To remain a viable business in the construction industry during the current challenging economy is a testament to a well-run company. And if your company has actually grown, you’re among a select few. Rohde Brothers Inc. has done both and this year is celebrating 100 years of being the area’s foremost mechanical contractor.
The company was founded in 1911, in downtown Plymouth, by Charles C., Henry and Louis Rohde to specialize in plumbing, heating, sheet metal, and electrical construction projects. In 1931 Edgar, Charles C.’s son, joined the company and in 1935 purchased controlling interest. He ran it as a sole proprietorship until 1963 when the business was incorporated.
In 1956 Edgar’s son, Charles E. “Chuck” Rohde, joined the company. He has worked for Rohde Brothers continuously since then except for time spent attending University of Wisconsin-Madison and serving in the Army with the 32nd Division. In 1996 Chuck’s sons, Michael and Ted Rohde, joined the company.
Today the company is led by Michael as president and Ted as vice president with Charles E. Rohde serving as board chairman. Chuck is a licensed master plumber, a registered professional engineer and is certified by the National Environmental Balancing Bureau to be a balancing supervisor of both air and water systems. He has always been active in numerous state and local professional associations serving as officer and president. He served eight years on the State Examining Board for Architects, Engineers, Designers and Surveyors.
Mike Rohde earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from UW-Madison. He is a Wisconsin registered professional engineer and certified geothermal designer.
Ted Rohde earned a Bachelor of Science degree in construction administration from UW-Madison and is also a licensed master plumber.
During all four generations, this family-owned business, as a leading mechanical contractor, has earned a reputation of integrity and excellent workmanship. Throughout its entire 100 years, the company has never defaulted on a contract nor been assessed damages for failure to properly complete a project.
Today, Rohde Brothers offers engineering and installation of plumbing, HVAC, certified welding, industrial refrigeration, and control systems. Their work had traditionally been heavily weighted toward bid and spec work. In recent years, however, their focus has changed to design/build wherein they engineer inhouse the systems they will be installing. The design/build approach allows a more cost-effective working relationship with customers. Their extensive construction experience and engineering knowledge has earned them a reputation as energy engineering experts.
Two industries they are well suited for and have seen significant growth from are food processing and manufacturing. The abundance of these types of companies in their geographic area also makes it a solid business focus. Rohde Brothers has developed custom controls, heat recovery systems, and specialty chillers specifically for food processing and manufacturing. They also have a patent on a sophisticated heat recovery system for cheese plants. The sophisticated chillers and controls they have developed allow sewage plants and waste disposal sites to use expelled methane gas to operate boilers and generators. It’s this type of innovation and advanced engineering that has led to their reputation as the knowledge source for owners looking to build or enhance existing systems.
“My father and grandfather would be proud and amazed at where each generation has taken Rohde Brothers,” said Chuck Rohde. “You can imagine that over 100 years we’ve been through a number of business and economic challenges. Our people really have made the difference in our long-term success.”
“The impact energy engineering can have on a building is now a major focus in (more) new and remodeling construction. By concentrating on design/build projects, we are making a significant positive impact on future energy demands for our customers,” said Mike Rohde.
Rohde Brothers is a mechanical contractor and engineering firm that completes industrial/manufacturing, commercial, educational, public, and institutional projects in Wisconsin and select nationwide locations. Their work includes engineering, plumbing, HVAC, industrial refrigeration and control systems. A dedicated focus on energy efficiency is supported by a staff of registered engineers who have extensive experience.
-Associated Press at the Review, Plymouth