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Kent Companies Announces New Hires and Promotions of the Leadership Team

Kent Companies, the 6th largest concrete contractor nationwide, announced an expansion of its leadership and executive teams with promotions and new hires across the country. Kent Companies CEO Jeff VanderLaan shared, “As our organization grows, we’re enhancing our leadership structure to support our entire team. Our leaders are called to innovate and make Kent Companies the best place to build a life-long career.”

VanderLaan continued, “Over the past year, we’ve expanded our safety team across the country. National Safety Director Manny Rodriguez is a concrete construction safety leader with over 25 years of experience on high-profile and complex projects. Under Manny’s leadership, we are strengthening the safety culture, training, and analysis required to perform our work safely. Manny continues to add experienced safety professionals to our team in all of our regional offices.”  

In 2022, Kent Companies expanded Texas operations to serve the commercial sector in Austin and throughout Central Texas. VanderLaan explained, “Austin, Texas is attracting investments from multiple industries. As they establish headquarters in the region, we are building the commercial and multi-family structures to support their operations and their workforce.” VanderLaan continued, “Our Austin-based team delivers the same leadership, manpower capacity and quality that made our mark in Dallas-Fort Worth. The commercial division expansion in Central Texas is exciting for our team and our customers alike.”

Kent Companies continues to build opportunities across the Midwest, South and Southeastern regions. For project inquiries or career opportunities, please visit

National Appointments

Leah Gradl, Chief Business Officer – In her new role, Leah Gradl oversees national marketing and business development initiatives. Her ten-year track record with Kent Companies includes leadership of branding, corporate communications and shared services.

Ryan Kuczynski, Chief Talent Officer – Ryan Kuczynski oversees all human capital departments and programs, including human resources, talent, and training. Ryan brings a wealth of knowledge to the team with 15 years of experience working with construction executives and industry professionals.

Manny Rodriguez, National Safety Director – Manny Rodriguez brings over 25 years of concrete and safety leadership to our team. He joined Kent Companies in March of 2022 to lead and manage an industry-leading safety culture through process improvement, training, and data analytics.

Texas Promotions & Hires

Wes Marek, Division Manager – Wes Marek leads Kent Companies’ growth as a commercial concrete division leader in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. He joined Kent Companies in 2016 as pre-construction manager and was a key driver of the division’s growth across the country. Wes was promoted to division manager in October 2022. He assumes leadership of business development, preconstruction, operations, and customer relations for the commercial concrete division.

Andy Thigpen, Division Manager – Andy Thigpen leads Kent Companies’ flagship multi-family division in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Andy brings nearly 20 years of experience to Kent Companies, working in roles from senior superintendent to regional vice president. He joined Kent Companies in December of 2022.

Lee Bruderer, Division Manager – Lee Bruderer leads Kent Companies’ commercial division expansion in Central Texas, including Austin, San Antonio and the surrounding region. Lee brings decades of leadership experience and relationships in concrete construction to Kent Companies.  

Midwest Promotions & Hires

Dave Williamson, Executive Vice President – In this new role, Dave Williamson provides executive leadership and operational oversight to Kent Companies’ Midwest operations. Dave brings over two decades of construction experience working as a leader for construction managers and specialty trade contractors across the country.

Jim Hendrickson, Division Manager – Jim Hendrickson leads the underlayments division in Central Ohio, with over 25 years of construction industry experience. He joined the Kent Companies’ team in August 2022. In his new role, he takes full responsibility for the strategic and tactical plans of the Ohio underlayments division.

Matt Cassar, Safety Manager – Matt Cassar leads the safety team for all Midwest operations.  He joined the Kent Companies team in early 2021 as a safety coordinator. Matt is responsible for all safety training, processes, and uniformity across Midwest operations.

Brenna Alton, Corporate Marketing Manager – Brenna Alton joined the Kent Companies team in September 2022. She is charged with managing the company’s brand and message. Brenna has previous marketing experience in professional services and specialty trade contracting.

Southeast Promotions & Hires

Taylor Sittig, Division Manager – Taylor Sittig leads the Southeast commercial concrete division, which delivers turnkey concrete construction services across the Southeast United States. Taylor brings over 15 years of construction experience to the team, with progressive roles at general contractors and specialty trade contractors over the course of his career.

Dave McCauley, Division Manager – Dave McCauley leads the Southeast underlayments division’s growth across the Southeast United States. Dave is a 20-year Kent Companies veteran, with leadership experience managing multi-family, mixed use structural and commercial projects in Michigan and the Southeast.

Ben Stevens, Safety Manager – Ben Stevens leads the Southeast safety team by facilitating, promoting, and measuring safety performance in the field. Ben joined the Kent Companies team as safety coordinator in June of 2021 and was promoted to safety manager in February 2023.

About Kent Companies:

Kent Companies is a third-generation family-owned business with expertise in commercial and industrial construction, mixed-use construction, multi-family housing, tilt-up concrete, post-tensioned cast in place structures and a full range of concrete-related specialties.

Kent Companies is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and has operations in Detroit and Traverse City, Michigan; Dallas and Austin, Texas; Central Ohio; Charlotte, North Carolina and St. Louis, Missouri. Kent Companies employs more than 1,600 concrete construction professionals nationwide, and the organization is ranked as the 6th largest concrete contractor nationwide by ENR Magazine. The Kent Companies team has built a reputation as “Leaders in Concrete.”