In 1958 Ralph Korte set out to start his own construction company by building
barns and hog houses in St. Louis. He had little more than some tools, a pick-up truck, determination and a cousin to help him. It was a simple strategy that would prove successful.
Nearly a half-century later, The Korte Company continues to thrive as one of the largest construction firms in the nation. It recently expanded its facilities to Southern Nevada. The company’s Las Vegas office, which opened late last year, is headed by Ralph Korte’s son, Greg.
“I think the success of the business goes back to my father and the values he has instilled in his children and employees, which are to always do the right thing and strive to please the people you are working for,” Greg Korte said. “Our goal is not to be the biggest. Instead, it’s to strive to be one of the best general contractors in Las Vegas.”
The Las Vegas division has already garnered its share of contracts in Southern Nevada. The company recently completed projects for American Nevada Corp., including the North Las Vegas Enterprise Home Finding Center and a three-story corporate office building in Henderson. The combined contracts were valued at more than $6.7 million.
It is currently building the Southern Highlands Prep School, an 8,500-square-foot private school scheduled to open in the fall. Other projects underway include: the St. John Neumann Parish Center in North Las Vegas; a gymnasium addition to the Merryhill School on Durango Drive and Tropicana Avenue; and the Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang, a replica of a shrine that once stood in the Hai Phu Village in Vietnam. The original was built to commemorate the appearance of the Virgin Mary in 1798.
Although Ralph Korte is still involved in the family business, it is primarily operated by his children and employees, many of whom have partial ownership. His son, Todd, serves as the company’s president. In addition to Las Vegas, the company has offices in Highland, Ill. and St. Louis and employees nearly 170 people.
The Korte Company, which specializes in design-build, construction management and interior design, has completed projects in 30 states, including military facilities, schools, warehouses, commercial buildings and churches. Because of its reputation for quality, the American Subcontractors Association named it Contractor of the Year in 2003. Last year, it achieved $208 million in construction volume.
Greg Korte, 39, is not new to the Southern Nevada market. He moved to Las Vegas in 1987 after graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in construction science. He is the former president of Korte-Bellew & Associates (KBA), a construction company that had roots in the Southern Nevada community since 1967. However, KBA was forced to close its doors last October after it failed to receive payment from the financially troubled Aladdin for its contract to build the Aladdin Performing Arts Theatre.
“Unfortunately, we took one project we never should have taken,” Korte said. “Because of my situation with the Aladdin, I decided to go back into the family business, and it’s been a great decision.”
Korte said the Las Vegas Korte Company is largely staffed by former employees from KBA. “We are very strong now because of the financial backing and resources of The Korte Company, with nearly 50 years of being in business,” he said. “But we also have the advantage of our local staff’s intimate knowledge of the Southern Nevada market.”