A diverse economy is one of the Region’s hallmarks. Vast farms, steel mills, retailers, and more all play a big role in making Northwest Indiana what it is. But someone needs to build it all, and few companies have played as big a role in crafting the architectural landscape of the area as Chester Inc.
Chester Inc. does everything from providing IT services to irrigation and grain handling solutions at their agricultural systems division in North Judson, but their core is built around their architectural and construction division. If you live in the Region, there is a good chance you pass a project built by Chester Inc. on a regular basis. Pharmacies, grain bins, liquor stores, apartment complexes, veterinary offices, manufacturing facilities, and much more are all a part of their portfolio.
“We’re all encompassing here, a one-stop-shop in one location,” said Rich Shields, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Chester Inc. “What we do is get owners a lot more involved in the details of their building. You don’t have to hire out an architectural firm, you get accountability.”
The key to their work is communication. Whatever the project might be, Chester Inc. stays in constant contact with the owners to make sure it meets their needs.
“There’s a cohesive nucleus of our architects, the owners, the project managers on the general construction end, paired with our subcontractors,” Shields said. “It’s important that all of those people remain in constant communication, and it’s so much easier and more seamless when we have all of those capabilities in house.”
This is not a new strategy for Chester Inc. Even when they were helping Orville Redenbacher get his famous brand of popcorn off the ground back in the 60s and 70s, their multifaceted talent was crucial.
“In the popcorn business, their model was that they wanted to take care of their farmers,” said Tony Peuquet, Division Manager for Chester Inc.’s Architectural and Construction Division. “They wanted to make sure the farmers were treated like family, where if they needed something then they could get it. In doing so, we were building grain elevators and bins, pole barns, and irrigation systems. It’s the method that’s most economical and stress free for our clients.”
Even within their diverse array of projects, there is room for more innovation. One of Chester Inc.’s most recent projects were the Horton Family Children’s Education Center at the Sunset Hill Farm County Park. The center was built as a grain bin, and converted into a modern educational facility that unites the agricultural history of the Region with practical use.
“It’s a really clever, eclectic type of building,” Shields said. “Working together with the people at the park was a pleasure and turning it into an educational facility was humbling. We’re grateful to have been a part of that.”
Another creative use of their diverse talents came when an industrial client was looking to expand.
“We did an extension of a plastic company’s previous building,” Shields said. “We were able to build grain bins that they could use to recycle all of their plastics.”
Ultimately, Chester Inc.’s goal is to fulfill the vision of the business owners who come to them for help.
“Our architects, project managers, and sales engineers analyze the owner’s budget, and make sure it’s spent in exactly the way the owner wants,” Shields said. “We often get to be kind of an incubator. A lot of companies come to us and say ‘I have so much to spend on this phase, so why don’t we just build with the thought of expansion?’ That’s the kind of partnership we really relish here at Chester Incorporated.”
To learn more about Chester Inc., visit them at www.chesterinc.com.