Crystal Steel was founded in 1992 as a family business by John, Bill and Jeff Lo. John had been a structural engineer who spent his career working on, and later managing engineers on large-scale, fast-track building projects. As the Chief Structural Engineer for Catalytic, Inc. (later merged with United Engineers), John had effectively managed steel fabricators in the interest of driving projects forward more quickly. This experience formed the core ideal of Crystal Steel, a fabricator who proactively pushes to get issues resolved and the structure built so jobs can move forward.

In 1992, the idea of a sub-contractor and GC being "on the same team" with a shared goal of getting the job done on time and under budget was revolutionary. Crystal Steel continually used its engineering skills, and technological understanding to build relationships of trust, and processes that reduced the paperwork that was endemic in the construction industry. Crystal Steel was a leader in digital records management, using Cloud storage rather than mailing drawings back and forth, going offshore to find the engineering and detailing capacity required to support a growing business, and more.

Today's BIM collaborative management of projects is the direct descendant of this forward-thinking and partnership-oriented approach to design and construction of steel structures.