Mathiowetz Construction Company was founded in 1924 and continues to thrive with its fourth generation of leadership. We are one of the leading excavation contractors in Minnesota, employing 160 employees and transferring as much as 7.0 million yards of dirt per year. We strive toward a safe culture that is second to none and we take great pride when we are able to send our employees home safely each day. We utilize over 300 pieces of heavy equipment to complete high quality projects. Our customer base includes public entities (Cities, Counties and Mn DOT), private owners, landfills, and major commercial firms. Our customers require: grading services, on site expansions, roads & streets, box stores, airports, ethanol plants, grain terminals, and water retention projects. In addition to grading & excavating services Mathiowetz provides aggregates, hauling services, crane services, along with a substantial network of subcontractors to provide turnkey civil site packages for projects of all kinds.
Martin Mathiowetz founded the company in 1924. The first clients were local farmers who needed land cleared and graded for driveways, ditches, and also snow plow services. A tinkerer whose natural curiosity led him to invent solutions to problems. Martin designed and built much of the equipment he needed using scrap parts and ingenuity. The company, like many, faced bankruptcy as a result of the Great Depression. Fortunately, the papers were never filed; however the company did continue to struggle through the 40′s.
The firm endured personal tragedy in the 1950′s when Martin’s son, Rudy, was killed in a motor grader rollover. In a separate incident, Martin suffered a fractured back and neck injury, limiting his ability to work. Keeping the company functioning now rested on the shoulders of 17-year-old Richard who was a senior in high school. Balancing school and work, Richard , with his parents’ guidance, kept the business going until he was able to fully devote his time and energies to its continued survival. Following graduation and marriage to Mary Lou Koll, Richard spent the 1960′s and ’70′s focusing his efforts on developing additional business opportunities and growing the company’s employee base. With his younger brother Reinhold joining in, the company stretched into the Mn DOT arena for projects in the 1980′s. The firm constructed miles of the Interstate system and the Local County State Aid Highway system along with many projects expanding the State highway system.
Richard and Mary Lou’s sons, Brian, Glen and Dean, who had spent time learning how to run various pieces of equipment while still in grade school, continued to work on project crews through high school and college in the 1980′s. They gained experience in every aspect of the business, preparing themselves for eventual leadership positions in the company. Brian has maintained a leadership role since then and the company has continued to grow, with up to 130 employees working on projects in a 100 mile radius from Leavenworth.
Although he continued to be actively involved in the business as Chairman of the Board, Richard passed the role of president to Brian in 1995. Julie Anderson, (Brian’s younger sister) joined the company in 1999 in an administrative role working closely with Richard on the design and construction of a new 16,000 square foot maintenance shop. Sadly, Richard would never see the shop in operation. He passed away unexpectedly on October 31, 1999 at the age of 63. Ownership of the company was bestowed on Brian, Julie and Brian’s wife, Ronda.
Richard was an icon in the road construction industry. He gave back to the industry through service on the boards of AGC of Minnesota and the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, HCIC, as well as chairing AGC’s grading committee for many years. He was a tireless advocate for improvements to Minnesota’s highway and transportation systems and was a familiar face around the Capitol, attending meetings, hearings, and educating each new group of freshman legislators on highway funding issues during legislative sessions. He was so highly regarded by members of the Legislature on both sides of the aisle, that upon his death, the 26-mile section of State Highway 4 between Sleepy Eye and St. James was designated the Richard J Mathiowetz Memorial Highway by a vote of 143 – 0.
While day-to-day operations continue to remain with Brian, Ronda, Julie and her husband, Paul; Brian’s children, who grew up helping around the company just as he had, have begun taking their places in the ranks of company employees, continuing the tradition of learning from the ground up. Brian and Ronda’s children Brett and Rachel have each joined the ownership team in the past year, and Chad has joined the team to begin the learning process as well. The transition to the next generation of leadership and taking the company far into the 21st century has begun.
In addition to members of the Mathiowetz family, there are others who have built a legacy with the company. The company prides itself inspiring loyalty and professionalism in its team which has led to many employees staying past 20-30 years throughout their career. Mathiowetz Construction prides itself on having multi-generational field staff as the company continues to cultivate future team members from within the families of staff.
Another thread that connects the Mathiowetz generations are the projects that have been completed. A single four-mile stretch of Brown County CSAH 24 has been constructed by all four generations – Martin excavated the original roadbed; Richard paved the road; and Brian oversaw the re-grade of the road and the addition of shoulders. Additionally Brian’s oldest son, Brett, road on equipment with Richard as a teen and “worked” on the project.
Martin Mathiowetz might be surprised at how the industry has changed since he built that scraper by hand 90 years ago. But mainly he would be proud that his legacy of hard work, doing your best and being true to your community, friends, and family continues to live on from generation to generation.