While Otto Baum started his small company in 1937 only providing masonry services, today Otto Baum Company, Inc. has grown to be one of the nation’s top mason contractors, according to Engineering News Record, and also provides large scale Concrete, Civil and Restoration services.
Otto Baum and Crew (September 1960)
The company is currently lead by one of Otto’s grandsons, and he is supported by an Executive Team consisting of three Division Managers, Director of Safety, Director of HR & IT, CFO, and Warehouse Manager. Each of these leaders is supported by office and trade employees dedicated to the success of OBCI. As a union contractor, OBCI maintains agreements with a variety of trade-unions and their local affiliates including Bricklayers, Pointer/Cleaner/Caulkers, Carpenters, Finishers, Operators and Laborers.
We work with our union partners to provide our customers with skilled, well-trained, professional, diverse and verified employees to perform the reputable construction services OBCI is known for wherever we go.
Our training requirements include but are not limited to, OSHA 30-hour certification and First Aid/CPR/ AED certification for field supervision. Specialized training opportunities are offered in historical restoration, air barrier, MEWP and Mast Climber certifications, among many others.
We pursue projects in the following areas and beyond:
- Bloomington, IL
- Champaign, IL
- Decatur, IL
- Galesburg, IL
- Peoria, IL
- Quad Cities (Davenport & Bettendorf, IA and Rock Island & Moline, IL) *
- Rockford, IL*
- Terre Haute, IN*
- Chicago Suburbs**
*Masonry and Restoration services only
**Restoration services only
DEDICATED TO PRODUCTIVITY, QUALITY, AND SAFETY
Otto Baum Company seeks to maintain a balance between three principles: productivity, quality, and safety. We complete each job promptly, build according to specs, and are always mindful of the wellbeing of everyone on our job sites. We diligently pursue each of these principles for the benefit of our customers, employees, and shareholders.
In Depression-era 1937, a talented German immigrant by the name of Otto Baum set out to pursue his American dream. Otto's father was a small-town masonry builder in Stannanbach, Germany. After grade school, Otto attended a masonry trade school for two years. He then worked for his father, but eventually ventured to larger cities to gain more money and experience. After enduring severe inflation in Germany, Otto journeyed to America in 1925, sponsored by a central-Illinois farmer. Twenty-one-year-old Otto paid his dues to the farmer over two years working on farms around Mackinaw and Morton, IL. Once he took care of his obligation to the farmer, Otto applied his knowledge of the masonry trade in the land of opportunity. Through his work, he quickly built a reputation for quality, skill, and ethics. After marrying his wife, Mary in 1930, Otto started a family and established the foundation of Otto Baum & Sons, Inc., and eventually Otto Baum Company, Inc.
Having learned some of his masonry skills in Germany, Otto began doing block work on adjacent farms to supplement the family income. Eventually, he hired a masonry crew of three to four men. From the time Otto started doing masonry work in 1937 until 1945, Otto was one of two masonry contractors in Morton. In 1945, young men were returning from service after World War II, which gave Otto the opportunity to hire more bricklayers. The area’s masonry business was rapidly growing, and by 1948, Otto had about as many competitors as men. Nevertheless, he kept on going.
Also, in the late 1940s, Otto began doing commercial work and made the decision to join the Union. Otto’s four sons eventually joined him in the business, adding to the number of skilled workers. By the mid-1960’s, Otto had over 100 men and counting and had become the largest masonry contractor in central Illinois. Otto passed away in 1973, leaving the business in the capable hands of his sons and the rest of his valued employees. He never dreamed when he arrived in America, that he would have been so blessed.
The Baum family started a small office on Second Street in Morton, and then in 1977, built a large office and warehouse on Main Street. By that time, the company performed concrete and civil operations in addition to masonry, becoming a concrete contractor in the Peoria area. In the late 1980’s, OBCI expanded to Decatur, IL and invested in a permanent office and warehouse on Hubbard Avenue in Decatur.
The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana has provided an abundance of masonry construction work. Around 1990, OBCI purchased a local masonry contractor who operated out of Monticello, IL named Stobeck Masonry, Inc. Eventually, OBCI dropped the Stobeck name and moved the office and warehouse to a location within a mile of the U of I campus on Goodwin Avenue. OBCI’s Champaign-Urbana leadership team has been operating out of this location for over eight years. In 2000, OBCI also purchased Knapp Masonry, and several employees remain key leaders today.
Through the Baum family’s leadership, this relatively small masonry subcontractor grew to become one of central Illinois’ largest contractors, specializing in all types of concrete, civil, masonry, and restoration services. Now spanning three generations, Otto Baum Company, Inc. still operates on the principals and values established by its founder, who left a legacy of faith, family, and skilled employees.