Scull Construction helping grow Dickinson while staying involved
Trying to find office space and housing in Dickinson wasn’t an issue for a company that moved here about two years ago.
Scull Construction Service, Inc. operates out of offices in Dickinson that it built, and it has employees who know how to build homes.
But there’s more building going on than just that. The company, founded in 1985 by Jim Scull and headquartered in Rapid City, S.D., currently has about 40 projects underway including construction of a $38 million assisted-living facility in Gillette, Wyo., said Andy Scull, the company’s president and Jim’s son.
About a third of the company’s projects are in North Dakota, he said. In Dickinson, the company is constructing the $8.3 million townhomes project in Sundance Coves on 21st Street East. Scull recently completed construction of a fire station in New England. The company is also building single-family homes at Sundance Coves.
Other projects include construction of the Bismarck Civic Center’s expansion, a $18.8 million, 90,000-square-foot project, and a $33 million multi-family project in Minot.
Scull is about ready to break ground on an office and truck maintenance facility for Tesoro north of Dickinson, said Brandon Moore, Scull’s division manager in Dickinson.
The company’s most unique custom house to date, though, isn’t here. It can be seen from Mount Rushmore National Monument, said Andy Scull. The 30,000-square-feet house hangs off the side of a mountain, its structure created with 1,208 timbers. It took five years to build, designed by the owner as they went.
Scull said he thinks his favorite project, though, being an avid hunter and fisherman, was constructing the regional headquarters for South Dakota Game Fish and Parks department that, in part, involved constructing a “remarkable … challenging and difficult building” designed to emulate the Black Hills’ scenery. Adding to the challenge was that the building site sat between a pond and wetlands that couldn’t be disturbed. He said the resulting facility with classrooms, aquarium and hiking trails is used in part to teach children about nature and such things as how to cook wild game.
Other past Scull projects in South Dakota include construction of several new schools and renovations to the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and Black Hills State University.
The company also has renovated and constructed hospitals and clinics, built restaurants and hotels, retail stores, banks, a new city hall for Belle Fourche, S.D., the new headquarters for the South Dakota National Guard, airport and church expansions, and new manufacturing plants and other commercial operations.
Andy Scull said his father, Jim Scull, a civil engineer, founded the company in 1985 because jobs were hard to find then and so he made his own job. He started a construction company using skills learned from his father, a homesteader who became a carpenter and builder in White River, S.D.
Andy Scull said his dad’s first job was re-roofing multiple buildings at a veterans’ hospital in Hot Springs, S.D. He was 12 when he started helping out his dad by cleaning the shop. By age 14, he was the office courier and by age 15 he was in the field. He later attended Montana State University, getting a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering technology and later a master’s in construction engineering management. He worked for national general-contracting companies in Denver and Seattle before joining the family business.
Scull, married and father of three girls, in his free time still constructs at home, building play forts, fences and working on the next phase of his own home’s construction, which he said is always under construction.
But at work, he doesn’t lift a hammer, spending his time overseeing a company that has grown to about 230 employees and has major contracts.
But Scull still takes on the small ones, too.
Moore said one of the things he admires about Scull is that it doesn’t matter how small the job is — whether it’s a $5,000 re-roofing on a lake cabin or something much bigger.
“We take a lot of pride in the projects we do,” he said.
Moore, whose father and father-in-law are contractors, grew up in a small farming community in northern California.
“I’ve always loved construction,” Moore said.
He has a degree in construction management from Oklahoma State University — and is still fanatical about the school.
“I think I own more orange shirts than most people,” Moore said with a laugh. Now his son is studying construction management at Oklahoma.
After college, Moore worked for “two huge contractors” and for a time lived in Colorado Springs, Colo., until he discovered South Dakota’s Black Hills. Moore, who said he’s known for being genuine, trustworthy, as well as being an adventurous type, has been with Scull for four years and is now in charge of the company’s North Dakota office.
Most of Scull’s about 50 North Dakota employees live in the Dickinson area. Employees are involved in community events and sit on various boards, Moore said. Scull is sponsoring Dickinson Downtown Association’s upcoming Aug. 3 art event that will include a mural contest on alley walls, refreshments and games.
“We’re a company that really cares about community,” he said.
“Do you want to know what kind of company I work for?” asked Laurie Willett, a Dickinson-based assistant project manager and office manager for Scull.
Willett said that after a past staff meeting, founder Jim Scull asked her what’s she’s passionate about. Willett reeled off a list: Dickinson’s women’s shelter, the homeless shelter, homeless dogs and cats, the hurdles people are having here during the boom.
She said the next day, Scull gave her $10,000 and told her to “do good with it ...you have a heart and I want to help.”
Willett said her first project is an upcoming meeting with a homeless shelter focus group. They hope to double or triple the money by reaching out to other businesses. She said it’s essential that the community take care of its people.
“I work for a company that wants to see that happen,” she said.
Andy Scull, who said he is committed to being honest, true to himself and doing great things, said Scull views Dickinson as a growing vibrant community that is developing in a sustainable way and is a great place for families.
“We’ll be there for the long term,” he said.
Scull Construction Service Inc.
What: Construction company, full-service general contractor
Founder: Jim Scull
Address: 3218 111H Ave. SW, Suite E, Dickinson