Fratco Cares: Investing in Youth

Driving through the streets of Monticello, Indiana, you may stumble upon Woodlawn Elementary School—a seemingly unsuspecting building that is bursting with soul. While it no longer functions as an elementary school, that has not stopped little feet from galloping through the halls. The space is used as a local food pantry, but more prominently, serves as a home to the Boys and Girls Club of White County.

On any given day, about 190 school-aged children pass through the doors of the Boys and Girls Club for after-school programming, and a total of 532 community members are served annually through a combination of programs, including summer club.

“We see a lot of lower income students, but you don’t have to be low income to benefit from the Club,” said Dan Fry, Unit Director of the Boys and Girls Club of White County, Indiana. “It’s a great place for kids to come for after-school interaction and socialization, especially if they aren’t involved in sports. It’s something that’s affordable and safe that helps to develop a sense of community.”

During the school year, children in the club are transported via school bus and can enjoy an after-school snack, socialize with their peers, receive homework help and partake in activities that Fry refers to as “high-yield” learning, which incorporate multi-disciplinary benefits, from leadership development to physical activity to character-building. The children are also introduced to career-speakers and have the option to join specialized clubs for more individualized learning, like gardening club and nature club.

The Club initially began operating out of a functioning elementary school, but membership quickly grew too large, forcing them to move to the more permanent location of the vacant Woodlawn Elementary school building. This rapid growth coupled with the significant impact the Club plays on young people’s lives in the community makes it surprising to learn that a few short years ago there were questions as to whether the program would be successful.

Following the decline and ultimate failure of a similar local program shortly after its launch, there were concerns about the sustainability of starting a local Boys and Girls Club chapter. In 2013, the community established a steering committee to conduct a needs assessment and facilitate open discussions with the community and schools. One of the members of that steering committee was Chris Overmyer, President and CEO of Fratco.

Not only did Overmyer gather community support by spearheading many of the meetings surrounding the establishment of the Club, he also involved Fratco to help the Club jump a hurdle that every startup faces: gathering an appropriate amount of funds.

“Fratco did more than simply provide financial clout,” Fry said. “They brought validity to the Club by showing other businesses that, as something kids in our community need, it is a viable option for investment. Financially, Fratco set the tone and benchmark for what we’d like other donors to be.”

The Community Foundation of White County offered a matching grant of $20,000 which encouraged other businesses to contribute. But the Club’s first donation was made by Fratco.

According to Fry, Fratco’s financial pledge showed the Boys and Girls Club of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, the governing body of the Club in White County, Indiana, that there was interest and encouragement within the community to make the Club successful. With this support, the Club was able to open its doors early.

“Having Fratco’s initial backing allowed us to focus on the foundation rather than the funds,” Fry said. “Frankly, I can’t say for certain if [the Club] would have gotten off the ground if it weren’t for Fratco’s assistance and Chris’ guidance.”

Fratco’s involvement did not cease following the Club’s launch. They provide ongoing support and make donations to the Club annually; a contribution which is necessary to embolden the development of the children served as membership continues to increase. These donations are seen as investments in the future of the community, as those who attend the Club’s programming advance their skillset and pave hopeful paths for themselves.

“It’s great to have the support of such a prominent, family-oriented company in the community,” Fry said. “Both organizations value similar things. I treat all of the children here like they are my own and treat the staff like my brothers and sisters. We really feel like a family, and that’s the notion I get from Fratco as well.”

In January of 2019, the Boys and Girls Club of White County, Indiana celebrated their fifth birthday and are looking ahead to what the next five years have in store. Like Fratco, the Club constantly strives to innovate and change their way of thinking, staying flexible to welcome new ideas as they come. Together with open minds and open hearts, Fratco and the Club provide an invaluable impact on the community, bolstering young dreamers today to become leaders tomorrow.

Meet Dan Koebcke

If there is one thing that every person who grew up in Francesville, Indiana has in common, it is that they know Fratco. At least that is what Dan Koebcke, a yard supervisor at Fratco says.

Koebcke, a Francesville native himself, has worked at Fratco for over 30 years. While he grew up with Steve Overmyer, the former CEO of Fratco, the opportunity to work there unexpectedly fell into his lap.

“It’s funny how I actually came [to work at Fratco],” Koebcke said. “I was working for a local business at the time and was at Steve’s house. When I left, he actually followed me home and offered me a job. I wasn’t looking for a job but there it was!”

