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.
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.