My Toughest Challenge: Matt Mehring

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:55 am

Matt Mehring

Position: President

Company: Anderson Ashton Design/Build

What it does: Anderson Ashton, of New Berlin, is a medium-sized design-build firm (19 employees) that works in basically every market, including industrial, retail and even churches.

Career: At age 38, Mehring has worked at Anderson Ashton for 15 years. But his involvement in the industry started as early as eight years old, when he began working in various capacities for his dad’s commercial carpentry firm. At Anderson Ashton, Mehring first started working in the design department before moving on to numerous other roles, including vice president. He became president in 2017.

The challenge

Mehring quickly rose through the ranks at Anderson Ashton, eventually being hand-picked by longtime president Dave Miller to succeed him upon his retirement.

Miller unexpectedly died in April 2017, several months before he and Mehring were able to implement the succession plan they were working on.

Mehring, who owns half the company (the other half is owned by vice president and principal Jim Filer), said the succession plan was already a departure for the company since previous ownership had all retired at the same time.

“This was the first time that this was just the one person (retiring), so this was just a different way of doing that,” Mehring said. “Dave was going to retire at the end of 2017. … Once he passed away, we had to kind of scrap that (plan) and start over.”

Along with a sooner-than-expected ascendency, Mehring faced a new set of challenges. These included handling a companywide mourning process, trying to predict the future and guiding controlled growth in an ever-changing industry, while thinking more than ever about how the firm’s decisions would impact employees and their families.

The resolution

Even in this difficult position, Mehring took comfort in knowing that all of the employees were already aware of the succession plan.

“Everyone was on board and waiting for that next chapter to happen in the company,” he said.

The details of the new succession plan were hammered out. Mehring also owns half of a related concrete and masonry company, and 49 percent of a related steel-erecting company. He serves as a VP at both of those.

Mehring said he also had ideas on how to leave his own mark on Anderson Ashton, such as making upgrades to the firm’s existing technologies.

The takeaway

It has been a busy couple of years under Mehring’s leadership. The firm saw a revenue increase of 58 percent in Mehring’s first year as president, and has doubled annual gross sales in 2017 and 2018.

Moving forward, Mehring said the company has an understanding of the direction it’s taking. He added he understands it’s not his job to “bark orders,” but to work in collaboration with everyone on the team and lean on their experiences and expertise.

“I think everybody in the firm knows I’m 100 percent committed to the firm, and I work a lot along those lines, too,” he said.

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