KGM Contractors Inc. Keeps Business in the Family

Wed March 12, 2008 - Midwest Edition
Jane Sanem



KGM Contractors Inc. in Angora, Minn., is a second-generation heavy highway grading contractor and AGC of Minnesota member since 1988.

Like so many well-run companies, KGM relies on its employees for their expertise and considers them a part of the family. During the peak construction season, KGM employs 125, its core employees number 75.

“We are totally convinced that we have the best construction people in the state. They care about quality as much as we do. We count on them and they come through for us,” Mark Abramson, KGM Contractors Inc., said.

KGM Contractors Inc. is truly a family business — from the KGM initials to the four Abramson siblings who oversee the company.

Karla is president, Mark is corporate secretary and head estimator, Gary is vice president and grading foreman, and Kerry is superintendent. Beginning the Abramson family dynasty was Grandfather Emil with his logging business. Forest started his career working along side his father (Emil) before starting Abramson Construction in the early 1960s. The Abramson siblings grew up in the construction business. Karla, the oldest, started on a bulldozer, just like her brothers.

“Honesty and integrity must always remain number one” is a motto that has been passed on from generation to generation at the Abramson companies. Karla recalled the story of a vendor that was selling KGM a hydrotrack rock drill. The vendor offered KGM Contractors money for an old, antique rock drill that had been Abramson Construction’s.

“Don, I traded that on a drill over ten years ago, it is still in the pit, you already own that drill,” Forest said.

KGM started in the early 1980s, mostly as a trucking business. As more equipment was acquired, KGM started clearing and grubbing, and incorporated in 1984.

KGM specializes in grading, excavating, highway and street construction, drilling and blasting, underground utility work, gravel production, landfill reconstruction and closures, commercial building site preparation, waste water treatment construction, clearing and grubbing. Completed projects range in size from $10,000 to $10 million. Workload ranges between $15 million and $23 million per year.

Although a remote location could be a detriment to some businesses, KGM has the capability of handling a wide range of projects and is willing to travel with its own crews or hire crews in the project location. KGM covers projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. The company is willing to travel farther for the right project or the right owner.

Whether it’s new locations or different types of work, KGM pursues new opportunities. Seeing potential growth in the private sector, KGM is increasing that segment of its business — up 5 percent in 2005. Public projects make up the company’s core work at 85 percent.

KGM recognizes the value of AGC membership.

“It’s the power of AGC contractors doing the best in their industry,” Karla said. “There’s prestige in being an AGC contractor.”

For Mark, it’s the new laws and regulations that AGC passes along to members.

The future looks bright for KGM Contractors Inc. The Abramson “family” works as a team and has a solid work ethic. With its reliable employees and eye for customer service, it will go a long way.

(Some of the material in this Profile appeared in a 2004 article in Road Signs, a publication of Road Machinery & Supplies Co.)