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Since 1925

Always looking forward

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Building great relationships has been the lifeblood of our business. It brings our customers back, it lets us keep the very best of employees, it lets us deliver what we say we’re going to deliver.

W.E. O’Neil has survived and thrived for almost 100 years because of our values. The values that were established by my grandfather, reinforced by my father, reinforced by the third generation—and that the fourth generation lives by.

Bill O’Neil, Previous Chairman
W.E. O'Neil


W.E. O’Neil founded in Chicago, IL
From his humble beginnings as an office boy in the early 1900’s at the architectural firm of Daniel H Burnham, William E. O’Neil could not have imagined the world of innovation and technology that has shaped the way we do business today at W.E. O’Neil.

Early 1930s

W.E. O’Neil survived the Great Depression largely through work on both the Chicago World’s Fair and out-of-state public works contracts in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Washington, DC.


Art O’Neil formally joined W.E. O’Neil in 1935, eleven years after his father had founded the company. He carried with him a strong sense of commitment to serving his employees, his customers, and his community.


World War II quickly pushed us into Army/Navy expansion at Great Lakes and Fort Sheridan in the Chicago district. In 1946, the company instituted a profit-sharing plan, which encouraged giving high priority to employee benefit planning to this day, and eventually evolved into 100% employee-ownership.


Through work on their War Memorial, W.E. O’Neil opened an office in Syracuse, New York. Our relationships there developed into building sections of the U.S. Interstate system through New York, Indiana, and Illinois.


Bill O’Neil continued family leadership with an unwavering obligation to honor the success of his predecessors. Eventually serving as Chairman of the Board, Bill ushered in the fourth generation of family members. Before his retirement in 2020, he worked to ensure that the company remained grounded in the same traditional values that have come to define W.E. O’Neil Construction.


The 1980s saw exciting geographic expansion for W.E. O’Neil. Our first venture was into Tucson Arizona in 1982. Our growth and success in the defense industry also led to our first California office–Los Angeles in 1985.


The O’Neil family created the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). This early ESOP was a program that provided a pathway for employees to share in the ownership of the company. As it evolved, W.E. O’Neil became 100% employee-owned in 2020.


In 1999, we debuted in the Colorado market with our first office in Denver, homegrown through transplanted leaders from our California region.



We expanded into the fast-growing Nashville, Tennessee market through acquisition of SouthLand Constructors, LLC.


More exciting times—our California region expanded into San Diego, CA through acquisition of Hearne Construction.


W.E. O’Neil became 100% employee-owned in 2020! This was a big milestone for us all. Employee-ownership fits our company because it reflects our values.


Welcoming Austin-based DCA Construction into W.E. O’Neil marked an exciting opportunity to formally expand our operations into the Texas market, where we have completed several projects for long-time clients over the last two decades. Learn more.

Join Our Team

Ever wanted to own a company? Join our team and become a fellow employee-owner. Employee ownership is a different way of doing business: we are all 100% accountable and 100% invested. This creates a powerful dynamic that benefits our people, our clients, and our work.

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