Exterior of custom built home by Falcon Alaska

Our History

Nearly 30 Years & Counting – A Story From The Founders

The Wirtanen family moved to Palmer, Alaska, in 1995, when Steven was 13 years old, and Carl Wirtanen purchased his first building lot in Summerwoods Subdivision for just $6,000!

A home builder by trade, Carl Wirtanen built his family’s first home there, and then a few years later, they sold it and built another home for the family on Lazy Mountain.

House framing done by Falcon Alaska

Carl always joked that with five sons in a row, he “grew his own crew!” In the summers, Steven rode to the job in the work van sitting on construction tools while two older brothers double buckled in the front seat. There must not have been OSHA back then, as using power tools and hard work started at a young age!

Good old-fashioned work ethic and honesty never disappoint, and gradually the family business expanded. The boys were soon running their own crews and their own jobs, building houses for folks across the Mat-Su Valley.

During this time, Grant Hendrickson came to work for Wirtanen Homes. Over the years, Grant advanced from laborer to foreman, then project manager, draftsman, estimator, and operations manager.

Construction worker in a hard hat

In 2009, Steven purchased the first half of the business from his parents. For another five years, the Wirtanen “office” remained in the shop on Carl’s personal residence, meeting clients with the hum of the dry kiln or the whine of power tools in the background. Carl built his own dry kiln, and the millwork shop made the wood trim that went into Wirtanen Homes.

Red barn covered in snow

In 2011, Wirtanen Inc. purchased property on the Palmer Wasilla Highway. The buildings required substantial renovation, but eventually, it was complete, and the office was moved to the new facility!

Long driveway with home in the background Trucks parked in front of construction site

As things progressed and Grant became more involved, conversations turned to ownership options and future business plans. Grant and Steven ultimately decided to create a second company called Axys LLC, which focused on commercial construction. Various projects were completed all over Alaska, both on and off the road system.

Grant’s impressive ability to grasp project details and implement them even in the most trying circumstances was nothing less than extraordinary. His love for working with the crew and for solving the impossible was channeled into Axys. In seven years, Axys grew from nothing to over 10 million dollars in revenue.

Construction crew working

With both companies growing, there was a constant need for more talent and manpower. Between Wirtanen and Axys, there were skillsets and positions that in some cases were missing and in other cases duplicated. There were also two physical offices, two sets of books for accounting, two CPAs, two management teams, two insurance policies, two 401(k) plans — two of nearly everything.

Enter COVID-19 and the myriad challenges it threw at the building industry, including ridiculous price increases, excessive lead times, material shortages, and the most difficult of all — labor shortages – and Grant and Steven saw an opportunity. The decision was made to officially combine companies. After considerable thought, it was decided on an entirely new name for their combined company: Falcon Alaska, LLC.

With all the management and field crews being under a single roof, opportunities were available that hadn’t been before. An architectural designer was soon hired and added to the design team, along with many structural concrete projects. The larger field crew could also now self-perform more of the work, giving more control over scheduling and quality control.

Residential construction site

Steven’s and Grant’s early childhood friendship turned into an incredible business partnership, and their lifetime of construction experiences continues to be channeled into the future of Falcon Alaska. Whether it’s drafting a set of architectural plans, building a custom home or hanger, framing, or structural concrete, Falcon has grown into a recognized construction expert in Alaska.

– Steven Wirtanen & Grant Hendrickson

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