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‘Schnippel Construction’

Aug 19

Written by:
8/19/2018 12:00 AM  RssIcon

Many people have commented on the article I wrote about my parent’s business (the creatively titled ‘Schnippel Construction’) two weeks back. I thought I would give a bit more information about their work, as it informs who I am and how I think about management and leadership of a team. I know I have lots to learn yet, but more on that in future columns.

The business my parents run (ran? Mom is fully retired and enjoying the Grandkids, Dad is still working about 20-30 hours a week; which is way too many for my mom’s liking!) is a commercial construction company that was originally founded by my paternal grandfather. When he came back from the Marines in the Pacific Theater in World War II, he absolutely did not want to go back to the farm he was raised on. Instead, he moved into town, married his high school sweetheart, and started a handyman service doing small projects around town. Eventually, he moved up to houses and small commercial construction, as it was available.

As you are want to do, (or maybe it is required?) when your father runs such a business, my dad started working with his father through high school and college; earning a Civil Engineering degree and professional engineer’s license. By 1980, dad was running the business, shortly mom would join him full time to handle the accounting side of things; and the business continued to grow and thrive. At this point, Grandma and Grandpa entered full retirement and, before too long, moved full time to Indian Lake, near Bellefontaine, Ohio.

During the 1980s, the company moved full time to commercial construction, with a focus on Metropolitan Housing remodels and other open bids. As the economy went up and down, they eventually found their way into ‘hospitality contracting,’ and started constructing hotels throughout central and western Ohio, even into Michigan and Indiana. As of the mid 2000s, they moved away from the open bids and do mostly design build projects. My older brother, Keith, has been named president of the company and my oldest sister, Tracy, has taken over the role my mother held in the company.

I remember the dedication that my father displayed towards the company. He would call in to the office even on our family vacations. He would often go back to the office in the evenings to finish up work and complete bids. But he also cared a great deal about the people who worked for and with him; and that is perhaps the greatest lesson I learned from him: our most important asset is our people.

Finally, I leave with a thought that has ruminated through my brain many times over when thinking of my family: when I think of the business that defines my family, I think of the mark they have left on the world. Even my grandfather’s tombstone reflects this mark: a crane is etched onto lifting a concrete panel into place. It is truly unique and special.

And I think: how have I left a mark on the world? And have I left the world a better place because of my presence in the world? Might we all leave a beautiful mark on the world and the people around us.

God Bless,
Fr. Kyle Schnippel


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