Inside INdiana Business

Construction company marks 100 years in Indy

Smock Fansler built the JW Marriott Art Plaza in downtown Indy. (photo courtesy of Smock Fansler Corp.)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The president of an Indianapolis-based construction company says being in business for 100 years is validation. Smock Fansler Corp., which specializes primarily in the construction of plazas, parks and outdoor theaters, is celebrating its centennial this year. Thomas Fansler III says hitting the milestone shows that “what we’re doing and who we are is right.”

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Fansler said the company’s flexibility is what has sustained its business over the last century.

“Every time that a situation would come up, we learned how to deal with it, either head-on or to go around it, or create new markets that were meaningful and brought value to towns, cities, and individuals,” said Fansler. “The multi-generational aspect that we have, two-three generation employees, and the fact that everybody is willing to teach and help the others…that’s really it. It’s how do you come together to deal with situations, how to overcome things, how to improve things and always strive for improvement.”

Smock Fansler began in 1921 as a trucking company with a fleet of more than 100 trucks that transitioned into excavation work. 

“They built the vast majority of all the levees in central Indiana, would do excavations like for the City-County Building when it was first built, and it just kept growing from there,” he said. “[The company] started doing heavy utility work, then concrete work, building construction and now mostly parks, amenities, large open places, gathering spots.”

The company has contributed to major projects in central Indiana and around the country, including outdoor additions to Greenwood Park Mall and Castleton Square Mall, as well as Garfield Park in Indianapolis, the Komodo Dragon Exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo, and art and water features at the JW Marriott Art Plaza in downtown Indy and the One Civic Square Fountain in Carmel.

Fansler says looking toward the next 100 years, the company seeks to continue its mission as a family-operated business and find new ways to “bring meaning and value to others.” 

“There is such a huge sense of pride throughout the company that we’re able to meet this milestone and just rapidly moving forward. We’re in our soon-to-be third generation of ownership of the company and it’s looking great, looking very strong and moving forward with the same level of care.”

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