Tribco Construction History

Like so many great companies that have been around for decades, Tribco was born out of two people’s vision for a better future. Gerald McCollam and William Trible spent the better part of 25 years working together at a Chicago construction company, developing a passion for the construction business. Fueled by a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and a burning desire to make their own mark on the industry, Gerald and William took the leap and opened their own business in 1975.

In the 1970s, McCall Construction, a general contracting construction company, was founded by Gerald McCollam and William Trible. A sister company, Tribco, was established at the same time as a subsidiary of McCall, with a focus on the concrete component. Some of the initial projects included two large buildings in the Quad Cities (Silvice and Ridgewood Towers), the Three Illinois Center building, as well as several projects outside of Illinois.

By the 1980s, the company made the strategic decision to leave the general contracting space, keeping the Tribco concrete component as their primary focus. Cast-in-place concrete construction became the company’s specialty, and the organization began to experience rapid growth. At this time, Tribco was building a number of landmark projects, including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago’s Museum Campus, and several other high-rise buildings and parking garages. With several notable, large-scale projects underway and a reputation for quality work and high-caliber service, Tribco started making significant headway establishing itself as Chicago’s premier concrete construction company. Then, in 1986, Tribco experienced a shift in leadership, with Gerald McCollam taking on sole ownership of the company.

The early 1990s showed promise for continued growth, as the company continued to gain ground on the local market. But then, in the mid-90’s, the economic climate took a turn and with it, a recession. As construction jobs in the Chicago area soon became scarce, Tribco made the strategic decision to branch out from their core project work to take on different types of projects. This willingness to change and adapt during trying times proved successful. After a run of smaller jobs, the company landed two big contracts: the Chicago Board of Trade addition, and the reconstruction of Navy Pier. A turning point in Tribco’s history, these projects sparked a series of internal changes, including the restructure of the company leadership and services. “Tribco Construction Company” became “Tribco Construction Services,” and named its first female company president, Susan McCollam.

With the new changes, Tribco remained strong through the early 2000’s, and was busy developing the Chicago skyline with projects like the Peninsula Hotel and Sofitel Hotel, as well as a series of towers for Museum Park and the University of Chicago Medicine Building.

During this period of growth, a new organizational opportunity presented itself. Tribco was approached with an offer to combine it’s rich local history and valuable expertise in concrete construction with Ceco Concrete Construction, a national sub-contractor with a solid reputation, strong network of offices across the United States, and invaluable resources.

In 2005, Ceco officially acquired Tribco, while both continued to operate independently within Chicagoland. Each firm leveraged the resources of the other toward continued growth – overcoming a deep recession, evolving technological demands, and high safety standards. The first dual Tribco and Ceco project was the Art Institute of Chicago.

With internal changes taking hold in 2008, the company (and country!) was also experiencing the height of the country’s economic recession. Tribco was again battling the challenges of a slow economy; it was operating on the only tower project in downtown Chicago, a true symbol of the toll of the times. During the next few years the company relied on its grit, determination, and the willingness to be creative to overcome the recession. Then, in 2012 Tribco started landing high-value work in Chicago again, and had the opportunity to take on national projects, like the Nashville Convention Center, thanks to its merger with Ceco.

Today, the bonding, financial, safety, engineering and management of Tribco Construction Services is stronger than ever. Combining resources with Ceco allowed the new Tribco to increase capacity, improve client responsiveness, elevate clarity as a single resource for clients, and add 60 years of rich history to its story. The merger enhanced both Ceco-Chicago and Tribco’s commitments to existing clients, and proves its dedication to go to great lengths for excellence.

For decades, Tribco has built the Chicago skyline … and beyond. As the company looks to the next 100 years, its excited to continue collaborating with industry partners to develop new solutions and better ways to deliver the most value possible. With solid corporate structure and financial backing, a talented in-house team, and significant field experience, Tribco’s future is as bright as ever.