Ozinga Bros., Inc. of Mokena, Ill. announced the sudden passing of Chairman Martin Ozinga III late last month. “Dad was loved by many, including his family, his coworkers, customers and friends in the community,” said CEO Martin Ozinga IV, who succeeded his father at the helm in 2012.
At the age of 15, Martin Ozinga III began as a $1/hour laborer in the ready mixed producer’s Evergreen Park, Ill. yard—a concrete operation rooted in a family coal and fuel supply business. Three years later, he was driving a mixer truck for union wages while earning a degree in psychology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. He became general manager in 1973 at the age of 23 and succeeded Martin Ozinga Jr. as president in 1985. “Marty [III] continued the legacy established by his father, seeking to steward the business to the honor and glory of God, treating coworkers with care and respect and generously giving of his time and resources to causes that helped those less fortunate in local communities and abroad,” notes Ozinga Bros.
Joined by cousins Rich and Jim, Martin Ozinga III led the Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete Inc. flagship through a period of tremendous growth, underscored by a 1988 expansion into the downtown Chicago market. The business supplied material for the respective MLB and NFL venues, the new Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field) and new Soldier Field, and delivered more than 250,000 yd. of concrete for the Interstate 90/94 Dan Ryan Expressway reconstruction. Among landmarks for Dan Ryan drivers approaching downtown Chicago is the barge-served Ozinga RMC Chinatown plant, one of North America’s highest output urban ready mixed operations.
Through organic growth and acquisitions, the third generation management team positioned Ozinga RMC to emerge as the leading independent in U.S. ready mixed production, with a solid footprint in Chicago and surrounding northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana markets, plus strategic aggregate and cement distribution businesses. Along with brothers Aaron, Justin, Karl, Paul and Tim, plus cousin Jeff, Martin Ozinga IV has overseen significant growth the past decade, bringing the Ozinga RMC brand to Wisconsin and, most recently, South Florida.
Word of Martin Ozinga III’s passing arrived as we closed the May issue. In the following pages, our Strategist and Technology Trends columnists reflect on the exemplary business he forged.