Barrington construction leader Pepper guided iconic projects across the region

The chairman of Pepper Construction, who was among the third generation of his family to lead the famed company, has died.

David Pepper oversaw hundreds of projects across the country each year, including many suburban landmarks, as chairman of Pepper Construction Group. Pepper passed away Saturday at his Barrington home. He was 59.

"Dave lived his life in service to others," said his brother, Stan Pepper, chairman and CEO of The Pepper Companies. "He believed that values shape your life, even through its unexpected turns.

"He instilled strong values like honesty, gratitude and openness into the culture of Pepper Construction."

Born in Evanston, Dave Pepper was a proud graduate of the civil engineering program at Iowa State University. He joined the family company as a field engineer in 1985 and by 2003, he assumed leadership of Pepper Construction.

The company's legacy in the suburbs dates back to 1937, when its founder, Stanley Pepper, began building homes for developer A.T. McIntosh. The partnership would lead Pepper Construction to build McIntosh homes in Inverness, beginning in 1940.

Subsequent suburban landmarks have included: Deer Park Town Center and Nordstrom stores at Woodfield Mall and Old Orchard Shopping Center; corporate headquarters for Tellabs in Naperville, Kraft in Northfield, and Grainger in Lake Forest; hospitals such as Northwestern Memorial's Outpatient Pavilion in Chicago, Advocate Condell's West Tower addition in Libertyville, and Central DuPage Hospital's bed tower addition in Winfield; New Residence Hall and the Yordon Academic & Athletic Performance Center at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb; the Woodfield Corporate Center in Schaumburg; IKEA Schaumburg; the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines; Barrington's White House; and more.

Pepper also constructed the Daily Herald Printing Center, which opened in Schaumburg in December 2002.

In 2015, Dave Pepper was on hand to unveil one of the company's premier projects: the 1060 Project, to restore and expand Wrigley Field.

The company used 3-D laser scanning and other methods to plan and build structural upgrades at the iconic ballpark, including improved player facilities, new fan amenities, video boards, expanded concession areas, and new and improved restrooms.

Colleagues also pointed to Pepper's vision and leadership in the green building industry as part of his legacy, as well as his responsibility for the success of the construction group.

"Dave was a longtime supporter of green building strategies," Stanley Pepper said, "and he encouraged waste recycling within the company while promoting improved construction air quality."

Over the years, the company has expanded to include more than 1,000 workers, with locations in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, while remaining family owned and operated.

Away from Pepper Construction, he held leadership roles including as president of the Associated General Contractors Education and Research Foundation and on the board of trustees of Providence St. Mel School in Chicago and Dominican University in River Forest. He was a member of St. Michael's Episcopal Church, the Economic Club of Chicago, The Chicago Club, the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, and The Commercial Club of Chicago.

Besides his brother, Pepper is survived by his wife, Katy, and children Ali, Lauren and Collin, as well as his parents, Richard and Roxelyn Pepper; brothers, Dick and Scot; sisters, Lynda and Lisa; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3, before a 10 a.m. memorial service on Saturday, both at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 647 Dundee Ave. in Barrington.

Dave Pepper
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