Pete Lien & Sons began as a small rock quarry operation, located on the foothills of the Black Hills, near Rapid City SD. The company was founded by Pete Lien and his two sons, Chuck and Bruce, in 1944. While the company owed its early success to business generated by nearby Rapid City Army Air Base (Later Ellsworth Air Force Base) and later to the building of the interstate highway system, it has grown through the careful acquisition of reserves and existing companies into a privately held, multi-million dollar corporation with holdings though out a three-state region.
Throughout the history of the company, the Lien's core business has been mining, primarily limestone. The original quarry that Pete bought from his supplier has been mined and reclaimed. The company has purchased additional reserves and currently has active mines in northern Colorado, western South Dakota, and eastern Wyoming. The mined product supplies the company's lime, pulverized limestone, and concrete plants, local road contractors, and local homeowners.
In 1956, Pete Lien & sons, entered the sand and gravel business with the purchase of Birdsall Sand & Gravel. Initially composed of one sand plant on the Cheyenne River near Wasta, SD, the business has continued to grow through the years with the development of additional plants in western South Dakota central Wyoming, and southern Colorado. These plants produce high quality sand and gravel and provide aggregates for the company's ready mix concrete operations, in addition to providing materials for road and highway projects.
In 1961, a decision was made to enter the lime business with the erection of a lime plant at the Rapid City Quarry. Bruce Lien bought most of the key component parts from a dismantled operation on the west coast. The original kiln was eight and one half feet in diameter and one hundred and sixty three feet long and remained in production until its replacement in 1993. The Liens expanded their lime production in 1992 with a production facility in northern Wyoming. Further expansion of the lime business occurred in 1996 with the installation of a hydrated lime plant in northern Colorado. Finally, in 2010, a brand new, state-of-the-art plant and kiln were installed at the Rapid City complex.
In 1966, the company bought its first ready mix concrete operation, Central Mix, in Rapid City. Six years later, in 1972, Rapid City suffered a devastating flood. The rebuilding efforts after the flood provided a steady need for both concrete and rock products. The ready mix operation continued to grow with acquisitions of plants around the Black Hills in western South Dakota, Gillette, WY, Steamboat Springs, CO, and Colorado Springs, CO.
In 1970, the company purchased a local cement block plant, Dakota Block, located on the southern end of the Lien's original quarry in Rapid City. This plant now makes concrete block for construction projects throughout the Dakotas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana. Their success has seen the operation diversify into the production of Versa-Lok, Willow Creek Pavers, and Boulder Creek Stone.
Today, Pete Lien & Sons is an integral part of many communities across South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado. Over 400 men and women are proud to be called employees of the company. Chuck Lien still serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors, almost 70 years after he and his brother and their father purchased a small quarry on the outskirts of Rapid City and began a business with the marketing motto, "If you need a little or a lot, call Pete Lien & Sons." The company is still entirely owned by members of the Pete Lien family, with several of Pete's grandchildren directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, including his grandson and namesake, Peter C. Lien, the company president.