Our History

COST's roots began in 1957 when John Stanwyck’s contracting company was hired to develop naturalistic habitats at the Milwaukee County Zoo. The zoological industry was seeking changes to the standard cages common in zoos and sought out a firm that was proficient in concrete applications and artistry. Since the very beginning, Stanwyck’s firm excelled in blending proven construction methodologies with an artistic flair. This proficiency had enabled COST to develop highly realistic exhibits within the majority of zoos and aquariums in the U.S. and numerous projects abroad.


Jon J. Stanwyck was named President in 1978, where his leadership skills continued to drive innovation in thematic construction, and was later led by Lance L. Stanwyck until his untimely passing. Under their decades of leadership, COST has branched out into many different market segments and grew dramatically into the firm it is today. Their integration of technology in design through construction has streamlined processes and improved efficiencies at all organizational levels. Jon continues to keep COST on the theme construction forefront as the firm celebrated its 66th year in business.

COST’s 144,000-square-foot plant is equipped with BIM modeling, 5-Axis Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine, prototype 3D printing, a proprietary Computer Aided Framework System (CAFS), and automated bar-bending equipment. The Jackson, WI plant operates GFRC, FRP, and urethane spray departments in addition to paint booths. Various epoxies and acrylics are also utilized by COST’s staff of scenic artisans. Theme carpentry, mechanical systems, and steel fabrication complete the numerous departments within the main production facility. In addition to the Jackson, WI headquarters, field offices in Orlando, Seattle, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, have been established to better serve regional clients.

Six decades from its inception, COST’s award-winning work can be visited at zoos, theme parks, casinos, resorts, museums, botanical gardens, residential communities, golf courses, family entertainment centers, theme retail stores, and restaurants throughout the world.