Naomi Kroth is proud to build upon the success of the company her grandfather, Fred Bachmann, started with his wife, Ruth, more than 60 years ago.
Today, she serves as a project manager and vice president of marketing at Bachmann Construction, a general contractor specializing in design-build and commercial construction.
“I have been surrounded by the business from very early on,” Kroth said. “My first memories are of me coloring in the office when meetings were going on. Once I was older, I started cleaning the office and I am still proud to be part of this great company.”
She spent summers working in the office both during high school and her time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, Kroth started at Epic, where she served as project manager for several years before returning to Bachmann.
“When I came back to Bachmann, I was able to apply the same skill set that I gained at Epic from managing healthcare-software installations around the country,” she said. “A project is a project anywhere, and to be successful you need to have a to-do list, schedule and budget. I already had those skills, but the parts I didn’t have were how to find prospects and estimate construction projects. These are the skills I have been developing the past four years.”
Kroth sits on the board of directors alongside her father, Al, who is chief executive officer, and works with her brother, Noah, who is vice president of logistics. Several carpenters and laborers at the company are second or third generation employees as well.
Even though every project is distinct, one in particular stands out for Kroth. Her recent work on benches in Madison’s Library Mall gave Kroth an opportunity to put her mathematical knowledge to use.
“The concrete portions of the benches are both angled and curved, which is not easy to do with concrete,” Kroth said. “I was assigned the task of figuring out what shape the foam inserts that would go into the concrete forms needed to be in order to create theses bench profiles. I had to use trigonometry skills I hadn’t used in over a decade. But they turned out great, and now every time I walk by them, it feels very special to see those benches and know the work that is was put into the project.”
Lynn Fetterer, officer manager at Bachmann, said she has enjoyed seeing Kroth grow into leadership roles both inside and outside the company over the years.
“Because family-owned businesses face a number of unique challenges, Naomi wanted to create a group that could connect having this common characteristic.,” Fetterer said. “When she starts something, she gives it all of her energy.”
Kroth’s group, meant for millennials with family-owned businesses, started meeting after work in fall 2017 to exchange ideas and offer advice when needed. Her goal now is to continue building on the group’s success in the coming years and beyond.
“My grandfather always said, ‘Do something, even if it isn’t right, meaning: Perfect is the enemy of good,” she said. “This has stuck with me all these years. It tells us we have to move forward and try with what we know and continue to evolve as opposed to doing nothing.”