Barton Malow’s Heritage

Who were Barton and Malow? Ben Maibach Jr., former President and Chairman, worked closely with the founding fathers. The first part of the heritage story is his account of the early days and the values that shaped our culture written in the late 1990s prior to his death in 2011. The second was written by Chief Community Officer Ben Maibach III in 2016. Ben Maibach III began his career at Barton Malow in 1965 and influenced the most significant growth period in Barton Malow history and remains with the enterprise to this day.

Together, Ben Jr. and Ben III share a heritage story that only people with personal knowledge of the stories behind the story could tell.


The C.O. Barton Company’s office was at 1609 Washington Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan, and Carl, with high ideals, wanted to go first-class. His company was founded on August 4, 1924.


Possibly the most dramatic period in the company’s history, the changes that took place in this third decade of operation are a key reason why Barton Malow is still thriving today.

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It has been wisely said that nothing is more vulnerable than entrenched success. Growing too fast, combined with operations in remote areas and becoming involved in new types of construction that employees were not familiar with, almost caused disaster.


The construction industry as a whole did not enjoy a very good record as far as safety was concerned. In recognition of the need to improve safety performance, we were pioneers in forming the first construction division of the Michigan Safety Conference. We also helped to mold the construction division of the Detroit Safety Council.

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Since 1924, probably no year stands out as much as 1983. The company had attained national acclaim. According to Engineering News-Record, we were the only construction company among the top 25 that performed solely domestic work.


The Fall of 1988 stands out in my memory as one of the more difficult times I have experienced in my last 25 years at Barton Malow. But it was reassuring to know that hard work and integrity still pay off.

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Our workload was greatly diversified, and in the late 1990s, sports building gained momentum. It was common at Barton Malow to hear our stadium work likened to a four-game sweep of the World Series.


Having been in business since 1924, we know that such peaks and valleys are to be expected and that a long-range plan, coupled with the right tools, is necessary to weather such challenges while living and practicing our values.

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