Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Jan. 17, 2000

RAM Buildings, Inc. to focus on construction

By Luis Puga

Partners Gregg Machemehl and Rollie Radtke are two of the newest members of the Winsted business community.

The partners have come together to form RAM Buildings, Inc., a construction company that will focus on post-frame and residential home construction.

Machemehl and Radtke are also owners of Waconia Building Center and Radtke noted that the future plans of the entrepreneurs will involve both businesses. He said that the two will essentially feed off each other, with RAM providing labor and crews, and Waconia providing leads for jobs and materials.

Radtke said, "Both businesses need each other to be successful."

Currently, RAM's headquarters is under construction in Winsted. The building, which is partly being reconstructed, but is mostly new, will house equipment storage, office staff, and is expected to be ready by about early April.

However, the partners stated that the retail lumber yard, which they proposed as a long-term plan, will not be in place in the immediate future. Both men agree there is a need to clear up some confusion on the issue.

The lumberyard had been proposed, but no specific time frame was set for its inception. The partners want to be clear on this information to their potential customers who may expect retail services in Winsted.

Waconia Building Center will continue to be a retail location for the partners' business.

The Winsted location will offer building construction, specializing in post-frame construction. This includes structures for a variety of purposes, from personal storage to commercial storage to agricultural applications.

RAM Buildings, Inc. will provide full crews for the projects.

RAM will also act as a general contractor for new home construction though its Kimberly Homes division, but will employ local area sub contractors for those projects.

Machemehl noted that a number of these new home projects have been in the Winsted and Lester Prairie area, making RAM's location a desirable one for the two entrepreneurs.

The post-frame construction is also in a growth period in its own right. A cost effective solution for building structures, it is a particularly useful service of agriculture. Machemehl notes that post-frame construction eliminates the expense of a costly foundation, but allows enough room for heavy machinery storage in the structure.

The two partners have had a long history together, with Machemehl joking that he "taught Rollie everything he knows about high school football."

Both from Lester Prairie, Machemehl is described by Radtke as being very good at sales and post-frame construction.

Radtke brings a large background in contracting to the team. That background developed, in part, from his father, who ran Raymond B. Radtke Construction, a business that his son changed to Radtke Construction. Radtke went on to buy a lumberyard in Waconia in 1996.

About a year and a half ago, he then had the idea to combine his expertise with that of Machemehl's, who was working in post-frame construction.

Machemehl said it was at that time that his friend started "pursuing him" about the idea. Both men joke that on a duck hunting trip, a 10 gauge shotgun in their boat might have been the ultimate argument for Machemehl to take up the venture, but, in reality, the idea simply made sense to him.

The partnership has made the two clearly successful.

Machemehl and Radtke are busy with a number of projects in the area and can boast 50 projects since last February. These include free-stall dairy barns, an office complex for a realtor and insurance agent in Glencoe, a baseball concession stand in Winsted, and a lot of work on an athletic complex for Totino Grace High School, Fridley.

Radtke insists it is the strength of the partnership that has kept the business strong, with Radtke concentrating on lining up jobs and Machemehl concentrating on sales.

Machemehl added, "We want to provide high quality post-frame and residential construction for high quality people in the area."

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