Once he started working at Fratco, Koebcke was surprised by the family atmosphere and the connections he made with his coworkers. Many within the tight-knit group went to school together, go to the same church and have witnessed each other’s children grow up, which only helps to solidify that connection.

But it’s not just the people he works with that make Fratco such a great work environment for Koebcke. He expressed his gratitude for the ways in which Fratco supports its employees.

“I always try and tell the younger guys to think of this job as more than just an income,” Koebcke said. “Fratco does so much for us. I’ve been on the fire department for 35 years and Fratco encourages that. They want you to be an active member of the community which is something you don’t always see with employers.”

Providing more than just support for extracurriculars, Koebcke described Fratco’s willingness to train employees. He explained that they encourage employees to better themselves and provide opportunities to learn new skills, even if that means expanding their skillset so they can explore other career paths. He says Fratco helped him personally by teaching him patience and what it means to work as a team.

As far as Fratco’s own progress goes, Koebcke says he’s witnessed many changes over the last three decades, but in the best way.

“I watched them build the building I’m standing in and tear the old one down,” Koebcke said. “Just a lot of good things have happened here, and I’ve seen [Fratco] grow immensely. They’re just constantly trying to make things better.”

Over the years, Koebcke has played his part in the bettering of Fratco. He’s loaded countless trucks and has helped innumerable customers. When asked why he thought customers choose Fratco, he responded without hesitation that it was the people behind the Fratco name.

“Don’t get me wrong, the products are great,” Koebcke said. “But the customers like dealing with us. We’ve got guys that take good care of our customers, and customers notice when people are gone for the day. The people here really make a difference.”

By serving as a mentor and role model for newer Fratco employees, Koebcke truly contributes to that difference.

Decades of Drainage & Perfect Pairings

Few people are fortunate enough to find success in a self-made business right out of high school and still genuinely enjoy what they do decades later, but Phil Tribby has managed to do just that.

Phil Tribby and his wife, Sue Tribby, run Tribby Inc., a drainage and excavation company in Kansas, Illinois. Phil Tribby and his brother first founded Tribby Brothers Tiling in 1979. The two grew up gaining experience in the industry through their father’s bulldozing and excavation business and saw a chance to rectify a shortcoming in the area.

“We started the business because there was a need for it,” said Phil Tribby. “There weren’t any other contractors around here at the time and I loved this type of work. It was a natural fit.”

The business pairing between Phil Tribby and his brother, however, eventually dissolved as the two decided to part ways.

Phil Tribby maintained his drainage contractor business while his father independently continued his bulldozing and excavation business. After several years, the two merged the complementary businesses to become Tribby and Tribby. They worked this way until 2013, when Phil and Sue Tribby bought the company and converted the name to Tribby Inc.

40 years since he first began, Phil Tribby is enthusiastic as ever about his business, likening the work to a big kid playing with large Tonka toys in a giant sandbox. And while Tribby Inc. is not the first contractor in the industry to reach a 40-year milestone, they may be the only contractor to have as unique of a collection as Phil Tribby. Through the years, Phil Tribby has accumulated an impressive assortment of tile relics, some pieces dating back to the late 1800s. This miniature museum of the industry’s past is indicative of the passion he feels for his work. 

“It’s been really exciting to see the changes in the drainage industry over the last 40 years,” said Phil Tribby. “The advancements definitely make jobs quicker and simpler, but we think about everything we’ve done in the past and are proud of it all. I can’t imagine how that’s going to change even more with new technologies.”

While technology continues to advance, one thing that has not changed is Tribby Inc.’s commitment to their customers. Their success over the last few decades has lived on repeat business, resulting in the maintenance of a customer base who trusts them. Some of these existing customers have worked with Phil Tribby since the very beginning of his operations.

“Our customer service can’t be matched,” said Phil Tribby. “We treat the guy with a 1-hour backhoe tile repair the same as we treat the guy who’s got a 200-acre system. We don’t put anyone ahead of anyone else or treat anyone better than anyone else.”

Tribby Inc. has built their reputation on providing superior customer service and quality work, and they prioritize working with companies who share similar values. They’ve maintained an ongoing relationship with Fratco for the last 25 years for this very reason.

Phil Tribby was first introduced to Fratco shortly after he started business laying clay tile. He says the salesman at the time seemed to genuinely care about Tribby Inc. as a customer and also provided a high-quality product. Initiating business between the two was well-suited.

