Ronald Ahrens, born in 1955, was the first grandchild of Reginald and Margaret Tillotson. During his boyhood, Ronald spent many happy times in the home that Reginald built of slip-formed concrete atop a knoll in the Ponca Hills, north of Omaha. Although he knew generally of Tillotson Construction’s accomplishments, it was only in 2011, after linking up with Kristen Cart, that he began to learn more details. Ronald, who now lives near Palm Springs, California, is a freelance writer and photographer specializing in automotive and business history topics. He has contributed to Automobile Magazine over a period of more than twenty-five years, and his byline has appeared in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He also writes regularly for DBusiness (“Detroit’s Premier Business Journal”). He feels that portraying the accomplishments of the men and women of Tillotson Construction Company, and those who went forth with the know-how that originated with the Tillotsons of Omaha, is a great honor.
Kristen Osborn Cart is the granddaughter of William Arthur Osborn. Kristen has a degree in aerospace engineering from Colorado University at Boulder. She became a pilot and served on active duty in the United States Navy from 1982 to 1990, retiring from the Naval Reserve in 2006. She currently flies for UPS and is married with three children. Her grandfather was superintendent and builder for J.H. Tillotson Contractor, Inc., in the mid-1940s and was a partner in the Mayer-Osborn Construction Company, of Denver, from 1948 to 1955. Every summer while growing up, Kristen visited her grandparents in Fremont, Nebraska, going fishing with her grandpa and hunting night crawlers in his back yard. He died in 1977, when Kristen was a teenager. She became interested in family history when her mother began writing to older family members in the 1970s to discover the family’s origins. In the last ten years, Kristen has used Internet sources and traveled extensively to complete the family story, with help and inspiration from her mom and dad. She first visited and photographed the Mayer-Osborn elevator in McCook, Nebraska, in 2008. It was then that she began to wonder about the history of her grandfather’s business. She enjoys hunting, photography, and travel, and can’t resist a mystery.