Our Storied Past
Today, Valmont is a globally recognized leader in the civil infrastructure and agriculture industries. Like most every great company, Valmont began with one man who had a vision, an entrepreneurial spirit and strong desire to create something of lasting value. So strong was that desire that he put his life savings—$5,000.00—on the line. That man was Robert B. Daugherty. In 1946, he founded what was to become the company we know as Valmont Industries today.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1922, Bob Daugherty was a graduate of Omaha Central High School and later attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. After college, he served in World War II. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, first serving in the Pacific theatre and later in China.
In 1946, following the war, Frank Daugherty (Bob’s uncle and mentor) encouraged Bob to consider business opportunities. This led him to invest his life savings in a farm machine shop in Valley, Nebraska. In 1954, Daugherty purchased the licensing rights to manufacture the center pivot from inventor Frank Zybach and embarked on a journey that would revolutionize agriculture—in North America and throughout the world.
Under Daugherty’s leadership, Valmont later expanded into the tubing, galvanizing and engineered infrastructure products industries.
Daugherty retired from Valmont’s Board of Directors in 2004 after serving for 57 years, and continued to demonstrate his dedication to agriculture and water conservation well into his retirement. In April 2010, his charitable foundation committed $50 million to the University of Nebraska to found the Global Water for Food Institute. The multi-campus center for research, education and policy analysis relating to the use of water for agriculture will facilitate development of solutions to the challenges of hunger, poverty, farm productivity and water management. “I can’t think of a better investment to sustain [my life’s work],” he said.
Daugherty’s legacy will extend into the future as Valmont continues to grow and adapt to the global business environment. Explore the Valmont Industries timeline to learn more about our history.