertise in the areas, of healthcare, educational, and institutional facilities. Prominent S.N. Nielsen projects include work for Rush University Medical Center and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Paschen Today

There’s barely an area of construction that F.H. Paschen hasn’t touched. Paschen has constructed, rebuilt, renovated and repaired bridges, libraries, commercial and private properties, healthcare facilities, major highways, municipal buildings, religious institutions, transit systems, and waste water treatment facilities along with countless other projects.

F.H. Paschen continues Bud’s legacy, leading the company with his entrepreneurial spirit and the values he established when founding the company more than 40 years ago.