Lohmeyer Plumbing was started by Fred, his wife Pearl, and son Henry Lohmeyer in 1936. The original shop contained the plumbing supplies, and office was located in the basement of their house.
Fred had worked for another plumbing company for the preceding 20 years. His efforts there were supporting two of the owner’s families, plus his own, so he decided he could probably make it on his own. He was not only a skilled plumber, but also a very astute businessman.
Henry was 14 years old when the company started. During WWII he joined the Navy, following in his father’s footsteps. He earned his Carrier pilot wings for a TBD Avenger fighter bomber and was stationed on several carriers in the Pacific and Atlantic theaters. He received a distinguished merit award for his service in the Pacific.
After the war Henry was in the reserves for a number of years until he met Lois Schwartzkopf. After marrying he became more involved in the company, which at the time was focused heavily on boiler piping for residential and commercial work. Lois handled the bookkeeping until she retired in 2001.
Henry’s sons, including Joe, had the opportunity to work for the company during the summers. Joe’s first adventure was taking care of sweating all the copper fittings in a new home after little instruction. Quite a mistake, as his soldering at the time was less than adequate. The house looked like it had an indoor sprinkler system after conducting the rough-in check. Thankfully Joe’s plumbing skills have advanced significantly since then!
Joe attended Indiana University and majored in finance. At the time he was not convinced he would join the family business. After graduating in a tight labor market, the family business seemed to be a better deal considering the paucity of job offers and the numbers tendered.
Fortunately, the customer relationships Fred and Henry had developed over the years put Joe in a good position to move forward with the company. He was not starting from zero, and with his father’s tutelage, lots of reading and studying, he learned how to plumb. That being said, you never graduate from plumbing school. Yes, you earn a license, you receive other schooling and certifications, but you never stop learning.
In 1999, David Dietrich, Joe’s brother-in-law joined the family business and has handled office management, troubleshooting and training. Betsy, Joe’s daughter, joined the company in 2013, following in her Grandmother’s footsteps by taking over the bookkeeping, among other tasks.
“Family is a strong component of our continuity and commitment. Customers want to know who is coming into their homes and businesses. It’s a matter of trust. And trust involves a company that has longevity and stability” says Joe Lohmeyer.
Over the years the company has grown, products have changed, and there are lots and lots of tools which make our work easier and safer to perform. What has not changed is the importance of the relationship we have with each customer, the relationship with all the people who work here, as well as our vendors and subcontractors. Fred Lohmeyer said it well, “It takes a little more time and better products to do a job well!”