91 Years of History
Every great company has a great story. Ours begins with a Danish teenager who landed on Ellis Island in 1900 with $24 in his pocket.
Along with a few bucks and the clothes on his back, this young man had one goal in mind: To achieve the American Dream by changing its skyline.
In other words, Soren N. Jacobsen wanted to build.
The millwright apprentice made his way to his uncle’s home near Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he built farm houses for $1 a day plus room and board. After working in Iowa and Wyoming for several years, Soren relocated to Salt Lake City and worked there until an earthquake hit San Francisco in 1906.
We know what “earthquake” means, and so did Soren… lots of buildings would need rebuilding. He quit his job in Salt Lake City and soon found himself working in a cabinet shop in San Francisco. As luck would have it, one of the tenants in Soren’s boarding house was the construction superintendent for the Fairmont Hotel; he was hired and, in no time, was working as a foreman, overseeing 40 carpenters on the Fairmont. He spent the next few years learning all he could and, by the time Soren left San Francisco in 1911, he had gained the experience he needed while completing two of the most notable Bay Area hotels: The Fairmont and The Bellevue.
Soren returned to Salt Lake City—the hometown of his new bride, Anna Jensen—and went to work as a general superintendent for the Villadsen brothers. They were experts in concrete and reinforcing steel work and, as a result, doing much of the work in and around Salt Lake City at that time. In 1922, after a decade with the Villadsens, Soren partnered with well-known builder Oliver Hodgson and together they hung their own shingle as a general contracting company. Soren eventually bought out his partner and over the next 20 years completed a number of projects, including the original Primary Childrens Hospital, the Deseret News Building and, the pride of his career, the Los Angeles LDS Temple.
In 1941 Soren’s sons, Ted and Leo, became partners in the company, which did a lot of work for the U.S. Government during World War II. When the war ended, building shifted back to the private sector; the Jacobsens reorganized as a corporation and built a number of projects in Nevada and Idaho, as well as three more temples for the LDS Church.
After WWII, Ted C. (Soren's son) became president; then Ted M. (Leo's son), became president in 1974. In 1996 Ted M. passed the President/CEO torch to Lonnie M. Bullard, but remained Chairman of the Board until his retirement in 2004—at which time Lonnie also assumed the Chairman role.
In 2006 Douglas C. Welling was named President and COO; in 2011 Doug was made CEO, and Lonnie continues to serve as Board Chairman. Like the Jacobsen men before them, Doug and Lonnie share Soren’s passion for changing skylines for the better, and have successfully led our company to that end on hundreds of projects.
Today more than 500 Jacobsen employees span the country—and the world—fulfilling Soren’s vision. High-rises and hospitals, Olympic arenas and college campuses, opulent resorts and authentic restorations… we’ve built them all on our founder’s unwavering foundation of hard work, determination and integrity.
Soren would be proud.
For more information about the history
of Jacobsen Construction, click here