At the age of 19, John Okland left Norway from a small dock near his family’s farm. He began his journey—humbled by the unknown—but drawn to a new land where he would build a future.
A ship builder by trade, John began working in Salt Lake City as a finish carpenter. He quickly became known for his craftsmanship, attention to detail, and integrity and in 1918, he founded Okland Construction. No job was too small to be done well; for John, that meant perfection in every detail.
His daughter June recalled seeing her father returning home on his bicycle each day, late at night, his tools in tow in a small basket. After dinner, he would quickly begin sketching plans for his next projects. John’s prolific career embodied the values that are central to the Okland family today.
From humble beginnings, he created a foundation built on the belief that through shared success, we can all reach higher.
In 1945, John’s son Jack joined the business, bringing an expanded vision to the type and scale of projects that Okland would pursue.
In this fairytale, Jack was the giant. A New York Giant to be precise. After being recruited and playing for the Giants for a time—and earning a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Utah—he joined his father in the business. Those who knew Jack knew that the only thing bigger than Jack was his dreams to build big.
Soon Okland was building bigger, more complex, and technically challenging structures. Hospitals that reached the skyline, bridges spanning powerful rivers, and missile silos equipped to send payloads into the heavens.
With the size and number of projects growing, so did the Okland family. By 1965, Okland Construction employed more than 100 full-time employees.
“...you like to work with people who do the right thing, even when nobody's looking.”
Okland, under Jack’s leadership, was completing around five to ten large projects every year. The demand for Okland Construction grew as quality people completed quality projects.
Under a new generation of leadership with Randy and James, Okland continued to grow, completing 30 to 40 projects every year. Despite the growth, the importance of forming quality relationships with owners remained the same.
After 100 years, we are proud of the structures we've built, but none of this happens without the relationships we have formed with owners, architects, and subcontractors. We are grateful for these friendships and collaborations. These partnerships have created spaces for learning, healing, celebrating, and reflecting. This shared experience and success makes possible our belief that, together, we can create truly remarkable experiences for both those who build and those who dwell within the spaces we create.
“They’ve always really dug deep and brought ideas to the table to help maintain that original design intent.”