Greene County residents are likely familiar with Ozarks Timber Frame LLC’s work even if it’s not apparent.
The timber frame production and installation company has been working in the area for over 30 years, building covered bridges, homes and commercial structures, some of which are always in the public eye.
“If you go into Bass Pro, the trees, the limbs, the stairs, the woodwork, a lot of that is ours,” says co-owner Danny Schwartz, a member of the Amish community in El Dorado Springs.
Schwartz has done work for Bass Pro Shops owner Johnny Morris sporadically in the 1980s and nearly full-time during the 1990s, working in stores in the Atlanta and Dallas areas, along with Morris’ personal property.
“If you’re going to Big Cedar and drive over the covered bridges, those are ours,” Schwartz says.
Ozark Timber Frame added the water wheel system at the Bass Pro store in Fort Worth, Texas, similar to the one at the retailer’s flagship in Springfield.
Following his Amish roots, horses are the only power source used at his workshop.
Ozark Timber Frame also has built private residences for Morris, as well as Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Hospitality Management and Shawn Askinosie of Askinosie Chocolate. With projects typically ranging between $100,000 and $900,000, the company generated nearly $3 million in 2018 revenue.
“That’s a lot of material,” Schwartz says.
In the beginning
In 1986, local architect Joe Pierce wanted to build a new timber frame home.
He planned to buy a package from a company out east, until Schwartz told him he could built it cheaper.
“I said I could erect it for the price he’s paying for it in Pennsylvania, minus the delivery and minus the install,” Schwartz says. “So we did.”
The Pierce home became the first full timber frame project by Ozarks Timber Frame.
“From 1986 on, this is all I’ve done,” Schwartz says.
He learned the trade from his father by building timber frames for their Amish community barns.
As business began to pick up, Schwartz needed more workshop space to meet demand.
He enlisted the help of Ben Hurd, who owned Missouri Stove & Chimney in Sparta. Hurd agreed to receive timber loads and process what work couldn’t be done at Schwartz’s former shop in Seymour.
“He was my contact between us and the outside world,” Schwartz says.
By the early 2000s, Schwartz, Hurd and company were constructing 30-35 homes a year, Schwartz says, from Colorado to Tennessee.
“We go everywhere now, but we try to keep in the local area as much as we can,” Schwartz says.
Ozark Timber Frame crews headed deep into the South for relief help 10 years ago. When Hurricane Ike hit, Schwartz got a call from a friend in Houston.
“I went down there about three weeks after the hurricane, and through him and his friend I got in,” he says of the disaster area. “We built eight packages from there. We made them on-site and assembled them.”
A YouTube video by the Texas County Reporter, titled “Amish Beach Houses,” chronicles the first homes being rebuilt in the area by Schwartz, his team and a local contractor.
People and projects
As Hurd approached retirement age, he sold his business to his son Benji.
“I bought my dad’s chimney and stove business seven years ago, kind of as he slowed down I started helping,” Hurd says.
The younger Hurd now also handles marketing and sales for Ozark Timber Frame, and he supplies trucks, trailers and electric tools for installations.
Schwartz also owns Schwartz Post & Beam LLC, his Amish shop now in El Dorado Springs, where the frames are crafted. The community doesn’t use motors or electricity, so a gear-system carousel powered by two horses produces the power.
“Sometimes, if we’re working the full day, we’ll put four in there,” Schwartz says.
The company’s preferred wood source is the western mountains of the Cascade Range in Oregon.
“They’re a little redder and they’re better grain than the eastern Cascades,” Schwartz says.
Recent projects for Ozark Timber Frame are a covered bridge at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park and seven other bridges for Bass Pro’s Morris, along with Arnie’s Barn at Top of the Rock in Branson and The Barley House at Moon Town Crossing owned by O’Reilly. Schwartz says event barns are the newest trend he’s built.
“In the last three or four years, event barns are crazy. It’s the hot thing,” Schwartz says.
