Building through Generations
Story by Heather Feeler | Feb 27, 2018
Photography by Keith Borgmeyer
The name Otke is synonymous with construction in JCMO.
Jason Otke has made a name for himself in a family full of big names.
His uncles, Louie and Dick Otke, started Otke Brothers Construction in 1974. After Louie passed away in 1991, the company became Dick Otke Construction Co. and focused on commercial construction. His uncle Ken started Ken Otke Construction in 1977 to build custom homes. (Both of those companies are still thriving today.) While Jason carries on the family legacy for both companies, it’s his focused approach to life, including his drive to grow the footprint of this community, that shines the brightest.
Although Jason currently serves president of Dick Otke Construction, he started his first day, 19 years ago, like everyone else — working hard on the job site. In his case, he was pouring concrete. Jason, who worked construction in the summers growing up, felt right at home. He had previously been working out in California, and this teamwork was one of the main reasons he moved back to Missouri to be a part of the family business.
“I really enjoy the people and the economy in Missouri,” says Jason. “It’s a lot easier to do business and much friendlier to call someone you know down road to get the job done.”
Jason’s job these days is to help and support his larger team. Many of the employees have been part of the team since the very beginning and are a huge reason for the longevity of the business, Jason says. For example, his cousin Mike Otke, son to Louie and Janet Otke, has worked for the company for 26 years, now as a superintendent. It’s working directly with the customer, however, that is the best part of the job for everyone on the team.
“Interacting with the customer is something we all enjoy doing because we’re helping to improve their lives with these building projects,” Jason says. “When they make a big decision, the light bulb turns on and you know you’re impacting their entire lives.”
Leaving a lasting legacy is a goal Jason takes to heart. While the company has a firm foundation built on decades of success, he’s also hungry to keep getting better, including making operational improvements and enhancing company branding to be more recognizable in the community.
“I’m driven to improve every day,” Jason says. “If you’re not improving, you’re not helping your customer, employees, or community.
The company has been part of some big commercial building and remodel projects in Jefferson City over the years. They’ve built the Riverview Office Center, Wildwood Crossings, and many of the state office buildings in town. In addition, they also offer pre-engineered metal buildings that are fast and efficient for local businesses.
Jason’s passion for helping the community also extends to his personal time. In addition to serving on the construction committee for the new Special Olympics Training for Life campus and working closely with the UCP Gibbs Center for Independence as a WingDing sponsor and the remodel of the center, Jason serves as an executive committee member for the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce. He’s also a board member for the Home Builders Association, the Home Builders Association of Missouri, the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, and the Helias Foundation. Jason considers these roles a valuable opportunity and is proof of his dedication to our community. “It does provide extra meaning to serve on these boards because it allows you to appreciate your community and how hard people are working to improve it,” he says.
While Jason works with community members, local organizations, employees, and family members on a daily basis, it’s his family waiting at home — his wife, Jami, and two sons, Weston and Wyatt — that make all the hard work worthwhile. Especially for Jason, family is not only the most important thing. It’s everything.