One of Dayton’s oldest companies turns 125 years old


When Harold Rieck took over as president and owner of Dayton-based Rieck Services in 1967, he had a simple motto that he passed down to every employee: Treat your customers well.

Rieck Services has grown from its humble beginnings into one of the largest mechanical contracting services company in the region. The company provides commercial and industrial heating, ventilating and air-conditioning services.

“Customers in Dayton understand quality, and we work hard to provide that,” Rieck said.

The company celebrated its 125th anniversary at a community gathering last week, where business and community leaders came to celebrate Harold Rieck’s contributions to Dayton and his company’s continuing impact on the region. For Harold Rieck, 91, the momentous milestone is cause for celebration — and a moment of gratitude for the employees and city who loved him fiercely.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I love Dayton, and Dayton loves me back.”

Back in 1892, Herman Rieck started a small business on Wayne Avenue in the heart of Dayton. The company installed sheet metal roofing and furnaces around the city, and Herman Rieck became infamous for his speedy service — flying through the streets on his horse and wagon in attempt to make it to his next appointment in time.

The company said his spirit still rings true every time a blue Rieck truck rushes to its next client.

The company switched gears in 1958, and expanded into several areas of mechanical contracting — offering fabrication of ductwork, installing ductwork, mechanical engineering services, project management services, comprehensive HVAC and plumbing service programs, among other services.

Harold Rieck, who still works three days a week because it “keeps me young,” took over as owner in 1967 — right after the business moved to its current location on Wadsworth Road. Today, the company employs more than 150 people and continues on into its fourth-generation of family leadership.

Joni Dykstra, who retired one year ago, worked for Rieck for 28 years and one of the first women to work in the local construction industry. Dykstra said men at work mentored her in the field, where she grew to love the challenging work she did everyday. Rieck quickly turned into everything for her, she said.

“It’s family, truly,” she said.

Family values and respect for customers has kept the business thriving for more than a century, Doug Walker, a managing partner of Rieck, said. Those values kept Walker at the company for more than 32 years, and it’s what will push the company forward for the next 125 years, he said.

“It’s the culture. It’s the quality of the work and the respect we have among our people,” he said. “Harold led us with simple advice — Give our clients more than they expect.”

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