Chief Industries

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Chief Industries
IndustryWholesale Building Materials
Founded1954; 70 years ago (1954)
FounderVirgil Eihusen
HeadquartersGrand Island, Nebraska
Key people
  • DJ Eihusen (CEO)
  • Dave Ostdiek (CFO)

Chief Industries is a privately held, family-owned business that started in 1954 and is headquartered in Grand Island, NE.[1] The company was founded by Virgil Eihusen and is currently run by DJ, his grandson who serves as the chairman and CEO of Chief Industries.[2]

Over the course of five decades, the company has expanded into seven brands across the globe serving industries including commercial construction, agricultural storage, metal buildings, trucking, modular homes, fabrication, and ethanol production.[3]


In 1954, Virgil Eihusen launched a small residential construction company from his garage in Grand Island, Nebraska. This start-up was the preliminary blueprint for the company that would eventually expand its reach to a global market. Seven years after the launch of Chief Industries, the first brand - Chief Agri - was launched, and following that, five years later, Chief Buildings.[4]

In 1968, Chief Industries opened a plant in Fort Dodge and also a fully automated grain bin plant in Rensselaer, further expanding the operations of its debut brand Chief Agri. In the same year, what was formerly known as Big Chief of Nebraska finally took the name Chief Industries which, since then, has been the same.[5]

In 1969, Chief Industries focused on expanding the Chief Buildings brand and a year later opened BonnaVilla - a manufacturer of mobile homes in Aurora. In 1973, the company acquired Grand Island Contract Carriers. In 1978, Chief Industries started a Presidential Award Club to honor dealer and district managers for achieving million-dollar sales volume goals.[6]

Chief Fabrication was launched in 1984. In 1987, the company opened another plant in Rensselaer to expand the operations of Chief Buildings. In 1990, Chief Ethanol was formed, being the company’s fourth brand to hit the markets.[7]

In 1993, Founder Virgil stepped down as the CEO of the firm and named his son Robert as the chairman of the board, president, and CEO. In 1996 the company opened yet another plant to support the operations of Chief Agri in Rensselaer. Arrowhead Steel Fabrications started its operations in 2001. In 2007, Chief Industries opened a service center in Lincoln, NE, to expand the operations of Chief Buildings.[8]

In 2010, then president Robert retired and passed on the torch to his son DJ, who currently serves as the CEO of the company. A year after DJ took on the firm, Grand Island contract carrier became a part of Chief Industries and also another brand "Chief Development" was launched - having operations in Grand Island, NE. In the same year, the company also launched Chief Environmental Products.

In 2016, Chief Industries opened a second plant in Lexington to support the operations of Chief Ethanol. A year later, the company opened another operations center for Chief Buildings in Ford Dodge. And in 2018, for Chief Construction in Lincoln, NE.[9]

Chief Industries currently employs thousands of team members located in over 25 states and four countries. Chief Industries was first led by Virgil Eihusen, who handed down leadership to his son, Robert, and now to his grandson, DJ, serving as chairman, CEO, and president.[10]


Chief Construction

Chief Construction began as a one-man operation in 1954, and it was the first of Chief Industries' family of companies. Chief Construction is a design-build, construction management general contractor that serves a variety of sectors. From the early architectural concepts through the full build-out, the brand provides construction services. Heartland Electric, a subsidiary of Chief Construction, provides residential, commercial, new construction, and industrial electrical services in Grand Island.[11]

Chief Agri

Chief Agri, which was founded in 1961, is a global manufacturer of grain storage and handling equipment. The customer base spans across privately held farms to commercial co-ops to large operation trading ports. Chief Agri's products are marketed through local dealers in all 50 states of the United States and more than 60 countries across the world, providing grain storage solutions to the world's agricultural producers. Chief Agri's production and sales locations include the United States, France, South America, and the Philippines.[12]

