Harper Construction, Inc. was founded in 1949 by J.M. Bill Harper. The company was based in Paducah, KY. and from the 1940s to the 1960s undertook two or three construction projects at a time, establishing a great reputation for quality work with owners, subcontractors and suppliers.
In the late 1960s, Harper Construction collaborated with another construction firm in the management of an $8 million addition to Baptist Hospital in Paducah. The addition to Baptist Hospital was Harper Construction’s first major project and paved the way for future projects.
In the mid-1970s, after recognizing an impending influx of concrete paving work in Western Kentucky, Harper Construction branched out into slip form highway and airport paving, in addition to other forms of heavy construction primary related to concrete work.
Harper Construction shifted from general commercial construction to industrial construction and began to establish a pattern of growth in Western Kentucky. Harper Construction’s first major highway concrete project was the business loop of Paducah, which began in 1979 and finished in 1981.
Billy Harper, J.M. Bill Harper’s son, began working for his father’s company in 1971. In 1975, J.M. Bill Harper retired and Billy Harper and his partner, Brad Arterburn, took over Harper Construction. After Arterburn retired in 1989, Billy Harper ran the company as the sole president until 2009.
In 2009, Jesse Wiggins and Joe Edwards bought Harper Construction from Billy Harper. Wiggins started working for Harper Construction in 1974. Wiggins began as a carpenter and worked his way up to superintendent to project manager and finally, to president.
Edwards began working for Billy Harper personally at the age of 16 on Harper’s horse farm. Edwards began working for Harper Construction in 2008 as an estimator/project manager and then in 2009 became vice-president.
Although Wiggins and Edwards bought Harper Construction from the Harper family, the values and that were created and implemented under J.M. Harper are still in practice today.