The story of Kirkham Building System, Inc. begins 4 generations ago, right here in Central Ohio. Kirkham & Sons, the first building company in this family, and one of the first post frame building companies in Central Ohio, was established in the early 1950's by Ralph Kirkham and his sons, John and Richard. In 1960, John Kirkham joined the Umbaugh Company of Ravenna, Ohio to form the Umbaugh Pole Building Co. of Delaware, Ohio. John Kirkham was President of this company until his death in 1976. John was a dynamic and beloved leader of his company, community, and church.
In 1984, after 24 Years working in all facets of the post frame business, John's son Alan started and incorporated his own business, Kirkham Building System, Inc. The following year, he purchased the Umbaugh Office in Delaware, Ohio to use as his own headquarters. Which gave KBSI a solid, permanent foundation of location and people to build the business. Alan started with his father's company in 1960 and worked his way up, learning all the facets of the trade. He served as foreman of a construction crew, draftsman, sales representative, and the Division President in Frankfort, Kentucky. Alan has worked continuously in the post frame building industry for over 55 years. Alan now leads KBSI with a hands on work ethic. Alan can tell you some great stories from his vast experience in the post frame building industry.
Alan remembers the days when. . .
“We worked in mud up to our knees. One time we almost got our digging tractor, we called it the Nimble, buried in the middle of a building because the mud was so soft and deep.”
“For the many years Jerry Hensley was building for us, his crew was always efficient. They once built two 24x36 buildings in one day…”
The fourth generation comes with Alan’s son, Don. In his 25+ years since he first started working for Alan, doing maintenance and yard work, then working on a crew getting his feet wet and thumbs hammered, Don has learned from the ground up and has been well-educated by every role in the family business. Don now works as the general manager to lead business development and looks forward to many rewarding years serving our customers.
Don remembers the times his crew foreman made them work so many hours in the brutal heat of summer. He once pleaded with his foreman to quit early that day, agreeing to start as early as he wanted the next day. The foreman agreed but he was an early riser so they had to be on the job before 6 AM the next morning. Don went home and went to bed. Waking refreshed early the next morning, Don even stopped and got doughnuts for the crew.
Other memories include the fellowship and comradery Don had with the people he worked with. Don believes that you’ve got to have fun and learn to enjoy the people your spending so much of your time with so work never becomes drudgery. That’s what he endeavors to do.
And the story may not end there. Don’s son, Ethan, has started his journey with the family business. As a kid, he started out picking up nails around the shop and job sites for a penny each. During high school summer breaks he began working on the construction crew. Now, he's worked his way up to a construction expediter position in the office, ordering materials and assisting in other administrative tasks.