Chief Buildings

Chief Buildings is a nationwide metal building manufacturer that was founded in 1966. It has offices and manufacturing facilities in Nebraska, Iowa, Alabama, and Indiana. Chief Buildings specializes in non-residential low-rise metal building systems. Chief Buildings' Arrowhead Steel Fabricators specializes in the detailing and fabrication of various steel and conventional steel structures. Arrowhead Construction focuses on low-rise construction as well as more sophisticated mid-rise construction projects in Nebraska and its adjacent states.[13]

Chief Carriers

Since 1973, Chief Carriers has been a committed fleet of trucks and trailers delivering items across the country as a brand of Chief Industries. Their logistics division, Chief Logistics, has been in operation since 1986 and specializes in flatbed shipments throughout the United States and Canada, as well as specialty and oversized freight.[14]


BonnaVilla has been a modular house manufacturer since 1970, offering a wide selection of modular homes with a variety of floor layouts that may be customized. BonnaVilla was named Modular Home of the Month in February 2020.[15] Every home is constructed in an indoor manufacturing plant in Aurora, Nebraska, allowing construction to take place all year round, regardless of the weather. BonnaVilla manufactures high-quality, low-cost modular homes throughout the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states. Eagle Crest Homes began as a wholesaler for BonnaVilla in central Nebraska in 1996.[16] Several completely furnished and decorated BonnaVilla model homes are on show at the Eagle Crest sales center, and their crew provides full-service on-site modular house construction around the area.[17]

Chief Fabrication

Chief Fabrication, founded in 1984, is one of the largest bespoke steel fabrication businesses between Chicago and Denver, supplying a wide range of manufacturers across the Midwest. Its varied capabilities include stamping, welding, CNC punching, and CNC forming, as well as developing its own product line, the Pivot Walker.[18]

Chief Ethanol Fuels

Nebraska's first dry-mill ethanol plant is run by Chief Ethanol Fuels. In 1990, Chief began working in the ethanol industry. Over 40 million bushels of locally farmed corn are processed into clean renewable fuel, distiller grains, corn oil, and high-quality animal feed at two factories in Hastings and Lexington, Nebraska, with an annual output capacity of over 125 million gallons of fuel.[19][20]


  • 1968: The Partners in Progress Award, The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce
  • 1968: Founder Virgil Eihusen named as the Small Businessman of The Year, The Regional Office of The Small Business Administration in Omaha.

In the media



  1. "Draft:Chief Industries, Inc". Wikipedia. 3 March 2022. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  2. "RI Business Portal". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  3. "Draft:Chief Industries, Inc". Wikipedia. 3 March 2022. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  4. "SAFER Web - Company Snapshot CHIEF INDUSTRIES INC". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  5. "Heartland Electric Company · Chief Construction Company · 3935 Westgate Rd, Grand Island, NE 68803, USA". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  6. "chief.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  7. "Search Member Type". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  8. "SAFER Web - Company Snapshot CHIEF CARRIERS INC". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  9. "Nebraska FFA Foundation Virtual Field Trips: About Chief Industries". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  10. "Electrician - Kearney, NE". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  11. " - ctm new". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  12. "Chief Agri Industrial - Kearney, NE |". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  13. "BBB: Start with Trust® | Better Business Bureau®". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  14. "Product Finder — ENERGY STAR Certified Roof Products". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  15. "CHIEF IND. (BONNAVILLA HOMES)". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  16. "Eagle Crest Homes West Hwy, Grand Island, NE. Post Code: 68801 Tel: (30". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  17. "Home of the Month, February 2020 | Modular Home Builders Association". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  18. "CHIEF PIVOT WALKER – irrigation components international". Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  19. "Chief Ethanol Fuels, Inc". U.S. GRAINS COUNCIL. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  20. "Chief Ethanol and Catahoula Resources to jointly develop CCS in Nebraska: Biofuels Digest". 10 June 2021. Retrieved 15 April 2022.

External links