The Herzog Companies could be viewed as the business equivalent of an iceberg.
Above the surface, the company’s corporate buildings are plainly visible on Riverside Road in St. Joseph. Herzog’s local employees are seen resurfacing roads and repairing bridges on a routine basis, a key component for transportation and economic growth in our area.
But a deeper dig shows an impact that extends to every corner of the country, from repair of railroad cars and tracks to mass transit projects that keep Americans moving in some of the largest urban centers.
Stanley M. Herzog, who died last week at the age of 70, helped build a company that got its start in 1969 with a modest resurfacing project in Andrew County. This local business grew into what was recently ranked as the 124th-largest contracting company in the United States, according to the trade publication Engineering News-Record. Only five other Missouri contracting companies are larger.
Herzog, whose father founded the company, was the first official employee, working as a foreman on asphalt paving projects. He eventually became its longest-serving employee and majority shareholder.
Take a look at this company’s footprint. Past projects include parts of Interstate 229 in Downtown St. Joseph, a trolley line in San Diego and roadway and runway construction in the Caribbean. Herzog estimates that its rail transit systems, in places like San Francisco, Miami and Texas, accommodate 37 million passengers a year.
Have you jumped on board the new streetcars in Kansas City? Herzog was awarded the contract for that city’s streetcar operations and maintenance in 2014.
This expansive business presence mirrors the impact of the man himself. After his death, it was remarked that Herzog was an influential donor and supporter of Republican candidates and conservative causes that promote economic growth and prosperity.
What was less well-known was his support for the development of St. Joseph Christian School, a relatively new addition to the education landscape in our city. His contributions proved essential to building facilities and making a quality Christian education available to a wider group of students.
Danny Maggart, the principal of St. Joseph Christian High School, said it was sometimes hard to appreciate what Herzog did because he seemed like any other grandparent walking the halls. “I wouldn’t know half of the things he’s done because of his humble nature,” he said.
Stanley Herzog lived the life of a true entrepreneur, building a diversified business by traveling thousands of miles a year, building relationships and competing with the best.
In St. Joseph, he should be remembered for that, and more.