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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Telegraph

GIESE COMPANIES. In 1923 Edwin Giese began his own roofing and heating/air business in his garage off Rhomberg Avenue. The business, which originally focused on roofing and furnace repair. In 1935 expanded to a location across from to the Sutton Pool. The company headquarters were established and remained there until 1965 when the company move to 2125 Kerper Blvd. (1)

Since the location on Kerper Blvd. did not allow sufficient room for expansion, the company moved its sheet metal fabrication business to a building at 28th and Elm. A separate company, Giese Manufacturing, was formed to increase public awareness of the new business and $500,000 was invested in new machinery.

In 1981 Jim Giese Roofing was established. In 2010 the company employed forty-four people and was located at 10410 Silverwood Drive. Notable projects in the tri-state region included the Lanaster Courthouse, Q Casino, MYSTIQUE CASINO, Galena-Strauss Hospital, the old capitol building in Iowa City, and the University of Iowa Art replacement center.

In 1990, the Giese company diversified into sheet metal fabrication as larger companies began outsourcing, and Giese found it could use equipment already used to make duct work. Customers of the Giese HVAC and sheet metal division included Q casino, University of Dubuque Heritage Center, WAHLERT CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL, and LORAS COLLEGE.

In 1997, Giese Sheet Metal Company employed an estimated sixty people throughout the year while Giese Manufacturing's employment had increased from two to fifteen. The company expanded again in 2002 with the opening of Giese Manufacturing at 7025 Chavenelle Road. Between 2002 and 2023, the company has expanded five times.

In 2010 the Giese company had three operations in Dubuque: Giese Sheet Metal, Giese Manufacturing, and Giese Roofing. By 2023 to this was added Giese Lighting. Company employment rose to nearly 150 people.

The willingness of the company to expand following family member interests may have had a large role in the family staying under family ownership. In the 1980s a study at Loyola University found that the chances of a family business remaining a family business were poor. An estimated 30% of family business were able to be passed along from the first generation, while only 13% survived passing on from the second generation and only 3% from the third. In 2023 the fourth generation managed the company with many of their sons and daughters in the business as well. (2)



1. Kruse, John, "100 Years of Giese," Telegraph Herald, October 22, 2023, p. 8C

2. Ibid.

"Chronology" Telegraph Herald, 1979 p. 15D

"Families in Business, Telegraph Herald, July 30, 2010, p. 97