Mark Hagerman started his career in construction while still in high school. As a third generation Hagerman, he worked part-time and moved through the ranks, from estimating and field work to project management.
“I always had a passion for construction and the ability to build something with my hands. My first job was working on the, the Jewish Temple in Fort Wayne,” says Mark Hagerman, CEO, The Hagerman Group. “After high school, I went to Valparaiso University, and then returned to the business.”
The family business was opened in 1908 by William Hagerman and his brother-in-law Frederick Buesching. Today, the company consists of three individual firms: Hagerman Construction Corporation, Hagerman, Inc., and GDH, LLC.
In 1980 Hagerman was named President of the company. Over the years, he has significantly grown the business. He broadened and defined its role as a provider of general contracting, construction management, design-build, as well as site selection and economic incentive negotiation.
“Today we have up to 450 employees depending on projects. That is about double the workforce we had when I became president,” Hagerman says. “Many employees have been with us for more than 25 years, and often generations of families have been part of the Hagerman team.”
In building the company, the Hagerman family has maintained one philosophy: treat employees fairly and give them a fair rate of return for their effort. The company “is family built and remains family oriented,” Hagerman says.
The competition has grown as more companies have entered into construction. Watching the industry change, Hagerman recognized that his company needed construction management within its portfolio of expertise. In 1998 he purchased Geupel DeMars, a nationally recognized construction management company with projects across central Indiana. It is now a prominent firm under the banner The Hagerman Group.
“The addition of GDH, LLC offered us a strategic location and added a new focus on construction management,” Hagerman says. “We are now doing more design-build efforts, which is a different description of how a project is developed.”
Hagerman acknowledges that construction is a risky business, without “the promise of reward and financial return. We got through the recent recession by cutting expenses and working lean even as the volume of projects declined up to 30%.”
Today, The Hagerman Group projects are visible throughout Indiana and into Michigan and Ohio.
“We have been involved in a variety of projects, including a number of buildings at IPFW, Ball State University, Purdue University, Indiana University and Notre Dame, and at the Lutheran and Parkview hospital complexes, for example,” Hagerman says. “We have also built Do it Best distribution centers across the county. We also built part of Lucas Oil Stadium and Victory Field, the minor league baseball park in Indianapolis and parts of the Tin Caps Stadium.” Our diversity includes work at Fort Wayne Filtration and Sewage Plants.
Hagerman says two projects have recently stood out for him.
“One amazing project was the expansion and renovation that required raising the massive roof at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in 2002,” Hagerman says. “Our involvement in the Harrison Square project in downtown Fort Wayne over the past several years has also been satisfying. We have been proud to watch it develop and prosper.”
As The Hagerman Group has grown, so has its investment in the community.
“We continue to believe deeply in being part of the community,” Hagerman says. “The Hagerman Group has grown over the past 100 years by supporting and being supported by its community. Giving back to the community from which the firm derives its existence is the natural outflow of success.”
Hagerman is active with Trinity English Church, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, and the World President’s Organization, among many other organizations that benefit from his involvement and support. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce, Ivy Tech Community College Foundation, Northeast Indiana Corporate Council, Valparaiso University, Building Contractors Association and Big Brothers, Big Sisters.