As time has gone on, Phil Tribby says his respect for Fratco has only continued to grow. From last minute changes to jobs, to timely quotes and large jobs that required staggered shipping distributions, Phil Tribby says he can count on Fratco to take care of everything—something which goes a long way for him.

“I can install [Fratco products] with confidence and know I’m not going to have to come back later and explain why the pipe failed,” said Phil Tribby. “We guarantee our work to be right, so if something were to happen, we’re fixing it on our dime. The continuous quality of the product has been the biggest thing I’ve appreciated about Fratco products.”

Yet another aspect that the two companies share is their obligation to soil and water management. Fratco is a member of eight state chapters of LICA and Tribby Inc. has co-chaired four LICA soil and water shows in different parts of Illinois.

“[Phil] truly loves the land,” said Sue Tribby. “That is something I really admire in him. He always looks for the best interest of the land.”

Serving as certified Technical Service Providers, Tribby Inc. has developed a sort of mantra they adhere to: Future generations are dependent on how well we maintain the soil today.

As for the future of Tribby Inc., they are looking to continue the same pattern of success by doing whatever they can for whoever walks in the door. Seeing the impact they have on farms and being able to provide a beneficial service to those around them assists in continuing to find enjoyment in the hard work they do.

“When it stops being fun then it’s time to quit!” said Phil Tribby.

And for him, the fun doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon.

Fratco Welcomes Kiley Miller

We’re thrilled to be bringing aboard Kiley Miller to our sales team. Kiley is a Mt. Pleasant native and an Iowa Wesleyan University graduate.  He will be based out of our Mt. Pleasant location to meet the needs of customers located along I-80 South in Iowa. We’re excited to see how he’ll help Fratco grow.

 

Where are you from?

I grew up on a 300-400-acre farm in Mt. Pleasant, IA and recently moved to Brighton, IA.

 

What is your family like?

My family is very tight-knit and has greatly multiplied in the last 2 years through my dad remarrying, blessing me with 3 step-siblings and having a child. My sister also recently got married which is really exciting. My grandpa is a huge conservationist. He’s all about preserving soil and educating others about the importance of sustainability. Growing up, he was always encouraging me to learn about conservation.

 

Where did you go to college? When did you graduate?

I went to Iowa Wesleyan University and graduated in May 2018 with a degree in Business Administration.

 

What will you be doing for Fratco?

I’ll be travelling down I-80 South selling what I believe is the best pipe on the market.

 

What do you like about Fratco?

I really enjoy the people. Frankly, they’re the best part about Fratco. Chris Overmyer, Bill Champion and Craig Douglass are the most accessible supervisors and bosses I’ve ever had. They represent Fratco in a way that any employee should be proud of.

 

What are you looking forward to about the job?

I’m looking forward to traveling and talking to local people that I may have grown up with and also meeting new people. The people I get to communicate with are some of the best in the world. The ag market is full of genuine people that I love being around.

 

Where do you see Fratco going?

I don’t think there’s any limit to Fratco’s growth. Fratco’s management is so accessible and they’re constantly throwing around new ideas. They recognize needs in the industry and when something needs to change. No one in Fratco limits themselves.

Fratco Welcomes New Salesman Brendan Noggle

MEET BRENDAN NOGGLE.

Our newest Sales Representative covering our Southern Indiana territory.

Where are you from?
I’m originally from Cayuga, Indiana and that is where my home office will be for Fratco.

Tell us about your family.
I was introduced to the pipe industry when I was 8 years old. My dad owns an excavation and farm drainage business and has been a Fratco customer for as long as I can remember. Through our relationship with Craig, I was given the opportunity to sell the products I’ve been around for most of my life.

Where and when did you graduate from college?
I went to Purdue University and graduated in May 2018 with a degree in Ag Business.

What will you be doing? What is your region?
I will be selling Fratco product and building relationships. My territory is Southern Indiana from Lafayette to I-70 south and I have the option to go into parts of Ohio and Illinois.

What do you like about Fratco?
I like how Fracto is family oriented and family-owned. They have a family mindset and that really stood out to me.

What are you looking forward to about the job?
I’m looking forward to getting to know new people through selling Fratco pipe, being able to build relationships and build trust in the Fratco name. I’m also excited to help expand the Fratco brand into Southern Indiana.

Where do you see Fratco going?
I see Fratco going very far. They are already steadily expanding and that is exciting. It makes it easy to accept a job when you can see the growth of a company.

How do you see yourself being a part of that?
I see myself playing a big role by my ability to go out and talk to these customers about what we are doing and how we can help them.