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 Tribble 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, McColl Construction, a general contracting construction company, was founded by Gerald McCollam and William Tribble. A sister company, Tribco, was established at the same time as a subsidiary of McColl, with a focus on the concrete component and millwork erection. Some of the initial projects included 701 Lee St. in Des Plaines, Illinois, two retirement apartment buildings (Silvis and Ridgewood Towers) in the Quad Cities, the Three Illinois Center building, 205 and 215 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, as well as The Durham Apartments in Edina, Minnesota, and The Bennington Apartments in Arlington, Virgina.

In the early 1980s, McColl Construction Co. along with Tribco built several residential projects including 8th and State, River City, four townhouse projects on the Near North Side as well as 111 S Marquette Apartments in Minneapolis.

In the mid-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, 190 S LaSalle St, 181 West Madison, Oakbrook Terrace Tower, NBC Tower, Ralph Metcalfe Federal Building, Harold Washington Library, Chicago Bar Association, 175 and 195 East Harbor Drive, 500 West Monroe and several other high-rise buildings and parking garages. Outside of Chicago, Tribco built the One California Plaza, The Museum of Contemporary Art, 1000 Wilshire Blvd and the Long Beach Airport Marriot Hotel, all in Southern California. 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.

In the early 1990s, the economic climate took a turn and with it, a real estate recession developed. As construction jobs in the Chicago area soon became scarce, Tribco made the strategic decision to branch out from their core high-rise project work to take on different types of projects including the UPS Distribution Center in Hodgkins, Illinois, Navy Pier Reconstruction and Cook County Jail Division XI. This willingness to change and adapt during trying times proved successful, and the company survived the recession.

In 1995, Tribco underwent a restructuring of company leadership and services. “Tribco Construction Company” became “Tribco Construction Services” and named its first female company president, Susan McCollam Yant. At the same time, Tribco landed the Chicago Board of Trade Annex project and a number of smaller jobs.

By 1997, the real estate market had recovered, and Tribco started Park Newberry Condominium, a string of four condominium projects at Museum Park, along with The University of Illinois Bio-medical Research Building, 30 West Erie Condominium, Wright College Parking Garage, Rush Ohio Wabash Parking Garage and Merchandise Mart Parking Garage.

With the new changes, Tribco remained strong through the early 2000s and was busy developing the Chicago skyline with projects like the Peninsula Hotel, Sofitel Hotel, 1400 and 1500 South State Street Condominiums, the Bernadine Condominium and the final two towers at Museum Park, including the 64-story One Museum Park East.

During this period of growth, a new organizational opportunity presented itself. Tribco was approached with an offer to combine its rich local history and valuable expertise in concrete construction with Ceco Concrete Construction, a national subcontractor 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 and 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 constructing the only tower project in downtown Chicago, The Lake and Wells Apartments, 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 toward the next 100 years, a top priority is continuing to collaborate 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.

Back to top