The Hemmer Jr. file Featured

4:48am EDT March 27, 2006
Born: Sept. 8, 1949, Covington Ky.

Education: Bachelor of science degree, master of science degree, civil engineering, Purdue University

First job: Project superintendent, East and Co., for a division of U.S. Homes

What has been your greatest business challenge?
The first one was having the opportunity to start a business. I call this a family business in third generation, but the preceding company, which my father was head of, ceased operating on Dec. 31, 1981.

We formed this company on Jan. 1 of 1982, and I have been the CEO since the beginning. Having that opportunity at the age of 32 was tremendously exciting and is something that I take tremendous pride in.

Separately, what we’ve done in repositioning our company over the past few years and moving in a new direction and creating new opportunities like those that I had for the next group of 32-year-olds (has been a challenge).

What has been the greatest business lesson you’ve learned?
I think integrity — we’re trying to have small successes, and every now and then, you have big successes, but we’re trying to do our job right. And integrity is No.1.

Not everything goes right, but if you work through problems, it really shows character, and people appreciate that a lot.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I’d have to say my father, for a couple of reasons. The company I first worked for was very production-oriented, and it wasn’t intentional, but production was prominent. And when I started working for my father, it was a totally different industry, but it was really focused on being thorough and complete and doing work correctly.

The second one is, growing up, I’d see him work every evening. He had a tremendous work ethic.

No. 3 was, he was an entrepreneur and wanted something a little more than he could get working for my grandfather, so he became interested in real estate, and he would bring those real estate opportunities to his brothers and my grandfather. He was the one that pushed them into real estate.

No. 4 is he has been very generous with his time and money. He would take a leadership role in the chamber of commerce or another organization and he would give of himself to do that. He would come away with two things: He would make the community better and he expanded his friendships.