FLOYD COUNTY — A longtime Southern Indiana company has made changes to its business structure with the goal of continuing the family business for generations to come.
Koetter Construction recently announced plans to reorganize the business entities and leadership structure of the company. The Floyds Knobs company is co-owned by five brothers.
The Koetter Group has expanded to serve as the holding company for its four main divisions, including Koetter Construction, Koetter Real Estate, Koetter Building Services and K-RAX Premium Spirits Barrel Storage Systems. The reorganization involves a succession plan to keep the company in the family for future generations.
Bob Koetter Jr. is the newly-appointed CEO of The Koetter Group. The four divisions of The Koetter Group will be led by a manager or president who will report to Koetter Jr.
Koetter Jr. is succeeding his brother, Jack Koetter, who served for 20 years as the CEO of The Koetter Group. Jack Koetter passed on the leadership role to Koetter Jr. at a company meeting in October.
Along with his brothers, Koetter Jr. is the second generation of the company, which his parents started in 1954. His nieces and nephews are involved in the company as the third generation.
In addition to Koetter Jr. and Jack Koetter, the company’s newly-formed board of directors includes brothers and co-owners Phil Koetter, Kenny Koetter and Wayne Koetter. The board will also feature two board members outside the Koetter family, including Dan Rechter and one other member who has not yet been named.
For two years, Koetter Jr. has chaired the board of directors for University of Louisville’s Family Business Center, and he realized that less than 13% of family businesses make it to the third generation, he said.
“It’s very small, and I realized it’s really not the third generation’s fault if the first and second generations didn’t really prepare them or the organization to that point,” Koetter Jr. said.
“We wanted to make sure we did what we needed to do to keep the family business and keep it a legacy company,” he said. “We met with some consultants and professional advisers, and we put together a structure that will allow it to move to a fourth, fifth and hopefully a sixth generation.”
Jack Koetter described the need to reorganize in a recent news release:
“As we’ve expanded our business lines in recent years, we’ve seen a growing need to review and streamline our organization so to support the continuity of that growth,” he said.
Koetter Construction was founded by Bob Koetter Sr. and his wife, Gladys. In the 1950s, it was a small house-framing business before becoming a commercial and industrial contractor in 1971.
The company grew in the 1980s with the addition of Koetter Real Estate and Development, and in 2014, Koetter Building Services was formed.
K-RAX Premium Spirits Barrel Storage Systems is the newest addition to the company. It was formed in 2019 to provide premium storage systems for the aging spirits industry.
Koetter Jr. will continue to lead the construction division of the company, and Jack Koetter will continue to lead the real estate division.
Keeping the business within the family is important to the Koetters for a variety of reasons, Bob said.
“Some people ask why we keep getting up and fighting the fight,” he said. “It’s really for the 150 employees we have today and the next 150 we’re going to hire.”
Koetter Jr. noted the work accomplished by Koetter Real Estate under his brother’s leadership, including the Jeffersonville Town Center development on Veterans Parkway. Since the 1980s, the company’s real estate services have developed 21 developments consisting of more than 900 acres of land and 3.5 million square feet of buildings, he said.
The family’s core values have continued since his parents started the company, he said.
“We practice those every day, and we want to make sure the generations to come continue to operate under those same core values,” Koetter Jr. said. “I think it’s important to the current employees and the future employees.”
“Part of our core values is giving back to the community, whether it’s sitting on nonprofit boards or giving back to nonprofits to participating in philanthropy or just giving back period to the community,” he said.
The four divisions will continue to work together and “feed each other,” Koetter Jr. said. He also noted that the new structure will make it easier if an employee wants to switch from one division to another.
The family business “is here to stay and here to grow,” Koetter Jr. said.
“We’re here in the community, and we’re not leaving,” he said. “We want to be able to support the community any way we can.”