All in the Family
Don Hodgman was lead foreman for a drainage contractor in West Concord when he set out on his own in 1982.
Thirty-five years later, his business dream has expanded into a large, thriving venture in Dodge Center.
Hodgman Drainage Co., Inc., supplies commercial and agricultural drainage, earth-moving work, directional drilling (trench-less utility work), and site preparation for municipal water and sewer projects in Dodge County and the region.
The company provided services this fall on the new Meadow View housing subdivision in Dodge Center, and delivers sand and gravel to the Al-Corn Clean Fuel site, undergoing expansion in Claremont.
“He took a leap of faith and went out on his own, and it’s continued to grow from there,” said owner and company president Dan Hodgman, Don’s son. “It takes a lot of work to keep everybody going. We’ve got a lot of great people.”
Dan and his brother, the late Scott Hodgman, bought Don out in the early 2000s.
Dan and his wife, Lori, Hodgman’s vice president, moved the company from West Concord about four years ago and developed their current headquarters, off Highway 14 between Dodge Center and Claremont.
They built a large, comfortable building on about 45 acres in the summer of 2013 and moved in during January, 2014.
The Hodgmans have about 35 employees, including their sons Taylor (a project manager) and Tanner (the company’s business manager); their nephew, Nick Hodgman (a project manager); and Dan’s cousin, Frank Hodgman, senior project manager.
“The biggest assets we have are the people,” Lori Hodgman said. “Our employees are great. We’ve had a lot of guys here for many, many years, and they’re knowledgeable. They go hard and they care, and we’re out there to make sure our customers are well taken care of.
“They get up every morning going, ‘OK, we’re going to improve the land, we’re going to improve people’s lives, we’re going to make our customers happy,’” she said. “We’re very family-oriented here. We like to take care of our people, and they have a lot of loyalty back. That’s just been the key to our success, really.”
Said Dan: “We’ve got a lot of loyal employees, we’ve got a lot of loyal customers. Great relationships over the years. The greatest assets are our employees, and that’s heartfelt.”
Hodgman also provides trucking, excavation, drain tile repair, and aggregate materials for solar and wind farm projects.
Lori said those employees work in a diligent, respectful manner.
“Sometimes it’s cold and harsh working conditions,” she said, “but we’re out there improving the land for farmers, so their yields are increased. They’re producing more food for feeding the world, basically. Yields go up, and that’s due in large part to improvement of the land.”
All that work has been rewarded with many repeat customers, and a wall stocked with ‘thank-yous’ and certificates of appreciation.
Hodgman supports the Triton, Kasson-Mantorville and Hayfield school districts, several local organizations, including 4-H and FFA, Toys for Tots, and other local charities, teams, and organizations.
“They give to us, and we give back,” Dan said. “It’s a win-win situation.”
“And we really like to be a positive part of our community,” Lori said. “We support the local schools and the local communities. The farmers around here are great, and the businesspeople are great. We grew up in this county, and this is where our home is. And it’s all turned out very well. So we’ve been blessed.”