Sheet metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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"Never stop learning" Meet the Board: Ken Groeschel Jr. of Milwaukee, Wis.

Apr 04, 2017
Groeschel, Ken
Ken Groeschel Jr.

New SMACNA Board member Ken Groeschel Jr., P.E., project manager of Butters-Fetting Co. Inc., Milwaukee, Wis., has worked generously to keep SMACNA at the forefront in business, labor, and technical offerings for years. He was elected to a four-year term on SMACNA’s Board of Directors at the close of SMACNA’s 73rd Annual Convention in October.

From his first car to his best business advice, we asked him to share his wisdom about life, his profession, and the guidance he would pass on to others.

The thing people notice first about my shop: I am always amazed at the wide variety of unique fabrications that come out of our shop—both pipe and sheet metal. The welding and fabrication talents are outstanding.

The business tool I can't live without: My iPhone. It allows you to respond to calls and email in places you could not have dreamed of before. The iPhone is second only to the PC.

The new technology I'm most excited about: Cloning myself to handle more work so I can go fishing.

My outside interests: Bird dogs, sturgeon and tournament walleye fishing, hunting, and antique tractor restoration.

My secret weapon for making jobs run smoother is: Engineering and related preparation—and always having a backup plan when things go wrong.

My favorite quotes: “Aim high. Never stop learning. Give back more than you get.”

The best business advice I ever received: Mistakes happen. How well you recover and adjust is the most important outcome.

I tell industry newbies to: Be a sponge. Work hard. Participate in industry professional associations.

There is nothing better than: Repeat business.

The sports teams I cheer: University of Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers.

My secret to running a successful business: Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.

My first car: My grandma’s 1963 Chevy II. It was a four-door, six-cylinder, three on-the-column shift. Help me find one like it.

Ken Groeschel_2015-07-12 14.23.59
Kathy and Ken Groeschel Jr.

Active on the national level for many years, Mr. Groeschel currently is chair of SMACNA’s Technical Resources Committee and a member of SMACNA’s Testing and Research Institute Board of Directors. His longtime industry involvement includes serving on SMACNA’s Budget and Finance Committee and many years on the Director Nominating Committee.

He has served as chair of numerous task forces including the Round Industrial Duct Construction Standard, HVAC Systems Duct Design, Double-Wall Duct, and the Steel Stack Task Force. As chair, he assisted in two updates of SMACNA’s “Round Industrial Duct Construction Standard” manual.

Locally, he served in officer roles with several SMACNA chapters—as president and board member of SMACCA of Wisconsin, councilor for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning

Contractors’ Association of Milwaukee (SMACCA Milwaukee), and as secretary of the East Central Wisconsin Sheet Metal Contracting Association (ECWSMCA).

For years, he represented his local chapters, ECWSMCA and SMACCA Milwaukee, on SMACNA’s Council of Representatives, where he was elected to serve as chair and vice-chair.

Dedicated to training sheet metal apprentices, he is currently chair of the Milwaukee Area Sheet Metal Joint Apprentice and Training Committee and chair of the ECWSMCA Sheet Metal Apprentice Committee and the Wisconsin Sheet Metal Apprentice Committee. He has been on the Sheet Metal Workers Local 18 Health and Welfare state fund for years.

He entered the sheet metal industry in 1982 as a project engineer and earned his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been a professional engineer and master plumber for more than 20 years. He is active in numerous professional organizations including ASHRAE, NFPA, AWS, and NSPE.

Founded in 1924, Butters-Fetting Co. Inc. is one of the most comprehensive mechanical contracting firms in southeastern Wisconsin. State-of-the-art tools such as CAD engineering and design systems complement time-honored customs like hard work and round-the-clock service. Butters-Fetting is committed to the highest quality workmanship and the highest caliber relationships.

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