Archive for Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Construction firm sells to local couple

New owners to reatin Meadows name

April 6, 2005

A major Tonganoxie business changed hands last week.

On Friday, Larry and Lois Meadows sold Meadows Construction to Mike and Lisa Reischman.

The business, which has 35 to 40 employees, will keep the name of Meadows Construction. And, Larry Meadows will continue working for the company. On Monday, Meadows said he's comfortable with the change.

"Mike knows the business and he's worked for us for 26 years," Meadows said. "He has a lot of friends in the business already, and a lot of business contacts already, he'll do fine. In ways, he has a better opportunity than we did because he's got more equipment available and more people available."

Close to home

Larry and Lois Meadows moved to Tonganoxie in 1972, and in 1977 decided to start their own business. Larry had worked in heavy construction for 18 years.

Because the couple had two young daughters, Lori and LeAnn, they decided to locate their company in Tonganoxie so they could work near their children. Until 1987, they ran the business out of their home.

Though Larry and Lois have deep roots in Tonganoxie, they actually are Arkansas transplants.

"We grew up in the same town, went to high school together and just lived close enough we could see each others' houses," Lois said.

The town, Caraway, Ark., is where Lois' parents, Ode and Bea Ward, still live. The couple, who are 93 and 95 respectively, plan to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary in September.

When Larry and Lois married in 1962, he was already working in heavy construction. And other than serving in the U.S. Army in the late 1960s, that's the only work Larry has ever done.

Their Tonganoxie business focused on various types of heavy construction, Lois said, including utility work, street work, paving, concrete work.

"We've always tried to work within a 60-mile radius of Tonganoxie," Lois said. "... We could always be here for our children when they were growing up. I think that's been to me the thing that I think has made it nice to be in our own business."

The couple's oldest daughter, Lori Copley, died in 1999. Their other daughter, LeAnn Bond, lives in Tonganoxie with her husband, Matt, and their children, Mia and Dallas.

Lois Meadows says she's pleased the Reischmans' sons also will join the company.

"We have watched those boys from the time they were born 'til the time they grew up, graduated from high school and college and got married," Lois said.

It's people like that who made a difference in their business, she added.

"We've had some really good people that's worked for us over the years," Lois said. "And that has made Meadows what it is."

And, with Mike and Lisa as owners, she's confident the firm will remain prosperous.

"We're just real happy that this is the way it's all turned out," Lois said. "We're leaving it in good hands."

Early start

Mike Reichsman has been around heavy equipment all his life, starting on the family farm.

"I remember coming home from kindergarten and plowing quite a few days," Reischman said. "I don't remember when I started, we just always did it."

Reischman said he's only worked two places in his life -- for the county for two years and at Meadows, where he started as a mechanic and then became a job foreman.

"I've done that for all kinds of work," Reischman said. "Dirt work, blasting, concrete work, asphalt, just a little bit of everything."

Reischman feels good about buying the business.

"It's just a good fit," Reischman said. "Larry was talking about retiring and it's all right here."

Mike and his wife, Lisa (Hummelgaard), graduated from Tonganoxie High school in 1975. Their two grown sons, Kevin and Joe, will join them in the business. Both worked at Meadows Construction when they were younger.

Like family

Lisa Reischman said it made sense to buy the business.

"We've just been around Meadows for so long that I guess we can't imagine doing anything else," Lisa said, noting the Meadows have always treated them like family.

In fact, in the 1980s, Lisa worked in the office at Meadows for three years. And since then, she's worked in related fields, serving for 15 years as accounting managers for three different firms.

While she said it was almost overwhelming, and even a little bit scary to buy the business, she's optimistic.

"There's a lot of work out there," Lisa said. "So far everything else has fallen into place. We've had a lot of good people making this happen. I just know that if we just keep doing what we're supposed to do, the perfect jobs will be around the corner and it will all be OK."

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