BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Brett Yutka

Brett Yutka, president of Yutka Fence Inc.
Address: 11880 12th St., Kenosha
Industry: Fence and railing installation
Employees: 11, plus eight people on crews
Family: Wife, Laurie; Sons, Rocco (4) & Bo (3); Mother, Trudy; Father, Paul; Brother, Chad

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?  
“With the help of a trusted consultant, we took an in-depth look at our true costs for each of our product lines. We made some significant changes regarding the types of projects we would pursue and those we would pass on. It was a huge eye opener for us and has made a significant difference for us this year. We have a much clearer understanding now of who our ideal customers are and why.”

What’s new at your company?  
“We have made some key hires at our company over the last year that will position us to have a great 2015. We have also implemented some changes to our installation methods that include driving steel posts for every type of fence we install instead of only offering the standard concreted post method. It offers several benefits to our customers that are in line with the type of value we want to provide.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?  
“One to two sales people, one to two installers, and one to two office administrators.”  

What has fueled your company’s growth?  
“We have focused on commercial projects more than we have in the past. That, combined with the purchase of our new location on I-94 and Highway E in Somers, has increased our visibility, allowing us to reach more potential customers than we were able to in the past.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“We are considering adding some complementary product lines outside of fencing that we don’t have experience with. It will be a challenge to transition into those new products during the busy season without being overwhelmed in the office. We are up for the challenge, though.”

What compelled you to join your family’s business? How do you maintain a positive dynamic in a family business setting?
“My dad brought my brother and I to work with him when we were little kids and tricked us into thinking we were playing. That eventually turned into us working full time in the summers during school.  

“We both went to college to make sure we had some choices outside of fencing, but after working at a few corporations I became disillusioned with that atmosphere. I decided to come back and team up with my dad to grow Yutka Fence into a different company than it had traditionally been.”

Do you have a business mantra?  
“Not yet, but I have a primary aim, which is ‘Health, Balance, Presence.’ These are the things I focus on when making decisions. It has been a big help.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“I look up to my dad. He has never gotten deep into the finances of a business, but he is exceptional in most other aspects that I think make a business successful in the long run. He is compassionate, fair, honest, trustworthy, the hardest worker I have ever seen, and has built a reputation for our company over the past 45 years that makes me proud.”  

What was the best advice you ever received?
“Be who you are and not who you think you are supposed to be.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“Soccer, racquetball, running, weightlifting, water skiing, swimming, boating, reading and spending time with my family.”

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