Four Generations of Fabrication Excellence
In 1932, J.T. Edwards, Sr. started fabricating steel in his brother-in-laws garage in Grandview Heights. By day, he would drive his Model-T Ford around town looking for job sites and seeing if they needed any steel. In the evenings he and his brother-in-law would fabricate the steel and then J.T. would deliver the steel to the job site on top of the Model-T. Often times, his wife and two oldest sons would accompany him on these delivery trips.
After several business location moves, J.T. Edwards, Sr. bought a parcel of land on McKinley Ave. and built a small office and fabricating shop to be known as the J.T. Edwards Company.
The business grew fabricating ornamental iron, miscellaneous metals, and structural steel. During World War II, while his two oldest sons were both in the service, J.T. fabricated steel decks for LST Landing Crafts. After WWII, and finishing their college educations, the two oldest sons, J.T. Edwards, Jr. and Dave Edwards, Sr. started working full time at the company.
|John T. Edwards Sr
||John T. Edwards Jr
||Dave A. Edwards Sr
||Dave A. Edwards Jr
A Changing Columbus
As Columbus started to grow in the 50’s, the brothers poised the company to take advantage of the larger tonnage structural steel jobs to come. One of the first was Riverside Methodist Hospital. Then came a long line of large structural jobs in the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s: the Borden Building, Motorist Mutual, Bank One, Bank Ohio, Capital South Office Building, Huntington Bank Tower, The Woody Hayes Center, The Wexner Center, AEP Tower, Columbia Gas, Columbus Police Hdqtrs., to name a few.
The Edwards family gained recognition not only in Ohio, but also nationally as a leader in the steel fabrication business. J.T., Sr. taught his sons by example about being involved both in industry organizations as well as local service organizations and charities. This has been passed down through the generations. One of the most visible recognitions is “The City” steel sculpture by artist Barbara Chavous. Over one hundred representatives of the Central Ohio construction industry commissioned the sculpture in 1990. In 2006, the company donated the “Steel Connection Sculpture” to The Ohio State University Department of Engineering.
Building Strong Relationships
Today the fourth generations now operates what is known as Jon Edwards Steel. Jon Edwards is the President along with Paul Campbell, Vice-President. The business has had to change since the large tonnage jobs became few and far between in the late 80’s. Today Jon Edwards Steel concentrates its expertise on light structural steel and miscellaneous metals projects. The strong relationships that the Edwards family has forged over the years now pay off in clients that trust to get the job done right from sales quotations through fabrication and installation.
The “Quality and Service” standard is still Jon Edwards Steel's motto in Central Ohio. Jon Edwards explains, “We all take great pride in the job we do for our customer and the building’s owner. All of our managers have experience in the steel fabrication business and have a great rapport with our suppliers, associates and customers.”
Jon Edwards Steel is also an AISC Certified Fabrication Shop and must meet stringent requirements annually to maintain its certification. Paul Campbell says, "Many people seek us out because of the experience and reliability of our associates and the fact that the “Jon Edwards Steel Commitment to Excellence” has been passed from generation to generation for over the years. Our customers and our employees take comfort in that knowledge.”
In seeking a company with the expertise to do projects out of the ordinary, the Edwards family has fabricated many unique projects over the years. Most recently, projects such as the Columbus College of Art and Design “ART” sign (picture above), Franklin Universities “Graduation Cap” over Rich Street downtown, the Bank of Boston Pavilion’s 300 foot arch truss (picture above) are a few that can be viewed around the city.
Communication is Key
The only central Ohio fabricator to send out a weekly “Job Status Report” to its customers on every job is Jon Edwards Steel. The report communicates the status of every item on the job for the project manager and site superintendent to review. “We continue to work at being the best communicators in the construction industry.” Trust between partners building a project makes for a successful job on all fronts. Communication is the foundation for such trust.