Growth Report 2019

Adolph Johnson & Son Begins 100th Year

By Paul Johnson, president

This is the 100th year for Adolph Johnson & Son Co., which was founded in 1919 as the Johnson-Carlson Co., a builder of fine homes. Three generations later, Adolph Johnson & Son still serves the region’s construction needs as a commercial, industrial and institutional general contractor and design/builder, staying true to the founding principals of quality, integrity and good value.

In 1902, 21-year-old Gustav Adolph Johnson decided to leave Sweden and seek his fortune in America. Initially working in the Pennsylvania coal mines, he moved to the growing city of Youngstown and found work as a carpenter. He worked hard to improve his skills. If he would come across something he didn’t know how to build, he would go to the library at night and learn how it was done.

In 1919, Adolph teamed up with another Swedish carpenter, Andrew Carlson, to form the Johnson-Carlson Co. They built many fine homes in the 1920s, including much of Forest Glen Estates in Boardman. After Carlson passed away, Adolph carried on through the Great Depression.My father told of watching his father roll on the floor in pain with stomach cramps after hocking his watch to meet payroll.

Eventually things got better. The company grew, largely through the addition of dedicated and talented employees, and took on commercial projects. With Adolph’s son, Paul (my father), joining the company after serving in World War II, it flourished and constructed many of the area’s churches.

With only an eighth-grade education, my grandfather studied the philosophy of life and lived with optimism and faith in himself and others. This was behind much of his success. There is no doubt he would be pleased with the growth and direction of his company, all based on the foundation he laid.

We are working with the Mahoning Valley Historical Society to preserve much of the Adolph Johnson & Son story and its relationship with the Mahoning Valley. Exhibits will be on display at our centennial celebration later this year. Meanwhile, we continue to adapt and grow to meet the needs of our customers – old and new.

In 2018, two estimators were added to the staff along with jobsite managers. We continue to invest in the education and training of office and field personnel in order to maintain our excellent safety record and efficiency.

Projects completed in 2018 included two Sheetz stores, one of which was the rebuilding and addition to the first Sheetz store built by Adolph Johnson & Son in 2000 on state Route 46 in Warren. It was also the 25th store we constructed for Sheetz.

Retail, industrial, health care, religious, educational and financial customers all continue to plan and execute new facilities and renovations in this period of economic growth. Preliminary work is underway for industrial expansions and work will start soon on our 26th Sheetz store.

Renovation of the Wick Park Pavilion in Youngstown was an opportunity for us to give back to the community. Working with Youngstown CityScapes, the Rotary Club of Youngstown, Faniro Architects and the city, we participated in major upgrades to this important and much used facility.

Along with the many charitable organizations supported by Adolph Johnson & Son, we were pleased to establish in 2018 an endowment for scholarships to Youngstown State University. The scholarships will be given to YSU students who espouse and promote the traditional American values that allowed the Swedish immigrant, Adolph Johnson, along with many others in the United States, to live a rewarding and successful life.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.