Forrest Abramson worked for his father, Emil, when he was very young. They did logging and had a portable sawmill. When Forest was 14, Emil broke his back and Forrest had to take over and run things for the summer. When he got older, Emil owed him money for his work so Forrest took a logging truck, trailer and bantam loader and started hauling wood for himself, later purchasing a dump truck and dozer. When he married Carol Killonen, Carol’s dad John was the clearing foreman for Sam Rajala (Rajala Construction). John took the summer off to help Forrest with the Orr airport, which Abramson Construction/KGM Contractors has done improvements to several times over the years since. With Bill Purdy and Rodger Lindgren, his 2 main supervisors, and a few dedicated employees, they helped plant the seed for Abramson/KGM to grow into what it is today. They did a lot of site prep “Rock Racking”, building summer and winter roads for the paper mills and OSB mills. Forrest also built a lot of forest service roads for the federal government as well as clearing and grubbing over 1000 acres/per year as a subcontractor for other road building companies. In the beginning of the 1980’s, Abramson Construction started building wood bridges for the feds and DNR under Tony Voculich and moved on to installing challenging box culverts under Del Skelton. In the mid 80’s they threw a bid at 3 bigger county jobs and ended up getting awarded all 3. Forrest called it “Black Thursday.” This was a big stepping stone as KGM got into doing its own blasting, bringing in Eino Siekkinen (The Master of Blasting) who took Dan Radle under his wing. After Eino retired, Dan took over blasting for him, as well as overseeing some of KGM’s biggest jobs. In 1994 KGM started doing its own crushing. In 2010 KGM got its first hot mix plant and in 2019 started doing concrete work and continues to grow today.
KGM is a second generation, highway heavy construction contractor. Karla, Kerry, Mark and Gary grew up on the big equipment, working for their dad Forest. They started their own small trucking company in the early 1980’s and have been growing ever since. By focusing on quality and customer satisfaction, KGM has developed into one of the largest highway heavy contractors in Northeastern Minnesota. Today, KGM manages up to 200 employees with projects ranging from $5,000 to over $30 million.
Through ingenuity and innovation, KGM pioneers a competitive industry. In 2004, KGM acquired GPS technology for all their finishing equipment. This equipment provides each individual operator the capability of meticulous work accuracy within 5/100ths of a foot. We are starting to use drone technology in conjunction with our GPS technology to gain more accuracy in aggregate pile calculation as well as shaping and mapping our pits. KGM works hard to stay on the cutting edge and this technology puts them at the top of the list when it comes to precision work.
Along with technology and project management, commitment to employees is vital to KGM’s success. Many employees have been with the company since its inception, and all are committed to the mission put before them. Whether seasonal or year-round, on site or in the office, each employee contributes to the company’s success. Working together, the team in the office and the boots-on-the-ground crew perennially produce top-notch projects throughout the Upper Midwest.
In the spring of 2022 KGM was hired by both the Army Corp of Engineers and MNDOT to perform emergency services to build dikes and raise the road grade to protect the city of International falls water treatment plant. Also when the Rainy Lake level raised well above normal flood level (breaking the previous record), KGM created access for the residents on HWY 11 and Dove Island to get people where they needed to go.
It is KGM Contractors, Inc’s. goal through sustainability practices to improve the livability and prosperity of all individuals by working with communities, individuals, and agencies towards a common goal of protecting the environment. This will be delivered by utilizing cost-effective measures through our construction practices as we perform different aspects of our operations.
KGM Contractors, Inc. performs remediation and reclamation work for both private and public parties. A group of our employees are 40-hour HazWoper trained to perform such tasks.