Schwickerts: The First Client And A Longtime Family Friend
July 8, 2013
We’ve listened to our first client, Schwickerts, for 50 years. Here’s what we’ve heard…
Schwickerts was founded as a hardware store in 1906 by George Schwickert and moved from Waterville to Mankato in 1910. The business stayed in the family and, in 1971, changed its focus to commercial contracting. Today, Schwickerts is a $40 million, 300-employee mechanical and roofing contracting company overseen by third-generation brothers Kim and Kent Schwickert. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Tecta America, the national roofing company co-founded by the Schwickert brothers and nine other roofing companies, Schwickerts has achieved a national reach while maintaining its commitment to southern Minnesota.
The story of how Abdo, Eick & Meyers came about is closely tied to the Schwickert family. In the mid-1950s, a young Joe Abdo was in search of a job after returning from active military duty. He sought a job at Schwickerts and, after proving his work ethic to George and his son Leas, was hired to manage the hardware store’s bookkeeping. Joe worked at Schwickerts until starting his own accounting firm, which later became Abdo, Eick & Meyers, in 1963. Schwickerts was Joe’s first client.
Over the years, the two companies—and the friendships forged between them—grew steadily. Despite their respective successes, neither lost sight of their small-town, family values. As Kim Schwickert says, “Although Abdo, Eick & Meyers has grown into a large company, they still feel like a small company—and that means a lot to us.”
The Schwickerts’ family values shine through in the unwavering dedication of Kim and his brother, Kent. Together, they run the company and support employees in Mankato, Rochester, and Tampa, Florida. The sense of family has also been an important part of the 50-year-long relationship between Abdo, Eick & Meyers and Schwickerts. As Kim puts it, “We don’t look at Abdo, Eick & Meyers as a company, we look at it as family.”
In addition to their contracting company, the business-savvy brothers have collaborated on several other ventures, including one that fulfills a passion of Kent’s: a winery. When operations began at the winery, Abdo, Eick & Meyers’ Business Segment Leader (and good friend of the brothers), Erik Leagjeld, completed a cost segregation study to help Kent and Kim reduce their taxable income. “We relied on Erik to take care of the areas we weren’t familiar with,” recalls Kim. “He really helped us get things in order.”
“I guess that’s what friends are for.”