SIDNEY – With an emphasis on the people who helped sustain the company through the past century, Ferguson Construction Co. celebrated its 100th anniversary Thursday evening.
“Without the people we wouldn’t be here at all,” Ferguson Construction President Douglas Fortkamp said. “We wouldn’t have made the first year. Everything is about the people. If you get the chance to work with this group, we’re a very eclectic group, but they’re a phenomenal team.”
Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst, the master of ceremonies for Thursday’s celebration, said statistics show less than 1 percent of all American businesses survive 100 years.
“With the law of averages, this is an event that shouldn’t even be taking place,” the mayor said. “The odds of a company celebrating a century of service to its customers are heavily weighted in favor of that not happening.”
Throughout the festivities, speakers attributed Ferguson’s success to its employees and customers.
“It’s not easy, and it takes a huge amount of great people. Great people,” Mick Given, Ferguson’s CEO and chairman of the board, said. “Ferguson has been blessed for 100 years with having fabulous people, smart people, dedicated people, terrific customers.”
Ferguson was founded in 1920 in Sidney and has grown to have more than 350 employees at four offices in Sidney, Columbus, Dayton and Indianapolis. The company specializes in creating health care, commercial, government, educational, industrial, retail and manufacturing spaces.
More than 200 people gathered for Thursday’s celebration, including employees from all four of Ferguson’s offices.
“It’s phenomenal,” Fortkamp said. “It’s the commitment level of the people. We didn’t ask them to come; they came because of their love of the company. I couldn’t be more thankful for the people that we have.”
Planning for the 100th anniversary celebration, which included commemorations throughout the year, began in June 2018. A highlight of the celebration was Thursday’s dedication of Ferguson Shelter – a shelter house across from the Ferguson office for the entire Sidney community to use.
“I’m so proud of our committee because what they came back with is something that can be shared with the local community for years to come,” Given said.
Flanking the shelter house are two pillars that will be adorned by plaques Given unveiled Thursday evening. One plaque is dedicated to the city of Sidney in honor of Ferguson Construction’s 100th anniversary and the other is dedicated to the city in honor of Thomas E. Given, Mick Given’s father and the Ferguson president from 1970-86.
“I just wish my father could be here with me today, but he’s here in a different spirit,” Given said of his father, who died in January 2019.
The plaques are dated June 10, 2018 – the day the 100th anniversary celebration originally was to take place before the COVID-19 pandemic led to its postponement.
“We felt that everyone would understand under the circumstances,” Given said of the wrong date being included on the plaques.
Recognizing the other past presidents of the company, Given also unveiled replicas of plaques that detail the company’s history. The originals are displayed in the company’s headquarters, and each family of a past president received a replica.
Also as part of Thursday’s ceremonies, Ohio Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, R-Montpelier, each spoke in recognition of Ferguson’s centennial.
“What your business has made possible over 100 years is to support thousands of families and give them the ability to earn a living and raise their family and buy a home and a car and pay for education,” said Husted, who said he’s known Given since he first ran for office in 2000. “It’s opened the door for the American dream for generations, and that’s something to be really, really proud of.”
Davidson, a Sidney native, commended Ferguson for its century of work.
“It takes a team to do it, it takes an amazing team to do it well, and it takes a long succession of amazing teams to do it for 100 years,” the congressman said.
Ferguson will continue to grow, Fortkamp said, while providing the service that’s allowed it to flourish for a century.
“I came here 23, 24 years ago having no idea what I was looking for when I came up for an interview, and I fell in love with the family,” he said. “I fell in love with the commitment. I fell in love with the innovation. And don’t tell me what I can’t do because I’m going to show you what I can do. That is how we’re going to move forward.”
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