BUFF CREEK CONCEPTS, a family owned business for over 100 years. Founders starting with the earliest.

Karl (Balchen) Rakkestad

Born: 1866

Karl was a well known carpenter contractor and mathematician in Vennesla Norway. Until he was the age of 20 he worked in Vigelands Foss a sawmill located by the falls in Vennesla. His father was a sawyer there and drowned in the falls when Karl was 12 years old. At Vigelands Foss he was paid 25 cents per day. After he turned 20 he decided it was time to go out on his own. He worked both in the North and South of Norway, and 3 times he worked in America, 5 years in total. Karl is most remembered for moving a church with his team of horses from the small Norwegian town of Sandnes across a frozen fjord to the town of Araksbo. Later in life he was instrumental in teaching mathematics to his nephew who would eventually become listed as one of the Three Best Airmen of all time. Col. Bernt Balchen. The homes he built are still standing and lived in to this day.

Carl Strom

Born 1889

Carl was born in Sweden. After a very short stint in the Swedish Army he traveled to Norway where he married Karl (Balchen) Rakkestad's daughter. In Norway Carl Strom worked in the stone quarries as a dynamite man. This would become very helpful when moving to America after the turn of the century. Carl spent his time in America between Chicago, IL and Winter, WI. In America he was known as a great stone mason, and also was a great carpenter. Some of his projects in America were theaters, high rises, schools, churches, apartments and residences in the Chicagoland area. In Winter he helped lay the stone on the church on main street. Using horses to dig the basement and then building a home of stone located off of Clover road in Winter is one the Strom family drives by often.

There was a time that Carl will never forget. A man fell seven stories off of a high rise in Chicago into a sand pile

and went right back to work.

Bill Strom

Born 1932

Bill had the best of both worlds having been handed down the trades by his father and grandfather. He was born in Winter in the old farmhouse across from what is today know as Strom Bay on Lake Winter. Like his father he spent his time between Chicago, IL and Winter, WI. Bill took the company into a new direction with concrete, masonry, carpentry, and general contracting, known as Strom Construction, Inc. He is best noted for the projects he completed for John Hughes (80's movie producer), Klaskin (Ceo of Enterprise Rent a Car), Chow (owner Precious Moments Figurines) Quantum Foods (space shuttle) Becker (originator of the Becker Beeper), and scores of others.

Bill is a veteran of the Korean War serving in the 95th Airborne Division / 720th Military Police Corp. For a short period of time Bill owned a Real Estate company in Winter along with building homes there also.

Shad Strom

Having grown up in Winter, WI much like his father Shad had spent a lot of his time between Winter and the Chicagoland area. Shad became President of Strom Construction, Inc., working along side his dad on all the big projects. Once again the company was taken into a new direction by Shad. With his skills as a general contractor and consultant, he decided to move his family back to his roots in Northern Wisconsin, residing in the Bruce area. Shad states "We don't want people to have to wait for their bids or phone calls any more. We want a quick turn around, and need to get back to the people immediately." Throughout Shad's career he has made it a point to keep the clients informed thoughout the entire building process. "When you say you are going to get back to someone, you better do it."  

Shad is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was a corpsman, and trained with the Navy Seals.