Just A Minute with William J. Mielke, President & CEO of Ruekert/Mielke Inc.

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:33 pm

Company address: W233 N2080 Ridgeview Parkway Waukesha, WI 53188
Company Web site: www.ruekert-mielke.com
Industry: Consulting engineering
Number of employees: 131
Education: B.S., civil engineering; UW-Madison; registered professional engineer and registered land surveyor
Family: Married to wife, Barbara, for 36 years; daughter, Anne, graduated from Northwestern University and now works for Epic in Madison
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
"Our company took a hard look at our approach to business development. We reviewed what was working and what wasn’t. Since over 80 percent of our business is repeat work, we needed to refocus our efforts on listening to and serving our existing clients. We are in the process of holding new staff training programs to now implement our new business development program."
What’s new at your company?
"We have now settled into our new office building, which gives us the space and facilities to better perform our work and serve our clients. We have a large conference center which allows us to hold numerous staff and client training sessions. We have quite a few seminars planned for 2005. I don’t think the value of sharing our expertise with our municipal clients can really be measured."
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
"We have recently hired an economic analyst for our financial services division and a new planner for our planning division. We also have positions available for engineers with Department of Transportation experience and engineers with wastewater treatment facility design experience. We have a continuing capital investment planned for 2005 in our information services area. We manage and support the community parcel and infrastructure information for many counties and municipalities in Wisconsin. We have mapped over 210,000 parcels in the state and host Web sites for various communities. That requires us to invest considerable amounts of money in data storage and protection. The security of that data from the many hackers, both here and abroad, is extremely important."
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
"Since nearly all our work is for municipal or county government, we will need to react to the current movement towards reducing local property taxes by finding ways to save money and consolidate municipal services."
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
"One of the hottest issues we are currently very involved in is the future water supply for southeastern Wisconsin. We have designed many of the water systems for the region and are committed to developing long-term solutions as to where the water will come from 100 years from now."
Do you have a business mantra?
"We don’t have any problems, only opportunities."
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
"I am a second-generation owner who was fortunate enough to have a father who set a great example for me to follow. He was wise enough to let me make my own mistakes and gave me enough room to shape the company as I envisioned it should be."
What was the best advice you ever received?
"Life is about attitude, in that it is made up of 10 percent of what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it."
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
"Probably one of the most embarrassing and yet funny things was during a national meeting at a black-tie event. As I was getting up from the head table to walk to the podium to accept an award, my wife was feverishly trying to get my attention to let me know my zipper was not zipped. I did finally catch her signal, but not until after I had already started walking to the podium. This made for a very ungraceful and less than ceremonious approach to the podium."
What do you like to do in your free time?
"I am a pilot and love flying whenever I get a chance. Golf and boating are also very high on my list."
February 18, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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