Now and Forever: Longtime Chicago Construction Firm F.H. Paschen Rooted in City’s History — And Helping Build its Future

You know their work — the rebuild of the Jane Addams Tollway, Washington/Wabash Elevated CTA Station, new O’Hare Airport Concourse L Stinger, CTA 95th Red Line Terminal Improvement and 41st Street Pedestrian Bridge were built by historic Chicago-based contractor F.H. Paschen. Their projects help facilitate the flow of millions of people in and around Chicago every day.

The Paschen legacy in construction began back in 1871, when Christian Paschen started a tuck-pointing business. Four generations later, Frank H. “Bud” Paschen ventured out on his own from the family business and founded F.H. Paschen, which has now been in business for over 40 years. Sadly Bud passed away in 2016, but his legacy, spirit and values serve as the foundation upon which F.H. Paschen continues to build.

While F.H. Paschen’s legacy is rooted in Chicago’s history, today its focus is on modernizing the future.

Today F.H. Paschen constructs, renovates and repairs bridges, schools, airports, commercial properties, healthcare facilities, major highways, municipal buildings, religious institutions, maintenance facilities and transit systems in Chicago and other regions throughout the United States.

The Paschen name has become known for a strong work ethic, meeting deadlines and keeping promises — in addition to creating opportunities for disadvantaged businesses and individuals in the communities where projects were located. For new construction projects, the Paschen team meets with community leaders, minority and disadvantaged subcontractors and various community outreach groups to identify new opportunities for local businesses and residents. F.H. Paschen remains committed to diversity and inclusion as is noted in its most recent award as the Most Inclusive Prime Contractor of the Year.  

Though the company has evolved and expanded over the last 40 years, Bud’s legacy and values continue to drive F.H. Paschen’s business today, and F.H. Paschen employees remain dedicated to donating their time, talent and resources to many charitable causes and organizations, especially in undeserved Chicago communities.

Under the leadership of Bud’s successor and current CEO of F.H. Paschen, Jim Blair, F.H. Paschen continues to invest in the local community through programs like Paschen University, which puts on free educational seminars for minority and disadvantaged businesses, and the Paschen Engineering Scholars Program with George Westinghouse College Prep, a Chicago Public High School on the city’s West Side.

F.H. Paschen’s community support by the numbers:

  • Welcomed 24 interns who are Chicago Public Schools students
  • Welcomed 28 college interns
  • Supported 17 Paschen Scholars from George Westinghouse College Prep: Started in 2015, Paschen Scholars provides students a three year program that includes hands-on activities which allow the Scholars to develop technical skills, build problem-solving abilities and gain real world work experience. F.H. Paschen also provides the Scholars with summer education opportunity at the Illinois Institute of Technology and sponsors the cost of each student’s tuition.
  • Provided over 20 years of support to Joey’s Angels: F.H. Paschen has been a prominent sponsor of Joey’s Angels, a chapter of the Leukemia Research Foundation, since its inception in 1996. To-date, Joey’s Angels has raised over $2.3 million.
  • Partnered with Dunbar Vocational Academy: A program new in 2018, this partnership gives CPS students the opportunity to create a pipeline from high school to the trades and give students a real-life experience.
  • Partnered with ACE Technical High School: For 10 years Paschen has prepared ACE Tech students for careers in architecture, construction, and engineering. These summer interns are exposed to all aspects of Paschen’s business.
  • Offered job training with the ComEd Construct program: Since 2016, Paschen has partnered with ComEd for an eleven-week training program that provides minorities with information and guidance to help them compete for entry-level jobs in construction-related fields.
  • Partnered with Chicago CRED (Create Real Economic Destiny) — F.H. Paschen hired a 2017 CRED graduate, who is now employed by Paschen full-time and working on the 95th Street CTA Terminal project. Chicago CRED provides employment opportunities to young men in Chicago’s South and West Side neighborhoods.

“Bud was a great friend and mentor,” Blair said. “He and his family have been building Chicago for more than 100 years. I know the importance of Bud’s legacy and the culture and priorities that were important to him and our whole organization is committed to continuing to build our business on these exact same standards.”

Also among F.H. Paschen’s proud accomplishments includes the success of the Preferred Projects Group, which provides individualized attention and customized services to people with tightly constrained budgets, people who need work done while keeping their facilities operational, and people who need jobs completed on short notice with quick turnarounds.

F.H. Paschen specializes in building long-term relationships with repeat clients by adapting to an owner’s preferred method of construction and procurement. The collaboration, determination, adaptability, and resources we bring to each and every project is what makes us a preferred contractor.

Mika Stambaugh