History & Profile of Sowles Company

Sowles Co. is a family run business with a history of steel erection going back three generations. In 1933, Ed Waylander left the family farm in Grove City, Minnesota and moved to Minneapolis. He started the Waylander-Peterson Steel Erection Company. His business enjoyed many successful years where they would travel the country to erect bridges, buildings and power plants. 

During World War II, Larry Sowles served as a Corsair F4-U pilot on the Pacific Front. After the war, he came home to his new bride, Coralis Waylander and to the family business. During this time, Larry gained valuable experience working for Ed and the Waylander-Peterson Steel Erection Company. After Waylander-Peterson Steel Erection Company had dissolved, Larry’s vision of owning his own company, became a reality. L.H. Sowles Co. was founded in 1961.

larry sowles

Larry Sowles & Coralis Waylander

L.H. Sowles Co. began in Larry’s basement. As the company grew, it moved to a small building in South Minneapolis, near downtown. In 1968, Larry was able to negotiate the steel erection contract for the IDS Tower (57 story structural steel project), in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This magnificent office building rises hundreds of feet above the Minneapolis skyline.

Since this time, Sowles Co. has continued to take a role in most every high-rise building in the area, and numerous other structural and reinforcing steel projects, both large and small. Sowles Co. has expanded westward to the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions, maintaining offices and a substantial number of iron worker crews in these locations.

history & profile sowles first office

Sowles First Office

Larry’s son, Dan, continued the family tradition. He has worked in almost every position in the company since 1977 and was named President in 1990. Dan’s son in law, John Dahl, has had a similar experience. John has worked for the company since 2006, first as an iron worker and now serving as Vice President and Area Manager of the Midwest division, and is working hard to continue the family tradition.