Thatcher Foundations marks 75 years building the Midwest


The year was 1946 and the Chicago Bears would earn their 7th football championship under legendary coach George Halas. Football titles notwithstanding, post-war Chicago had already earned a reputation as a world-class leader in business and industry. Culturally, it boasted one of the most unique and enviable architecture traditions in the U.S., while residents still navigated the city on streetcars. But Chicago had more to offer; the second half of the 20th Century spawned iconic creations that did not exist in 1946, such as the nation's first McDonalds restaurant (1955), the first Playboy Club (1960) and the Chicago Bulls (1966).

 
PDCA considers one of Chicago's most significant, post-war creations to be Thatcher Foundations, Inc. which continues  to shape the city skyline, regional infrastructure, and even the beloved football team. In 1946, a World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy Seabees named Harry Thatcher launched the specialty contracting firm which played a prominent role building Chicagoland as it is known today. In 1957, a young engineer with a degree from The Citadel named Tom Wysockey (pictured) joined Thatcher after leaving employment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; by the 1980's, he had become the sole owner of the company which then had grown to two offices in both Chicago and Gary, IN.
 
(L-R) Mike Wysockey, John Wysockey
Tom Wysockey (1931-2019) is an important figure in foundation construction; not only in Chicago where he excelled professionally, but he was one of the earliest Presidents of the Pile Driving Contractors Association (PDCA), serving consecutive terms in 1998 and 1999. More than 20 years ago, he led industry peers in shaping what has become the leading, national trade organization for pile driving professionals today. Tom Wysockey maintained his leadership role at Thatcher into the 2010's, while gradually turning over company operations to his sons Michael and John Wysockey (pictured) who currently helm the specialty contractor. Today, civil engineering students compete annually for the coveted Thomas J. Wysockey Scholarship.
 
Thatcher is diversified throughout the deep foundations industry offering pile driving and other foundations, earth retention, marine construction, and other specialty ground construction. PDCA applauds the Thatcher website which boldly states "(Pile driving) offers an inherent level of quality control beyond all other types of deep foundation installation techniques. A DRIVEN PILE IS A TESTED PILE."

Company leadership credits Its longevity to four fundamental business priorities: safety, quality, innovation, and productivity. As tradition has it, Tom Wysockey often said, "we cared about safety back when OSHA was just a town in Wisconsin."  The thriving and productive workforce at Thatcher is a testament to the culture it has established over four generations.

A reader may be curious why this narrative celebrating the 75th anniversary of Thatcher Foundations, Inc. began with a reference to the Chicago Bears? Well, it's a notable juxtaposition because the Bears are one of the oldest teams in football with a storied history in the Windy City. To think that they were already securing a 7th national championship when Thatcher was founded, makes it even more remarkable that just 55 years later, Thatcher would be driving 2,248 H-piles as part of the massive overhaul of their historic Soldier Field home that was completed in 2002. And that is just the tip of the footprint this monster of the Midway has left in the Midwest. Congratulations Thatcher Foundations!


Marksmen prep for company clay shoot
Team members enjoy a happy hour 
Participants at Thatcher Golf Outing
 
Mike W. visits with engineering students at alma mater The Citadel

PDCA President Kevin Gourgues, Mike W. present at IFCEE 2021

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