Berghammer Construction bolsters executive team


Berghammer Construction Co. president Leif Nesheim has added two new members to his executive management team to assist in his goal of changing the corporate culture at his Butler company.

Berghammer has hired George Minnich as senior vice president of project management and estimating and Craig Reisinger as director of field operations.

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According to Nesheim, Berghammer is committed to becoming a larger, more powerful organization through strengthening the internal structure of the company.

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"Our transformation is more of an internal adjustment," said Nesheim. "We are focusing on accountability of our people, growth of our people, consistency and corporate self-discipline."

Nesheim purchased Butler-based Berghammer in 1988 and co-owned the company until 2001, when his partner retired. In 1999, Berghammer held a focus group to receive feedback from clients, where Nesheim found he was an externally focused leader.

"When asked to name one word that best described Berghammer, at the end of an all-day session, three of five clients said, ‘Leif," Nesheim said. "After that, I realized you can only go so far on your own strength, energy and initiative."

Soon after the focus group, Nesheim hired Jim Parks as executive vice president of marketing and business development. Nesheim said the addition of Parks marked the transition of Berghammer into a more professionally managed organization.

In 2001, Berghammer hired Glenn Gohlke for what Nesheim called internal momentum. Gohlke is the chief operating officer of finance and administration, but was initially hired in 2000 as an independent consultant.

Nesheim said he sought after Reisinger, who previously worked for New Berlin-based Beyer Construction for 25 years, for nearly two years before Reisinger joined Berghammer.

Minnich is the former vice president of C.G. Schmidt Inc., a Milwaukee-based construction company, and was seeking an ownership position. He joined Berghammer as a principal and has 27 years of experience in the construction industry.

With his team now in place, Nesheim said the executive management team is focusing on relationships and people.

"Our No. 1 goal is developing and cultivating long-term relationships," said Gohlke. "Our No. 2 goal is to take care of our own people, specifically in relationships and the culture around the office."

Although Berghammer had $45.1 million in 2002 work volume, Nesheim said the executive management team is preparing to compete for larger construction projects.

Beghammer’s current projects range from $100,000 to $10 million, according to Nesheim.

"If there is such thing as spontaneous combustion, we are getting nearer to it every day," said Nesheim. "The key is diversity in the marketplace, having projects across every market sector. Eight years ago, we were thought of as an industrial contractor. It has taken a concerted effort to break away from that image, but growth will be our reward."

Reisinger said he plans to look at all of the company’s systems and procedures to identify problems and devise ways for the company to improve. As field director, Reisinger said he will promote continual education and resources to field workers in the form of material equipment and training.

Reisinger said Berghammer has become more conscious of documentation and has incorporated software programs that allow communication directly to the field for efficiency.

"Everyone in our competition can build a building," Reisinger said. "We need to be fast, safe, efficient and maintain relationships while keeping quality as a top priority in order to optimize our ability to compete in the marketplace."

Minnich said he plans to continue to understand the goals and expectations of everyone involved in the company’s design and construction process.

"When everyone understands each other, the architects, the superintendents, the people in the field and the owner, you become a team, and the owner gets the proverbial 110% effort. Group participation brings out the best in anyone, and when you are part of a team instead of acting as an individual, you can play on a higher level," Minnich said.

Nesheim believes he has found the five best people in the industry he could possibly put together, and he is now ready to take Berghammer to the next level.

"We are now creating our new history and new traditions, modeling other companies that have grown and developed momentum and market penetration," Nesheim said.

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