In 1947, 37 year old entrepreneur, Robert Edward Carlson, began his journey in becoming a business owner with the support of his wife, Mabel. Out of his kitchen in Chicago, he started a moving company. Shortly thereafter, with a loan of $350 from his brother-in-law, he bought his first truck and began delivering coal and black dirt instead. The business expanded to include concrete subcontracting, performing work for Steele & Loeber garage floors and City of Chicago sidewalks, with secretarial support of his wife, Mabel and the help of his oldest son, Robert S. Carlson (Bob). Hence, the original name of the company was R. Carlson & Son.
In the late 1950’s, Robert moved to Harvey, Illinois and built a new home with an office, later building a warehouse for his equipment. Business expanded again, providing clients with full-fledged General Contracting services. Robert’s attention to detail and determination on his first G.C. project, a Sinclair Oil fuel station, was a roaring success.
Business began to expand once potential clients heard about the growing reputation of R. Carlson and Son in the construction industry. By the early 1960’s, R. Carlson and Son was building fuel stations for an array of clients.
Robert and Mabel Carlson’s 3 sons and 2 daughters, Bob, Bud, Wilbur, Barbara, and Linda, were pivotal to the success of the business. In 1960 when R. Carlson & Son became incorporated, the business name changed to R. Carlson & Sons, Inc. Bob was an integral part of the business since the early 1950’s and Bud and Wilbur became heavily involved in the 1960’s. Bud was instrumental in updating Company accounting principles and practices, sustaining the Company financially for decades. Wilbur expanded capabilities to include excavating services. Barbara provided secretarial support at the office and guided financial decisions for her family business for over 50 years.
In 1968, Robert Carlson passed away, leaving the growing company in the hands of his three sons, Bob, Bud, and Wilbur. In the early 1970’s, the “Sons” decided to terminate concrete services and concentrate on general contracting, wrecking, and excavating and also moved the business to Mokena, Illinois. After several leadership changes between the sons, Bob’s brother-in-law, and husband of Barbara, Bill Sieczkowski, Sr., purchased half of the company in 1976, forming a partnership with Bob. Bill Sr. managed all excavation activities, oversaw all office operations, while Bob continued to manage general contracting.
Upon Bob’s passing in 1988, Bill Sieczkowski Sr. acquired full ownership of R. Carlson and Sons, Inc., which had expanded its project portfolio to include restaurants, strip malls, and maintained a heavy emphasis on fuel stations, excavation, and underground storage tank work.
In the early 1990’s, two of Barb and Bill’s children, Bill Jr. and Brenda, joined the business as third-generation employees. Brenda managed excavation operations and office staff, while Bill Jr. modernized the way that the company manages general contracting projects with an emphasis on safety. The team provided great value and professionalism to their customers, propelling R. Carlson and Sons through the new millennium.
32 years after owning the company, Bill Sr. sold the company to Bill Jr. and Brenda, who have held full ownership of R. Carlson and Sons, Inc. since 2008.
Bill Jr. and Brenda continue to expand operations through large sitework projects and repeat multisite retail construction. Technology modernization has been key to their long term success.
The family business continues to grow and evolve today under the leadership and partnership of Bill Sieczkowski, Jr. and Brenda Smith, grandchildren of Robert E. Carlson and children of Bill and Barbara (Carlson) Sieczkowski.