In 1935, at the age of 17, Gilbert Helmkamp leased a flatbed truck and used it to haul coal from Livingston and topsoil from the Mississippi Quarry.  He picked up his load each morning before going to school and then delivered it after school to residents and business owners.

Helmkamp's first office

In 1938 Gilbert bought his own truck and started G. Helmkamp Excavating & Trucking Company.  By 1940 Gilbert had purchased four trucks and was well on his way to establishing a viable business.  Standard Oil Company signed long-term leases for all of the Trucks during the War.  Throughout the mid 1940’s the company continued to grow and accumulate equipment. By 1948 the company had purchased its first tractor from Caterpillar, and the truck fleet had grown to ten.  The company also purchased its first crane in 1948; it was leased immediately to Illinois Power Company.

Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s the company’s growth continued.   The staff had grown to eighty people and the equipment fleet had grown to seventy-five pieces, including cranes, bulldozers, high lifts, and trucks of all kinds.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s the second generation of family joined the business.  Gilbert’s son-in-law, Byron Farrell, a civil engineering graduate from Purdue University joined the firm in 1961.   Gilbert’s son, John Gilbert Helmkamp Jr., an industrial management graduate from Purdue University joined the firm in 1971.

By the late 1970’s, with nearly 300 employees and a large variety of equipment, G. Helmkamp Excavating & Trucking Company had grown to be one of the largest excavating, trucking, and equipment rental companies in the Southern Illinois and the Metropolitan St. Louis market.  The work mix included bridges, roadways, golf courses, sewers and industrial work within several local plants such as American Oil, Granite City Steel, Clark Oil, Illinois Power, Olin, Monsanto, and Shell Oil.

Gilbert Helmkamp, Jack Helmkamp, Byron Farrell

During the 1980’s several transitions occurred.  Coinciding with the passing of Gilbert in the early 1980’s, the insurance market was skyrocketing and the decision was made to sell the majority of the equipment.  The company ownership structure was changed and the company name became Helmkamp Construction Company.  Gilbert’s son, John, left the construction company for the banking business.  Gilbert’s son-in-law, Byron Farrell, was now president and taking the company in new directions.

The company’s work mix and focus was shifted to the private building, industrial, and institutional industry’s.  In an effort to gain more presence in the St. Louis market Helmkamp Construction Company purchased and operated Triad Construction Company.  The name Triad was eventually dropped and the St. Louis work continued to be completed under the name of Helmkamp Construction Company.  New customers included Anheuser Busch, Chrysler, Dial, Ford Motor Co., Insituform, Lever, McDonnell Douglas, St. Louis Terminals, and Warner-Jenkinson.

During the late 1980’s the third generation of family joined the business.  Byron’s son, Brad Farrell, a construction engineering and management graduate from Purdue University in 1985, joined the firm in 1987.

Throughout the late 1980’s and 1990’s the company focused on the repeat professional buyer of construction in the building, industrial, and institutional industries.

Today Helmkamp Construction Company serves the St. Louis and Metro East Construction markets as a full service general contractor with construction management and design/build experience.

Our focus is working for customers who buy construction yearly in a repeat professional manner, mainly in the private building, industrial, and institutional industries.

We self perform many tasks with our own forces directly for the owner, or prime contractors on larger projects.  Currently we have the manpower, expertise, and ability to self perform excavations, pile driving, demolition, concrete foundations and slabs, structural steel, rough carpentry, finish carpentry and millwright equipment installations.

Partnering agreements have proven to be extremely beneficial in that all books are open to our clients.  The open management system and the ability to provide a team with a specific type of experience allows a much tighter control on project budgets, schedules, and overall construction quality. We are very proud of our repeat business status with our customers, and the trusting partnerships and alliances, which include maintenance and capital work with companies such as: Ameren, BJC Health System, Dynegy, Jim’s Formal Wear, Monsanto, Solutia, and Washington University.

A philosophy that started with Gilbert and has been passed on to each generation:

“We have a good group of dedicated employees who are the mainstay of our organization, all of our employees are the company’s largest asset.”