In 1911, Edward Kraemer, a 21-year-old carpenter from a small village in Wisconsin, begins his own business with a toolbox, four years of experience as a carpenter, and six employees. Edward Kraemer’s first project as a business owner was the construction of a new home for a friend. His business quickly grew to the construction of houses, barns, cheese factories, schools, and churches in the Village of Plain, Wisconsin, and the surrounding countryside.


In the early 1920s, as automotive travel began to flourish, Sauk County, Wisconsin began seeking contractors to build county roads. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Edward Kraemer’s entrance into the road and bridge business began. The Maxwell and Fargan bridges were the earliest recorded bridges built by Kraemer in 1924 and the first recorded highway contract began on Highway 60 in August 1927. By 1926 there were two distinct branches of the company; buildings and roads.


The WPA (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal Agency) created jobs and invaluable infrastructure during the Great Depression. The WPA played a significant role in the rapid growth of the company. During this period, Edward Kraemer began acquiring quarry leases, heavy equipment, and road contracts.

Significant events between 1930 and 1940 included:

  • Edward Kraemer designs and receives a patent for a self-propelled double-jawed crusher
  • Completion of the largest building project of Edward Kraemer’s career, the St. Luke Catholic Church in Plain, Wisconsin
  • Edward Kraemer’s son Rudy joins the firm after receiving an engineering degree and is followed by brothers Fred and Victor.
  • The first bridge designed by Rudy Kraemer was built in 1936.


In the 1940s, the advent of WWII resulted in numerous new contracts in preparation for the war. From 1940 to 1942 the company engaged in the construction of ammunition plants, government trailer camps, and airport runways. Significant events included: the first out-of-state contracts were in the years of WWII; the construction of a government camp in Coffeyville, Kansas; and the construction of Cincinnati Airport located in Erlanger, Kentucky.
The company experienced rapid expansion in the 1950s. These were the years the road-building industry matured, and the company expanded to construction contracts on a state and national level. Significant events included: the first multi-million dollar contract – a 170-day contract on Highway 51 between Mercer and Hurley County, Wisconsin; construction contract on the first Atomic Energy Plant located south of Detroit; ownership of 70 quarries including the Burnsville Quarry in Burnsville, Minnesota which is still in operation today; and in the late 1950′s construction of buildings was dropped from the Kraemer portfolio as the road and bridge business multiplied.


    President Eisenhower’s vision of an interstate system was in full movement by the 1960s resulting in an explosion of contracts and many “firsts” for Kraemer. Over 15 years, Kraemer was awarded numerous contracts on the interstate system in Madison, Milwaukee, and the Green Bay area. Significant events included: the first out of state Bridge contract in Bettendorf, Iowa; the first construction project in Minnesota – the 10th Avenue Bridge; the first construction of a draw bridge in St Paul, Minnesota; the first construction of a lift bridge in Milwaukee, Minnesota; and regional office opened in Burnsville, Minnesota.
    The 1970s brought Kraemer’s vision of expansion into other states to fruition by frequently winning numerous contracts outside of Wisconsin. Significant events included: founder Edward Kraemer’s death on October 23, 1973, and company expansion into Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri.


      David Kraemer, the third-generation CEO, continued to move the company forward with a belief in aggressive bidding and maintaining a healthy backlog. Significant events include; the first joint venture I-35E/I-94; the largest dollar volume projects were the Missouri River Bridge ($23.7M) and Burlington, Iowa Cable-Stayed Bridge ($35.5 M); the first dam construction on the Starved Rock Dam in LaSalle, Illinois; first construction of MSE walls (and first in Wisconsin) on the Rose Street Viaduct; sale of Toledo, Ohio quarry in 1992, crushing business in 1996, and Burnsville landfill operations in 1997; first true design-build project in Bettendorf, Iowa of a bridge over railroad access to Lady Luck Casino; and Page Avenue construction of twin 17-span bridges across the Missouri River.


      Significant events included:

      • I-270/I-70 Interchange – construction of the highest volume interchange contract awarded to date (2001-2003) for the Missouri DOT

      • Troup Howell Bridge – Construction of the Troup Howell Bridge over the Genessee River was New York’s largest construction project to date (2004 – 2007)

      • Scott Peterson named President and CEO in 2006

      • Dave Zanetell was named President in 2016; Scott Peterson remains CEO


      • Marquette Interchange – Demolition and replacement of an entire interchange involving the construction of 21 bridges

      • Woodrow Wilson Bridge – Kraemer designed and innovative falsework system to construct three bascule bridges spanning across the Potomac River

      • Lock & Dam Navigation Embankment Improvements – First contracts awarded by St. Paul, Minnesota U.S. Army Corps of Engineers utilizing the design-build procurement method