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Family rule ends at Oltmans

The longtime Oltmans family leadership at Whittier-based Oltmans Construction Co. Inc. has come to an end.

On April 1, 80-year-old Joseph Oltmans II, the third generation of the family to run the business, retired after 55 years at the company and handed over the chief executive reins to John Gormly, who had been president of the company since 2005. Gormly is 71.

Oltmans Construction Co. ranked No. 19 on the Business Journal’s general contractors list last year, with $220 million in L.A. County billings and $720 million in companywide billings.

Joseph Oltmans II’s grandfather, Joseph O. Oltmans, founded the construction company in 1932, running it out of the back office of a downtown butcher shop. The company graduated to its own space on East 18th Street near downtown in 1938.

Oltmans capitalized on the prolonged building boom that began with World War II and continued well into the postwar years. In 1959, Overwin “Bud” Oltmans became president and eventually moved the company to Monterey Park. His son, Joseph Oltmans II, joined the company in 1964, becoming president in 1982. The company moved to its Whittier location in 1985.

“I feel very blessed to be able to do what I love, and for over 55 years,” Oltmans II said in an interview posted on the company’s website. “We took it year by year. … We just tried to grow it as best as we could, with the capital that we could raise, because it’s a very capital-intensive business.”

Gormly said in an emailed statement that over the past decade, the company has focused on new geographic markets and industries. It has contracts in Northern California and Nevada and is licensed to operate in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. He also said the company has added staff “to accommodate the health care industry, private school markets, and multifamily and senior living markets.”

Last year, Oltmans placed at No. 70 on the Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Private Companies list, registering 68% billings growth over three years.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of chief executives at Oltmans Construction who were not part of the Oltmans family. John Gormly is the company’s second chief executive from outside the family.

Howard Fine
Howard Fine
Howard Fine is a 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles Business Journal. He covers stories pertaining to healthcare, biomedicine, energy, engineering, construction, and infrastructure. He has won several awards, including Best Body of Work for a single reporter from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers and Distinguished Journalist of the Year from the Society of Professional Journalists.
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