Since 1964, builders have relied on Heitkamp Masonry to provide high-quality masonry work for their most demanding projects. With offices in St. Louis and Jefferson, Missouri, Heitkamp Masonry works on projects ranging from new construction to renovation in the commercial, residential and industrial sectors.
Founded by Bob Heitkamp in 1964, Heitkamp Masonry began as a small business performing commercial and residential work. In 1996, the second generation of the family took over the company, which consists of Mike Heitkamp, Joan Grass, Bill Heitkamp and Tom Heitkamp. From 1996 to the early 2000s, Joan and her three brothers transformed Heitkamp Masonry from a $2 million-per-year company to generating $15 million in annual revenue.
Expanding into new markets
When the recession hit, many construction companies were faced with tough decisions regarding survival. The team at Heitkamp Masonry decided to take a risk and expand the operation’s geographic footprint. “We got together and decided that we were going to start working outside of the St. Louis metropolitan area,” says Dan Grass, vice president of Heitkamp Masonry and son of Joan Grass. “I really feel that that has helped us weather the storm, because when the recession hit, our revenue was cut in half.”
Grass was granted the freedom by his uncle to start procuring work outside St. Louis while securing a crew. Starting with a job at Fort Leonard Wood, an army base approximately 100 miles outside of St. Louis, Heitkamp Masonry made its way into other markets. After a $7 million job in Columbia, Missouri, Grass began to realize the company’s decision to venture outside of its usual market was paying off.
“We’ve gone from $3 million per year of work outside of the St. Louis metropolitan area to about $10 million,” says Grass. “We’re different from other masonry contractors by the fact that we try to target rural areas, where there might not be a large contractor to service these projects.” With a solid team that enjoys traveling for work, Heitkamp Masonry brings a professional approach to projects that otherwise might not be manned.
Heitkamp Masonry recently worked with Sircal Contracting on a project in Jefferson City, Missouri. The job was for the Missouri National Guard Association (MoNGA) and took place at the Ike Skelton Training Center. Heitkamp Masonry was part of a $1.8 million renovation which included tearing off 80,000 bricks and installing new flashing and anchors before installing the new brick. “We also tore out about 2,000 linear feet of stone sills and banding,” says Grass. “It was cast stone and we replaced it with Indiana limestone.”
A challenge that the company overcame on this job involved matching the existing mortar perfectly, due to the fact that not all the brick was torn out. “We accomplished that by sending the existing mortar off to a lab,” Grass explains. “They broke it down scientifically so we could match it.”
The company was also working on the top of an existing building, which created multiple precautions regarding weight and scaffolding. “We basically had to move everything by hand, which became time consuming,” adds Grass.
While the company has established a niche in rural markets, Heitkamp Masonry continues to maintain a strong presence within metropolitan areas. “We still do a lot of work for the University of Missouri,” says Grass.
Heitkamp Masonry recently worked with K & S on a full exterior renovation project for Wolpers & Johnston Hall at the University of Missouri. The company replaced approximately 50,000 bricks and partnered with Staat, Inc. to tuck-point 50,000 square feet of existing brick. “We removed, salvaged and reinstalled about 4,000 linear feet of stone banding,” recounts Grass. “We also added a new stone entrance to match the existing building.
One of the biggest obstacles of working on a college campus is the lack of space for mobility. “Logistically, it was very challenging,” says Grass. “The two buildings were right next to each other, so when we worked on Wolpers, Johnston was occupied and vice versa. The space was very tight; there was only one way in and one way out.”
One of Heitkamp Masonry’s more notable projects was in the form of an amphitheater at the University of Missouri. The company recently performed the masonry work for Traditions Plaza, which sits on the foreground of Jesse Hall, a focal point of the college campus. “It’s not the biggest job we’ve ever done but one of the more prestigious,” says Grass. “We worked with River City Construction for three months to get that job done.”
Along with high-quality work, Heitkamp Masonry values the relationships it establishes with contractors as a measure of success for the company. “We’ve created some great partnerships and we keep doing a lot of repeat business with these companies,” says Grass. “It’s also been great to see the different generations of the family come in and help build the company up to what it is now.”
Heitkamp Masonry will be looking to open new locations in Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri. “We’re always looking to achieve that next goal,” says Grass. As the company expands, Heitkamp Masonry will establish and build new relationships while continuing to work with familiar contractors.
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