On Nov. 21, 2003, Gregory Grimmer Sr. became the 18th recipient of the SIR award presented by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Indiana.
The SIR award, representing AGC’s philosophy of skill, integrity and responsibility, is the highest honor an AGC chapter can bestow upon its members.. The purpose is to recognize individuals who have made a significant contribution to the construction industry throughout their professional careers.
AGC of Indiana does not routinely present the SIR award. In fact, in the 64 years that AGC of Indiana has been in existence, the chapter has presented only 17 SIR awards.
Greg Grimmer has been deeply involved in industry organizations and community affairs for years. He served on the AGC of Indiana Governmental Affairs Committee for 11 years, holding the positions of treasurer, vice president and president before culminating his executive committee involvement as immediate past president.
Grimmer’s extensive involvement in community affairs includes 30 years of service to the Calumet Builders Association, where he served as past president and labor chairman, and past chairman of Construction Advancement Foundation. He is past president of the town of Highland’s sanitary board, planning commission, and zoning board of appeals. Currently he is a member of the Elks, Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, Trade Winds Pirates, Share Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.
Grimmer’s career began in 1959, while attending Purdue University Calumet; he began working for the City of Hammond engineering department. Three years later, he had earned his associates degree in architectural engineering technology. After 11 years with the city, he started at Vic Kirsch Construction as a superintendent/project estimator, and worked his way up to chief estimator. Thirteen years after starting with Vic Kirsch, he left to start his own business.
In June 1983, with two children in college and five others still at home, Grimmer and his wife Agnes started Grimmer Construction Inc., in the basement of their Highland home with $3,000.
Greg Grimmer’s reputation as honest and hardworking helped him secure business with fellow engineers and contractors in the area. As his business prospered, he purchased a small home and 15 acres in Highland, making this their corporate headquarters .
In 1999, Grimmer Construction’s property was commercially subdivided and construction of a new office building and mechanic’s shop was under way. The mechanic’s shop was completed in October 2000 with six service bays, and a 1-ton and 3-ton overhead crane. The office was complete in March 2001.
Although Grimmer Construction has only been in business for 20 years, it has a proven track record of success, and has become a family legacy as well. Asked how the company grew, Greg Grimmer recalled, “About 10 years ago, I said to the boys, ’If you want to be in the business, we will make it grow. If not, then I’ll run it as a small company. They all came in, and the company has grown substantially since they all started working here.”
All four of Greg Grimmer’s sons, one daughter, and one son-in-law are involved in the business, with Mark Grimmer running day-to-day operations as vice president.
A valuable lesson that has been learned is to keep business and family life as separate as possible. At a certain point, Greg and Agnes Grimmer decided there would be no more “shop talk” in the house.
“We knew it was tough, very tough, to have family all working in business together but everyone gets along very well. We keep the family and business separate. To this day, you do not talk at family functions about work,” Greg Grimmer said.
Grimmer Construction has grown to be one of the most prominent civil contractors in northwest Indiana. Focusing primarily on jobs in Lake and Porter counties, the company’s main emphasis is site utility development.
Its largest job was in the city of Burns Harbor, IN, in which Grimmer Construction installed more than 70,000 linear ft. of main line sanitary sewers, including six lift stations.
“It was a difficult job that took two years to complete but went very well. To dig 20 to 30 feet down can be trying at times but we have a reputation for being able to dig deep,” Greg Grimmer said.
To accomplish this Grimmer Construction has a fleet of more than 25 pieces of equipment, consisting of John Deere, Hitachi, Kobelco, Caterpillar and Case machines.
Throughout his 45-year career, Greg Grimmer has proven success can be achieved through “Skill, Integrity and Responsibility.”