Phalen Steel Construction Company celebrates its 70th consecutive year in business, this year.
The first project for the business, founded by R. E. (Rich) Phalen, Sr., was a new quonset hut at the corner of Monroe and Main Street (replaced later by the Mendota Kanteen Building) for which the foundation was poured on Christmas Eve Day in 1945, and was to serve as an experimental lab for the H.D. Hume Company. Mr. Phalen started the project, while on holiday vacation from the Sublette Elevator, which he had managed for several years. "I remember it clearly," Mr. Phalen said, "I nearly froze my finger tips off." Mr. Phalen had notified the elevator earlier that fall that he had made his mind up to enter construction full-time starting January 1, 1946, and his business began operations from his residence at 303 Seventh Avenue, before building their new facilities on Railroad Street East of the C. B. & Q. Freight House. The office was later moved to the corner of Eighth Street and Sixth Avenue, and the present facilities were constructed in 1955 - 1956.
Phalen Steel Construction Company (Formerly Mendota Building Service, Inc. and later Phalen Construction Company) has been a general contractor and Butler Building dealer since 1948; their office, warehouse, garages and shop consist of more than 25,000 square feet of Butler Buildings located on four (4) acres of land at Junction 51 & 52 North, Mendota, Illinois.
Mr. Phalen became a Butler Builder in 1948, and incorporated as Mendota Building Service, Inc. in 1949. Mr. Phalen subsequently formed Butler Builderships in Champaign, Galesburg, Peoria and Rockford, Illinois. A general reorganization was effected in 1962 with the Mendota, Peoria and Rockford Companies being merged, and Mendota Building Service, Inc. became Phalen Construction Company (of Mendota); the Champaign and Galesburg companies had previously been sold.
W. G. (Bill) Phalen began working with his father, when in high school, and worked each summer of 1947 - 1950 and full time from 1952 - 1953 at which time he enlisted in the air force for four (4) years. He was discharged in 1957, attended L. P. O. Junior College 1957 - 1959, and served as Construction Manager for his father from 1959 - 1962. In 1962 Bill formed his own steel erection company, incorporated as Phalen Steel Construction Company, and later formed steel erection companies in Peoria and Rockford, Illinois.
In 1967, R. E. Phalen, Sr., planning his retirement, sold the Peoria buildership to L. H. (Benny) Clarke, and the Rockford buildership to F. S. (Floyd) Rickard; each having been long-time employees and general managers of their respective divisions. Both were former Mendota residents. W. G. (Bill) Phalen purchased the Mendota buildership in 1968, and thus, Phalen Construction Company (of Mendota) became Phalen Steel Construction Company.
Elaine Phalen, Bill's sister joined her father's firm in 1955 as secretary and bookkeeper, and in 1962 joined Bill as secretary cost accountant and payroll clerk; she retired in 1986.
The third generation of Phalen's joined the firm in various stages. Dan Phalen -- President joined the firm directly after graduation from high school in 1976, Mike Phalen -- V.P. of Sales, a graduate of Illinois State University, joined the firm in 1980, Doug Phalen -- V.P. of Development joined the firm in 1981 after graduating from Western Illinois University, Tim Phalen, after graduating from Northern Illinois University, joined the firm in 2001 and Steve Phalen -- General Superintendent joined the firm in 1988 after attending Southern Illinois University. All of the sons worked in the field at various trades before assuming their current positions.
The fourth generation of Phalen's joined the firm in 2010, with Tammy Wise (Phalen) taking over the position of secretary/receptionist after graduating from Northern Illinois University.
Phalen Steel Construction Company has twenty full- time employees; namely, Dan Phalen - President, Sue McCollom - Secretary/Treasurer, Alan Russell - V.P. of Architecture and Engineering - AIA and State of Illinois Licensed Architect - LEED AP Course Graduate, Mike Phalen - V.P. of Sales, Doug Phalen - V. P. of Development - Economic Development Finance Professional and LEED AP Course Graduate, Tim Phalen - VP of Market Development, Steve Phalen - General Superintendent/Safety Manager, Tammy Wise - Secretary/Bookkeeper, Tina McPheeters - Secretary/Bookkeeper, Jim Hannah - Sales Engineer - LEED AP Course Graduate, Kevin Carey - Chief Draftsman, Marc Zeglis - Draftsman and Architect Understudy - LEED AP Course Graduate, Mike Silfies - General Superintendent, Chuck Montavon, General Superintendent, Rick Uranich - General Superintendent, Brandon King - General Superintendent, Rich Studebaker - Warehouse Manager and Mark Lane - Warehouseman.
Phalen Steel Construction Company offers Design and Build construction services for community, commercial, industrial and institutional facilities, and has the Butler Building franchise for the counties of Bureau, Carroll, Henry, LaSalle, Lee, Marshall, Ogle, Putnam and Whiteside. Approximately eighty percent (80%) of Phalen's work is negotiated on a Design and Build basis and many with repeat customers.