Our History

A Hardworking Innovator

Richard F. Conlon, an innovator who believed in “guts and hard work along with good, sound business practices”, founded Conlon Construction in 1903. For the first two decades of the 20th century he left his mark working on a variety of mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering projects in Cuba City, Wisconsin and the surrounding areas. His ingenuity led him to be the first to pave roads in Southwest Wisconsin and Northwest Illinois.

In 1922, R.F. moved his business and family to Dubuque, Iowa. R.F.’s sons, Orlin and Dell, joined Conlon and continued the tradition of building client relationships in Dubuque and the surrounding area that are still going strong today. Many of the buildings on the campus of Loras College, now on the National Register of Historic Places, were built by Conlon.


As the decades passed, the third generation – Mike, Steve, and Tim – assumed leadership roles and upheld the values that R. F., Orlin, and Dell laid down before them. Together they maintained and established relationships that keep over 80% of our business conducted through negotiated contracts with repeat clients including Clarke University, the University of Dubuque, UnityPoint Finley Hospital, and MercyOne Hospital Dubuque.

In 1979, Conlon built the Target store in Dubuque. Impressed by Conlon’s workmanship and building process, Target requested several more store builds from Conlon across the U.S. This work led us to establish our National Construction and Fixturing division who together have completed over 4,000 projects for Target and other retail chains in over 1,000 cities nationwide. In 1996, Conlon became the first ever contractor to receive Target’s Vendor Award of Excellence for our commitment to their business philosophy of quality and superior service.

A fourth generation of the Conlon family is now working for the business and are as committed to the values of honesty, integrity, and “guts and hard work” as R.F. Conlon was 119 years ago.


  • Richard F. Conlon founded R.F. Conlon Company in Southwest Wisconsin.

  • Using his own innovative methods, R.F. Conlon Company paves the first roads in Cuba City, Wisconsin and Galena, Illinois.

  • Work on the campus of the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters begins and establishes Conlon’s working relationship with women’s religious organizations that continues today. Two of Richards children would go on to become Dominican Sisters.

  • Richard moves his growing family and business to Dubuque, Iowa.

  • R.F. Conlon Company begins building for Loras College and Clarke University, establishing relationships that endure for over 100 years and the completion of dozens of campus building projects. The Loras College campus is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • R.F. passes away and his sons Dell, Orlin, and Vincent establish R.F. Sons Construction after Richard’s death.

  • Conlon Construction Co. becomes incorporated.

  • Conlon begins work for Mercy Hospital in Dubuque and establishes a relationship that is still going strong with MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center and its affiliates.

  • Conlon starts work with John Deere Dubuque Works pouring structural concrete foundations for heavy machinery. Today, Conlon continues to complete projects at JDDW annually.

  • Orlin’s sons Steve and Tim and nephew Michael assume leadership roles at Conlon.

  • Conlon completes work on the Target store in Dubuque and Target hires Conlon to complete work nationally as they expand. To date, Conlon has completed over 4,000 projects for Target in all 50 states, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

  • Conlon begins 40+ year partnership with the University of Dubuque. Dozens of projects on campus have Conlon’s craftmanship on display.

  • Unity Point Finley Hospital in Dubuque hire Conlon for the first time. Conlon has been completing projects for the hospital ever since.

  • Target Corporation honors Conlon Construction with the Vendor Award of Excellence for their dependability, support, and superior service, marking the first time a general contractor received the award.

  • The Association of Fundraising Professionals recognize Conlon Construction with the National Philanthropy Day Award for being an outstanding and ethical philanthropic organization.

  • Mike Conlon receives the Build Iowa Award from the Master Builders of Iowa.

  • For their 100-year anniversary, Conlon establishes scholarship funds at four colleges in Iowa and Wisconsin for students in construction related programs.

  • Conlon Construction receives the MBI Masters Award for the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium campus project.

  • The Dubuque County Historical Society honor Michael, Steve, and Tim Conlon with the Treasures of Dubuque Award in recognition of the Conlon family’s significant contribution to both the community and the history of Dubuque.

  • Conlon Construction receives the Masters Award from MBI for their University of Dubuque Heritage Performing Arts Center project.

  • Tim Conlon receives the Build Iowa Award from the Master Builders of Iowa.

  • Tim and Steve’s daughters, Becky and Poppy, join their cousin, Chris Wilson, as the fourth generation of Conlons to work for the business.

With over 100 years of experience and history, Conlon has proven to be a reputable builder with unmatched expertise and skill.

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