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Our History

Blueprint for success.

The history of Russell begins much like any other story – a man, a dream and a business card.

James V. Russell founded Russell Construction Company, Inc. in 1983 upon graduating from Iowa State University. The economy was in decline and Jim had a desire to take a risk and be his own boss. Armed with a stack of business cards and $10,000, Jim opened up shop in Bettendorf, Iowa. That next year, brought the company’s first two employees, and their first project – a small remodel of a local hotel.

Today, Russell employs over 250 individuals, has offices in three locations, and completes construction and development projects on a regional and national platform – and they say the rest is history.


  • Award of first major project at the Steeplegate Inn – Davenport, IA.

  • Employees travel for work in order to survive in a struggling Quad Cities economy.

  • Construction on the first of 20 Super Saver Cinemas and 14 GNC stores begins with locations all across the country.

  • First federal government contract awarded.

  • Recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies.

  • By the end of the 1980’s Russell employs 22 individuals and grosses nearly $5.9 MM in sales.


  • First project valued at over $1 MM awarded.

  • Relationship with SSAB Steel, which spanned 10 years and $25 MM in projects, begins.

  • Work with Genesis Health System begins – resulting in a new focus on healthcare facilities.

  • First educational project begins at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL.

  • First of 14 Von Maur projects begins – resulting in a long-term relationship spanning $85 MM in projects.

  • Revenue exceeds $50 MM by the end of the 1990’s.


  • Relationship with Deere & Company begins – the value of work to date is over $130 MM.

  • First of 29 Walgreens stores begins – total client value over $40 MM.

  • Previous headquarters location of Russell in Davenport opens.

  • Construction of $35 MM Figge Art Museum.

  • Department of Defense Task Order Contracts begin at Rock Island Arsenal – valued over $89 MM.

  • Revenue exceeds $120 MM by the end of 2010 – employee count nears 100.


  • Russell named one of Iowa’s Best Businesses by IA Biz Magazine.

  • Recognized as a Top 400 Contractor by Engineering News Record Magazine.

  • Relationship with Galesburg CUSD #205 begins – resulting in over $56 MM in projects.

  • (3) Employees become one of the first Certified Healthcare Constructors in the State of Iowa.

  • New Russell Headquarters opens at 4700 E. 53rd Street.

  • Revenue exceeds $200 MM – employee count is over 150.

Russell's new office in Birchwood fields center.


Two Russell hard hats.