Derr and Isbell Construction employs construction professionals and supervision with extensive experience in all aspects of structural steel erection, precast concrete erection, and heavy rigging:
- Pre-construction services
- Professional safety management
- Experienced project management and supervision
- Quality control
- Construction engineering / BIM interface
- Dependable schedule management
Our banking and bonding lines of credit allow us to serve you with financial assurance on major projects throughout America.
Derr and Isbell Construction, LLC and our predecessors have provided structural steel erection, precast erection, and related construction services throughout America for 51 years and counting. Our history is a story of stability and a story of family … family by blood relationship and by working partnership.
Derr Construction Company was formed in 1961 by E. L. Derr, Jr. in Ft. Worth, Texas. Starting with a boom truck and a dream, E. L. didn’t waste much time building a company with a tradition of successfully erecting challenging structures. The Tarrant County Convention Center and Texas Stadium, the long-time home of the Dallas Cowboys, were erected in his first decade of operation. In 1970 when it became apparent there would be new airport “out in the country-side” between Dallas and Ft. Worth, E. L. moved his yard and office to its present location in Euless, TX.
E. L. established Precast Erectors, Inc. in 1970 to erect DFW International Airport’s first terminals, which were post-tensioned precast concrete and structural steel, employing innovative construction techniques that were utilized on all four terminals. Founding partners included Jim Isbell and his son James, future VP of Operations for Derr Construction. E. L.’s steel and precast sales manager Mark Biebighauser later became a partner and manager of the precast company. When E. L. retired, he sold Mark his remaining interest in Precast Erectors, a company which is now an independent and quality competitor in that market. Along the way, another line of family developed when E.L. selected foreman Joe Hill to be general superintendant for precast work. Joe’s son David Hill is now the general superintendant over the precast operations for Derr and Isbell Construction.
Derr Construction Company erected a number of major projects in Colorado in the 1960’s and 1970’s including many of the largest buildings in Denver, a booming center of western energy and technology. In 1977, E. L. asked his lead supervisor in that area, Bill Gruenewald, to join him and his son Bob Derr as partners in starting and developing Derr and Gruenewald Construction Company in the Denver area. Billy still oversees the company, and has turned most day-to-day operations over to sons Jonathan and C. D. Gruenewald. DGCC continues to provide professional steel construction services throughout the western USA.
Meanwhile back in Texas, James Isbell, who had worked for E.L. most of his life, became the General Superintendant of construction for Derr Construction Company in 1982. As E. L. moved toward retirement, Bob moved back from Denver to the DFW area in 1989 and became President of Derr Construction. In 1998, James was asked to join E. L. and Bob as a partner in Derr Steel Erection Company, established to take over the execution of steel erection contracts previously performed by Derr Construction. One of the first major projects erected by Derr Steel Erection was the Minute Maid Ballpark, home of the Houston Astros and one of four landmark retractable roof stadiums erected over the following decade.
James’ son Brian Isbell, who like his father has worked most of his career for Derr, became General Superintendant for Derr Steel Erection in 2005. In recent years, James has moved into a role of management of special projects. Brian has joined his father and Bob and the Derr family as partners in Derr and Isbell Construction LCC, established in 2012 to carry on the tradition of five decades of dependable performance.
The story would not be complete without the proud mention of a few of the men who learned much of their craft working for and helping build the Derr companies over the years; and are currently making contributions in the industry for other quality companies: Salesmen Mark Biebighauser and David Atkins; engineers and project managers Curtis Mayes, Carl Williams, Kevin Ball, and Jim Kennedy; and general supervisors such Bill Riner and David Mouser (both deceased), and other outstanding ironworker supervisors too numerous to mention.
One of E. L. Derr’s favorite sayings was “Our job is to put lines in the sky.”
After making a large contribution to our industry, E. L. passed away in 2007, but he left an extended family to carry on.