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.
THE EARLY YEARS: 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.
THE 70s AND 80s: 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 assumed by 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.
INTO THE NEW MILLENIUM AND BEYOND: While day-to-day operations continue under the third generation, Brian, Ronda, Julie and her husband, Paul; Brian’s children, who grew up helping around the company just as he had, have assumed their places in the ranks of company management transitioning for the future, with Brett moving into technology and estimating, and Chad working with new venture development and the operations department. Each has joined the ownership team and the transition to the next generation of leadership and taking the company into the 21st century is developing. Brian’s daughter Rachel and her husband, Brent also took a turn with the company and have since developed a new business venture.
In addition to members of the Mathiowetz family, there are many key contributors who have built a legacy with the company. The company prides itself inspiring loyalty and professionalism in its team, with an attitude that no problem is too difficult for our team to solve. This has led to many employees fulfilling 20-30 year careers and helping to take ownership of our business success. Mathiowetz Construction prides itself on having multi-generational field staff as the company continues to cultivate new delivery methods leveraging technology and providing cutting edge installation methods for our customers.
Another thread that connects the Mathiowetz generations is the projects that have been completed while actually being touched by the multiple generations including a single four-mile stretch of Brown County CSAH 24 right in front of the business’s office. Martin excavated the original roadbed; Richard paved the road; and Brian oversaw the re-grade of the road and the addition of shoulders, and Brett rode on equipment with Richard as a teen and “worked” on the regrade.
Martin Mathiowetz would be surprised at how the construction industry has changed since he built that first scraper by hand over 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.