He recently received a call to construct an event barn in Appleton City, and Hurd says the company is working on a nearly $950,000 event barn for O’Reilly in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Tim has used them for their farm area and personal buildings and had a good experience with them,” says Cassidy Palmer, marketing and sales director for The Barley House.
Palmer says concrete is being poured for an outdoor patio area that will be lined with trees at 5,000-square-foot The Barley House. The building features a wooden truss system structure and overhead garage doors for open-air access.
“As far as all this elaborate design, that came from dreams,” Schwartz says of The Barley House.
Event barns usually range between $300,000 and $900,000, Hurd says, while the residential work – shell construction only – usually cost $100,000-$250,000.
It took about seven weeks in the horse-powered shops to process the framework for The Barley House, followed by a week of installation, Schwartz says.
Up next are tiny homes. He’s built five so far – in both log style and conventional framing.
“Tiny houses is what I’d like to go for,” he says of the mass-production potential. “We’re hoping to be in production a year from now.”
The Doula Foundation of Mid-America Inc. moved; Steve Albrecht opened Dr. Steve Albrecht Coaching Services; and Common Sleep LLC got its start.
Vineese Knight with the Massengale Group Of Keller Williams says when she was a young salesperson the biggest mistake she made was looking at people as numbers. She started experiencing real success when she made the mental shift to thinking of her customers as people and genuinely caring about their needs above her own.
Cody Ritter, owner of Base Construction & Management LLC, attributes the company's fast growth in part to keeping customers happy. Base Construction & Management LLC is one of the Springfield Business Journal 2019 Dynamic Dozen companies, recognizing the 12 fastest growing companies in the area.
"You are a leader," says Carrie Richardson, Executive Director of Leadership Springfield. She gives suggestions as to how you can develop your leadership skills.
Michael Wehreberg, Wehrenberg Design Company, discusses the shift in the last five years in web site design to mobile-first designs. Ultimately, you have to think of the human first and serve them with ease, and Google will give you credit for being mobile friendly.
Ömer Önder, owner of Springfield Diner, struggles with the process of renaming his restaurant. The process led by Dustin Myers and Jeremy Wells, owners of the branding agency Longitude LLC. Ömer expresses all of the emotions he is going through as they work together to revise his seating, menu, hours, and a name to reflect those changes.
It is projected that 10,000 people in the United States will turn 65 years old everyday for 19 years, and non profits are going to be competing over the coming years in a fierce labor market. Give Five was developed as a civic matchmaking program to help connect capable retirees with charitable organizations that need help. Greg Burris outlines the problems the program addresses, opportunities for individuals and organizations, as well as how United Way of the Ozarks is licensing to the program to share with other communities.
Jamie Kinkeade noticed most of the women in her fitness classes at The Studio were wearing Lululemon. She knew her clients were driving to Kansas City to purchase the brand, so she approached the athletic apparel company to stock their merchandise in her store, The Movement. They said "no" at first because they were not looking to expand into the Springfield market, but her persistence paid off.
With more job openings than people to fill them, it is time for your company to evaluate how you are motivating and engaging your team to help you retain and attract the best talent. Sherry Coker, Executive Director at the OTC Center for Workforce Development, walks you through tangible and intangible incentives that encourage employee engagement, performance enhancement, and higher job satisfaction.
"When we first started we thought we could pretty much do this on our own," discloses Vera Gibbons with Baby Foot®. "We thought we knew what would be great...that's not really what happened." Gibbons recommends partnering with a strong marketing partner early and give them a budget.
With four generations in the workplace, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of how each approaches brainstorming can make all the difference in arriving at the best idea. Boomer Kay Logsdon, Director of Applications at CultureWaves, and self-described fossil Millennial Locke Hilderbrand share what their trends research at CultureWaves tells us about generational differences and tips on how to bridge the gaps. Generations in the Workplace is an ongoing multi-episode series tackling the issues of generational conflict.