By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
For 50 years, Poggemeyer Design Group has left its mark on the region’s roads, buildings, water and sewer projects.
“We’re proud of them all,” said Jack Jones, who has been with the company for 46 of those years.
The firm started small in a downtown office on East Wooster Street in Bowling Green, under the leadership of Lester Poggemeyer. Since then, it has gone big – filling up its sprawling 33,000-square-foot office building on North Main Street.
And it hasn’t stopped there.
The firm also has offices in Las Vegas, Reno, and Monroe, Michigan. Earlier this year, another office opened in Savannah, Georgia.
The 200 architects, engineers, surveyors and planners average about 200 projects a month. They range from small jobs to major projects – like a $180 million water and wastewater system in Las Vegas, and the $140 million jail in Lucas County.
“It’s somewhat unusual to be as multi-disciplined as we are,” said Jones, who is chairman of the board and one of the partners.
Jones, a civil engineer, bought out Lester Poggemeyer with other partners in 1987. Originally from Toledo, Jones has chosen to stay at the Bowling Green location.
“I think there is a sense of pride working in your own community,” he said.
Over the years, Jones and others have used their skills to build projects like the Bowling Green Municipal Courthouse, the University of Toledo College of Pharmacy, the Ottawa County regional water system, plus improvements to North Main Street and East Wooster Street.
Between 70 and 80 percent of the jobs are government projects, and the rest are private, Jones said.
Though the staff handles huge projects, it also takes on small grant-funded jobs in local villages. When Wood County hands out Community Development Block Grants, engineers from Poggemeyer are frequently the ones making pitches for the small towns.
“We try to represent small communities and give them the same expertise the big communities have in-house,” Jones said. “We want to help them secure as much grant money as possible.”
The firm also works with a lot of contractors and industrial sites, such as Betco and the new Moser warehouse here in Bowling Green, plus Rudolph Libbe on the Cleveland Cliffs site in Toledo.
There’s just something about being part of a building project, said Jones, who inherited the desire to create from his dad. “I did like to build things,” he said. “My father was an electrical engineer. It’s been an interesting and challenging profession to be involved in.”
This year looks to be a banner year for Poggemeyer.
Unlike 10 years ago, when the company had to downsize because of the poor economy, the last three to five years the firm has been in growth mode.
“Our volume of business this year should be the highest in the firm’s history” – bringing in more than $30 million, Jones said. “It’s a good economy today, so that’s helped.”
If all goes well, the future will hold many more projects – big and small.
“We hope to continue growing,” Jones said.
As a 50th anniversary gift to the Bowling Green community, Poggemeyer Design Group donated the design services for the new Wooster Green area, at the suggestion of engineer Troy Sonner.
“It’s a great thing for the community,” Jones said of the Wooster Green. “We certainly want to give back to the community.”