As seen in the Tried & True Winter 2023 issue
Many things about Chris Overmyer make him a unique CEO—both in the water management sector specifically and in the business world overall. Few companies, for example, can boast that their CEO is the fourth generation of family ownership. Nor do many companies have a CEO who’s also their head of engineering.
“It’s definitely not a traditional model, having an engineer for a CEO,” admits Chris. “Just ask Elon Musk—it doesn’t always work so well. It’s outside of the box, but it allows us to make decisions based on opportunities that are bigger than just, ‘What do the numbers look like?’ It also lets us think about what challenges our customers have and how we can solve them more quickly.”
Those challenges have grown more plentiful throughout Chris’s time as CEO, but for the best of reasons. Under Chris’s leadership, the company has undergone a massive expansion, and the number of customers Fratco serves has grown exponentially.
Four new locations around the Midwest have been added to the company in recent years, including plants in Mt. Pleasant and Algona, Iowa; a plant in St. Anne, Illinois and a new corporate office in Monticello, Indiana.
“I think it’s important to understand that my vision for Fratco isn’t just to grow for the sake of growth,” explains Chris. “My first and foremost vision for Fratco has always been to be the best version we can be for the customers we already have. Secondary to that is taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves along the way, but always through the lens of how our current customers can benefit.”
Like his father before him, Chris maintains close, personal relationships with his customers, which always comes in handy when deciding what products and services the company should offer.
“At the end of the day, the customer is key. If 100% virgin material is important to the customer, it’s important to us. If a customer wants to enjoy some of the benefits from recycled material, we can do that too. Since sustainability became an important feature for so many of our customers, it became important for us to provide that for them as well.”
Looking forward into Fratco’s second century, Chris assures that little will change in this regard. “What’s coming next for Fratco is more of what customers are used to, which is us reacting to their needs when they’re working with their hands deep in the dirt.”
When it comes to Fratco’s ever-growing team of employees, Chris has no shame in sharing the responsibility he personally feels to each new hire. “As we open up these satellite locations, it’s a little bittersweet. I celebrate the idea that we’re creating stable jobs for really valuable people. But that also brings a lot of pressure with it, because I always want to do right by my employees. I go home at night and think about these people in my prayers. I ask for guidance about what I can do better tomorrow to help them be more successful.”
Read Part Four of this story, “Meet Derek Overmyer,” here: fratco.com/meet-derek-overmyer