Garco was established in 1958 under the name Garceau Steel Structures. Company founder Wayne Garceau, who specialized in residential construction following his return from military service in World War II, recognized a new opportunity in the commercial and light industrial sectors. He purchased a few crucial pieces of equipment, took advantage of his local distribution network, and entered the manufacturing arena, producing an open web steel rigid frame building with wood purlins and girts.
In 1971, one of Garceau’s first all-steel solid web buildings was purchased by the US government and erected on Amchitka Island in the Aleutian chain. It was used as a cable reel housing to lower a nuclear bomb test device into the ground. When the device was detonated, the elevation of the island dropped approximately ten feet. The only damage sustained by the metal building was a sliding door that became unhinged from its track.
By 1974, Garceau Steel Structures was growing rapidly and Wayne realized that he needed to become a fully integrated manufacturer of steel building systems. With the financial backing of minority owner Gifford-Hill, he was able to invest in a panel mill, zee line and sheet metal press brake. With this new beginning for the company came a new name, Garco, Inc.
Two years later, when Wayne approached Gifford-Hill about buying back its 26% ownership, the firm countered with an offer to purchase Garco in its entirety. The sale was consummated and became a major milestone in the company’s development. Having outgrown its original facility, a much larger site and updated plant was needed; and in 1978 the company’s current headquarters, located just west of Spokane in Airway Heights, opened for business.
The next four years saw two more significant changes. The first occurred when the company’s sales and construction managers, Tim Welsh and Bob Carter, formed a partnership and purchased the construction division, naming it Garco Construction. The second was in the same year, 1982, Garco, Inc. was up for sale. Terry Middaugh the general manager under the Garco, Inc. banner purchased Garco’s assets. He then took on the role of CEO and President of MIDCO Mfg., dba Garco Building Systems. He would retire ten years later and leave then General Sales Manager, Bill Savitz as Executive Vice President and General Manager. Savitz had worked his way up the ranks as a drafter at the age of 21. From drafting, Savitz went into detailing, followed by estimating and design engineer, then into sales as the General Sales Manager in 1993. It was in 1994 that Savitz became Executive Vice President/ General Manager.
In 1996, Savitz and his executive team successfully completed the buyout of Middaugh’s majority shares of the company and Savitz succeeded Middaugh as Chairman, CEO, and President of Garco. Savitz partners were Mark Radmaker, Paul Millar and John Pargman. In 2006, Savitz and Radmaker bought out their partners, Millar and Pargman, when both chose to retire.
In 2007, Garco became a member of the NCI Building Systems family when Savitz and Radmaker sold Garco Building Systems to NCI. Savitz was named Executive Director of the NCI Green Building Initiative in 2008. Jeff White, the company’s former CFO was named President of Garco Building Systems. Jeff stepped down in 2010. David Zabinski was later named General Manager in June, 2013 and is in that role today.
Continuity has allowed the company to maintain its focus on personal relationships and conducting business face to face. Garco remains the leader in metal building systems in the Northwest through this same tried and true means of building relationships with our customers and making sure their needs are being met.