Lapke Returns To Bohlmann Quality Products
Denison, Iowa - For over 50 years, Bohlmann Quality Products of Denison, Iowa, has been designing and manufacturing concrete products. For approximately 30 of those years, Leo Lapke has maintained close ties with the staff, and he has returned to help out for the third time over that 30-year span.
Following the passing of Bohlmann general manager, Mark Johnson, last September, Blaine Bohlmann, reached out to two-time former employee, Leo Lapke, to assist with sales management for the company. Lapke accepted the offer and started working in that role earlier this spring.
"I own a farm and have a 100 head cow and calf herd," Lapke said. "For the past two years, I have been improving buildings, and doing all of the work myself. When Mark passed away, I already had two other stints in with Bohlmann Quality Products, and I agreed to come back on a part-time basis to help out."
In 1985, Lapke had just rented a farm near Manilla, but still needed to supplement his time and income. He went to work in the pour room for Bohlmann that year, but within a few months, he was asked to represent the company at farm trade shows. "I worked that way until about 1991," he said. "I would work at farming and taking care of the cows, work in the factory and work sales."
In 1991, Lapke purchased his current farm near his hometown of Dunlap. The workload at the onset was such that he decided to concentrate solely on the farming. However, it was just a few years later, in 1994, that Bohlmann reached out again to Lapke, asking if he would be interested in managing a building they owned in Dunlap.
"They wanted to make use of the building they owned so they could better manufacture the cattle waterers and the site amenity products, such as benches, picnic tables, mailboxes planters, etc.," Lapke said. "I accepted and was the plant manager there from 1994 to about 2004."
Now, after another 10 years, Lapke's foresight on his farm has made Bohlmann Quality Products an option once again. He has managed to switch his herd over to fall calving, not only to avoid the mess that can accompany late spring storms, but also to free up his schedule during the busiest time of year for the company. This has provided him with the necessary flexibility to return three days a week.
"What keeps me coming back to work at Bohlmann are the people I work with and the quality product that is produced," Lapke said. "And, after manufacturing these items and using the waterers on my farm, I am proud to be able to provide our customers with high quality products at a fair price."
With the recent rise in beef prices and decrease in feed expense, Bohlmann has seen a boom in the watering business. Since Lapke doesn't see that subsiding anytime soon as farmers rebuild herds, he plans to remain with Bohlmann for the foreseeable future.
Lapke and his wife, Dawn, live on the family farm near Dunlap. He has a daughter studying dental hygiene at Des Moines Area Community College and a son who is a sophomore at Dunlap High School this year.