From Humble Beginnings: The Second Generation

 In Industry, Insights
HISTORY

FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS…

1930 – 1968: The Second Generation of CG Schmidt

With 2020 marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of CG Schmidt, we wanted to take the time to reflect on the long journey our company has taken to becoming one of the Midwest’s largest and most respected construction management firms. This is a multi-part series, focusing on each generation of the Schmidt family leadership. We hope you enjoy this look into our past and come back for the rest of the story.

[READ PART 1]

Charles G. Schmidt – the original “CG Schmidt”

A ROCKY START IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION

By 1930, Charles Sr. had retired, passing the reins to his son, Charles G. Schmidt, or “C.G.” or “Charlie” to his friends and family. With the Great Depression in full swing, construction across the country was at a standstill and Milwaukee was no exception. C.G. kept the business operating as a side job, completing whatever concrete jobs he could get in the evenings and on weekends, while also working full-time for a coal company to pay the bills. C.G. would even use the company truck to make deliveries. When the construction and development market began to pick up steam later in the decade, C.G. diversified the business to include carpentry and masonry services.

In the 1940’s the young company opened its office and yard on Richards Street in north Milwaukee. Although the office would move twice more over the years, CG Schmidt still maintains their yard operations on this site more than 70 years later.

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Charles Schmidt and young CG in the early 1900's
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CG holding son and future CG Schmidt president Richard Sr. in the 1930's

THE POST-WAR YEARS

In 1946, following the end of World War II, C.G. incorporated the company and “Charles Schmidt & Sons Construction” became “CG Schmidt, Inc.” In the post-war boom years, the company began to experience considerable growth, expanding into more diverse and complex projects. Under C.G.’s leadership, the company began building churches, grocery stores, hospitals, schools, banks, restaurants, factories, office buildings and shopping centers. In the mid-1950’s CG Schmidt completed our first K-12 school project for the School District of Brown Deer, a relationship we continue to this day.

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CG Schmidt's office on Richards Street in North Milwaukee
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St. Luke's Hospital gets a major addition in 1964
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Construction underway on the now-defunct Stopler Steel

CHARLIE’S LEGACY

Charles G. Schmidt served as the president of his namesake company from 1929 to 1968, remaining in charge of operations into the 1970’s and serving as Chairman of the Board until his death in 1989. As he began to divest direct control over the company, he ran what became known as “Charlie’s Gang,” the company’s repair crew and what has become CG Schmidt’s Special Projects Group. At times the crew was so successful that they made as much money as the main construction division. During his 60 years of leadership, Charlie took the company his father founded from struggling concrete contractor during the Great Depression, to a successful general contractor known throughout the greater Milwaukee area for taking on some of the toughest projects in the city at the time. But even bigger things were in store in the years to come.

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Stay tuned for part three: The Third Generation.

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