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It all started in 1961 with a shoebox and a Chevy

And two young brothers with an idea for a business. College students with limited funds, a shoebox was their filing cabinet, and the Chevy van took them everywhere.

Over the years, brothers Tom and Bob Walsh made smart decisions, seized opportunities, developed innovative approaches, and were joined along the way by people with a shared passion for building the Pacific Northwest. What developed was something extraordinary.

It was during the 1980s that Walsh Construction Co. seized an opportunity for three design-build student housing projects for the University of Washington. Tom Walsh headed north to Seattle to set up shop and build a team that would become the Seattle branch. Since then, we have successfully opened offices in both Tacoma and Vancouver, Washington.

To this day, we remain focused on the fundamentals set all those years ago: building smart, sustainably, and always for the community. Equally important are the people walking alongside us to build communities and empower people.

Our story is of a step-wise progression from one level of complexity to another, from one measured adventure to another – but always as builders first.

Walsh employees pose with statues in Seattle, Washington in 1989, with Tom Walsh in the center back row. The Seattle office opened just two years prior.

A Brief Timeline

  • 1961: Tom Walsh founds Homesmith, which shortly becomes Tom Walsh & Co.
  • 1968: Taylor Street Apartments, our first HUD project, is completed
  • 1970: Bob Forster joins the company
  • 1974: Walsh Construction Co. is incorporated
  • 1987: The Seattle office opens its doors
  • 1993: Skamania Lodge construction is complete
  • 1996: The Columbia Sportswear flagship store is complete
  • 1999: Our Quality program is founded
  • 2006: New Columbia neighborhood revitalization project is complete
  • 2008: Our Tacoma office opens
  • 2010: New leadership team forms with Matt Leeding (President), Bill Reid (WA President), Elizabeth Rinehart (WA General Manager), Ryan Wilde (OR General Manager), John Wied (CFO)
  • 2011: Celebrating our 50th anniversary
  • 2019: Our Vancouver office opens

Bob Walsh, Bob Forster, Matt Leeding, Bill Reid, Kathy Kelley and others are celebrating the addition of a plaque honoring employee tenure exceeding 25 years. Our Portland headquarters holds a wealth of historical imagery, plaques, and custom sculptures. The hammers located outside the front door were a commissioned work by artist, Keith Jellum, and are still prominently standing today.