Building on 70 years

Rasch Construction to host open house honoring anniversary

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Dalton Rasch, at left, operations manager, Joel Rasch, vice-president and Landon Rasch, project supervisor pose in front of a D9 Caterpillar recently. Rasch Construction is celebrating their 70th anniversary.

A family-owned and operated Fort Dodge business will celebrate a milestone anniversary this week with an open house at its office.

The open house will celebrate Rasch Construction’s 70th anniversary, which will start at 4 p.m. Friday at the company’s office, 1828 Johnson Ave., just west of Fort Dodge.

Ever since it started in 1947, Rasch Construction has been owned and operated by the Rasch family.

Joel Rasch, vice president, said his father, Kenneth Rasch, started the company on its current property, which is where he had also been born.

“Dad started it in 1947 with one bulldozer that he sort of put together in pieces,” Joel Rasch said. “Clearing ponds, driveways.”

When the company first started, its operations mostly consisted of clearing sites, according to Operations Manager Dalton Rasch.

But over the past 70 years, the company has increased its services.

“We went from clearing and mainly road jobs to site utilities and road developments,” Dalton Rasch said.

That’s not the only way the company has evolved over the years, Landon Rasch, project supervisor, said.

“We’ve integrated modern technology as far as GPS, fusion pipe, stuff like that,” he said, adding that their operations also now include “mass excavation and large-scale earth-moving.”

And while Rasch Construction is based in Fort Dodge, the company has also had clients not only across the state, but across the country as well, according to Cyndi Rasch, office manager.

“We’ve branched out too,” she said. “Not so much on the office side, but we’ve done work in North Dakota, Georgia, California, Nebraska, Oregon, Minnesota, Arizona.”

“We have a branch office in Arizona, also,” Joel Rasch added, saying it’s located in Tucson.

“The size of our company has grown a lot over the years,” he said and added the company has fewer than 50 employees.

Many of those employees are members of the Rasch family, which is going into its third generation of operating the company.

Joel Rasch and his brother, Justin Rasch, are part of the second generation, along with Joel Rasch’s wife, Cyndi Rasch.

And Joel Rasch’s nephews, Dalton Rasch, Landon Rasch and Austin Rasch, all work for the company as well.

“We’re all personally involved,” Joel Rasch said, adding that’s the one facet of the business that has not changed in 70 years.

What about what has kept the business alive for so long?

“That we get along as a family,” he said.

Dalton Rasch agreed.

“We all end up putting hours in,” he said. “We all stay safe.”

“And then having a passion for the work,” his uncle added.

To prepare for the 70th anniversary open house, Joel Rasch said the company is in the process of making some improvements to the building.

“It’s a little bit of a facelift,” he said.

Landon Rasch highlighted some of the work being done.

“We’re doing some office updates, shop updates,” he said. “Yard cleanup from 70 years of business.”

The company’s founder, Kenneth Rasch, will also be at the open house. There will also be a ribbon cutting by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance at 5:30 p.m.

As Rasch Construction celebrates 70 years, Joel Rasch said he’s looking forward to the future, and he’s especially happy to be part of the future of Fort Dodge.

“What’s exciting is the growth of Fort Dodge in the last 10 years has been awesome,” he said. “In our time of business, this is the best it’s ever been.”

He said, for many years, most of Rasch’s jobs were out of state.

“That’s probably why we were out of state so much in the past,” he said. “Pickings were slim around here.”

Dalton Rasch said, in his opinion, one of the highlights from Rasch Construction’s 70 years in business is the work they did on the Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation, the ag industrial park west of Fort Dodge.

He said Rasch helped build the plants that are now home to Valero Renewables, Cargill and CJ BioAmerica.