You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

How This Family-Run Company Has Thrived for Five Generations Marty Ozinga, the CEO of Ozinga, explains the legacy and future of the powerhouse construction materials company.

By William Salvi

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Creating our show The CEO Series has allowed me to sit down with some of the most innovative and inspiring business leaders in the world to get their insights on what it takes to launch, grow and sustain a meaningful business.

This episode took us to Ozinga, the concrete and building material powerhouse. They're based in Chicago and if you're in the area, you're surely familiar with their iconic red and white trucks. They have approximately 2,500 employees and I got to have an amazing chat with the guy who oversees it all, Marty Ozinga, the fourth-generation CEO of this 95-year-old company.

Below are some highlights of that conversation, which have been edited for length and clarity. Watch the full video above.

His approach to leadership

"It's not the people are working for you, they're working with you. That's the way I was mentored and taught. We all need each other. We all have different roles and responsibilities, but we're working with each other."

Related: Why Notre Dame's Football Coach Tells His Team to "Choose Hard"

Ozinga's 95-year history

"Our family came from the Netherlands in 1893, the year of the World's Fair here in Chicago. The family was always in the delivery business. Then in 1928, my great-grandfather was working with the Cook County Sheriff's Department during Prohibition and dealing with the hazards of Al Capone and all of that. He had five kids at home and decided, "You know what? I don't want to fight Al Capone anymore." So he started a coal delivery business. And then around 1950, ready mix concrete became the era's disruptive technology. Ready mixed means that it is batched for delivery from a central plant instead of being mixed on the job site. And so Ozinga became one of the first ready mix providers in the region."

Related: This Entrepreneur Started Making Short Videos to Share Her Passion for Cooking. Now Her Food Company Is a Global Powerhouse.

On their iconic trucks

"We've supplied concrete to iconic Chicago landmarks like Soldier Field and Wrigley Field, so it's fun to be connected to places like that. And we're really proud of our trucks' red and white stripes. I think it was a combination of this keen sense of marketing, but also of national pride. But there's also some joke that they were Dutch and very frugal and those were the two paint buckets in the garage. So I like both those stories."

The power of peacefulness

"Our dispatch office is the nerve center of the business. It's where all the orders come in from our customers, and then where we dispatch the trucks. It is intentionally very quiet inside. We've tried to get it as quiet and peaceful as possible because historically the dispatch office is a very intense, chaotic, loud and crazy place."

Building and sustaining a legacy

"There's an emotional connection for my family and this company. We've been really fortunate that we get to embed ourselves in communities throughout the Midwest. We're committed to our employees and our customers — we want to be here for the next hundred years and longer. That's our intention. And while change is necessary so you don't get disrupted and die and go out of business, there are certain things that you shouldn't meddle with. Our core principles are the foundation for who we are and why we do what we do — that should never change."

Related: How Personal Passions Fuel Business Success for the CEO of Vivid Seats

Check out more profiles of innovative and impactful leaders by visiting The CEO Series archives.

William Salvi

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Producer & Host of The CEO Series | Salvi

William Salvi is executive producer at Salvi, an executive communications and content strategy agency. He hosts the Emmy Award-winning video series The CEO Series. Each episode profiles a business leader and their respective business and provides a humanizing look into the CEO's personal story.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

More from The CEO Series

A Look Inside the Company That Is Making $500 Million a Year Serving Italian Beef Sandwiches Made Famous by 'The Bear'

Growing a $5 Billion Company Starts With 'Doing the Right Thing for Your Employees' According to This CEO

How This Family-Run Company Has Thrived for Five Generations

Why Notre Dame's Football Coach Tells His Team to "Choose Hard"

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

Yes, You Can Buy a Foldable Tiny Home on Amazon — And Now It's Selling for Less Than $12,000

The waterproof and flameproof house was listed around $35,000 a few months ago.

Starting a Business

4 Common Mistakes That Will Spell Doom Your Ecommerce Business

It's hard to spot a success story before it happens, yet it's easy to tell if a business will struggle. With that in mind, here are the four most common mistakes people make that you should avoid when starting an ecommerce business.

Money & Finance

4 Things to Know About Credit Financing Your Business Following the 'Fed Pivot'

With cheap money behind us, you'll want to rethink how you finance your business

Side Hustle

This Insurance Agent Started a Side Hustle Inspired By Nostalgia for His Home State — Now It Earns Nearly $40,000 a Month

After moving to New York City, Danny Trejo started a business to stay in touch with his roots — literally.