For Pete, Paul and Mike U’Ren, construction has been a way of life. It has also been the way they make a living for parts of the past six decades.
It all started in the late 60s with a solid foundation, literally. The three sons of Kenneth “Corky” U’Ren were working for their dad, who was building sectional housing but was having trouble finding people to do the foundation work for those buildings.
So, the three U’Ren brothers went into business for themselves building those foundations, at first supplying them for the houses their dad’s company was building. The wood foundation building business was seeing success, but there was a feeling the company needed a simpler name that really reflected what they were all about.
That, said Paul, is when Mike came up with the name Everstrong, which reflected the quality and durability of the work they were doing. As that company grew, it moved into its location east of Redwood Falls, which more recently housed the Redwood County Recycling Center.
The company expanded in the 70s and got into a new form of construction, which resulted in great growth for Everstrong – earth shelters. The company Earth Shelter Systems, Inc. was established, and according to Paul, they were building those earth homes throughout the United States. Many of those constructed by the local company are still in existence today.
Then the 80s hit, and inflation skyrocketed.
“Construction shut down everywhere,” said Paul, adding it was a huge struggle economically.
By 1984 Everstrong in essence started over, moving away from the earth homes to a much larger scope of work that has had them doing everything from building houses, commercial buildings, churches, municipal airport buildings to so much more.
“One of our first jobs was building nine houses on the Lower Sioux Community,” said Paul, adding that work was accomplished in 10 weeks.
Paul U’Ren, who serves as company CFO, said Everstrong began focusing its work in the midwest, and in recent years most of its jobs have been in Minnesota and the states surrounding it.
While the name may not be visible from the outside, the Everstrong company has had a huge impact on the local area. Paul listed off a number of buildings that were either erected or expanded by Everstrong Construction, whether it was the addition at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, construction of the Redwood Area Community Center or the concession stands at the Inglis Track complex.
Everstrong has erected airport buildings in a number of communities from Willmar to Olivia, as well as Brainerd and Bemidji.
For the past several years, Everstrong has been housed in a building it built along Minnesota Highway 19 east of Redwood Falls, but this past November the company moved to a new location outside of town on Redwood County Highway 1 between Redwood Falls and Clements.
“We sold our old facility to allow our neighbor, Artex, to expand,” said Paul. “We moved out and to our new location within a month.”
The new location is ideal for the company, said Paul, as it not only provides an office building with room for expansion but also includes lots of storage space. Paul added much of the building space that they now own was initially built by Everstrong.
“We have a lot more space here,” said Paul, adding with almost 10 acres of land the company also has plenty of room for expansion.
As a general contracting company, Everstrong of rural Redwood Falls bids projects and works with other sub-contractors to provide everything from design to the mechanical, structural and electrical needs for a project. Paul said Everstrong currently employs 15 people but during its busiest times will have up to 20 people working with them. Other changes are also happening at Everstrong.
“We recently acquired the assets of a small bridge building company,” said Paul.
The company leadership recognized the fact that there are a number of bridges in the region that are nearing the end of their life and will need to be replaced. Paul added the previous owner of that company has agreed to stay on and serve in an advisory role as Everstrong gets its feet wet in that portion of the construction industry.
Things are always busy at Everstrong, said Paul, adding with the potential to do work year around, there really isn’t a construction season anymore. While the buildings erected by Everstrong speak for themselves, Paul said the company takes pride in the number of repeat customers it has gained over the years.
In addition to Paul, Pete serves as company president, while Mike retired a couple of years ago.
Walking through the shop area, Paul agreed it is also exciting to see the next generation of the U’Ren family, with the addition of Leif and Chad U’Ren, which just adds to the feeling that Everstrong truly is a family business.
To learn more about Everstrong, visit its Web site at www.everstrongconstruction.com.