Kent Companies Employee News

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Level Up is Back KSE

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Congratulations Ben Herrema, CFO & Duane Andrus, EVP

We recently announced the promotion of Ben Herrema, CPA, MBA to Chief Financial Officer and Duane Andrus to Executive Vice President.

Herrema has a five-year tenure with Kent Companies and previously served as Assistant Controller and Chief Controller. CEO Jeff VanderLaan shared, “Ben has been instrumental in guiding Kent Companies through the organization’s steepest growth curve in three generations. Ben’s contributions to our team extend beyond the accounting function. He provides strategic insights to our operating managers across the country and ensures we are positioned to grow in our key markets. Above all else, Ben is driven by our core value to invest in our people. He champions new resources, advanced technology and benefits enhancements that help our entire team build rewarding and meaningful careers.”

Andrus assumed the role of Executive Vice President in late 2019, with oversight of three underpinning divisions operating in Michigan and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. VanderLaan continued, “Duane consistently delivers safe, productive and highly successful outcomes for our customers. Under his leadership, our underpinning divisions will continue to grow across the Midwest.”

Click here to read the official story.


It’s Back!

2020 Level Up Safety Challenge

Submit your Safety Tips Today!

Job site safety is our first priority. The Level UP Safety Challenge is a video competition to improve safety on our job sites nationwide. We know that YOU have the best ideas on how to work safely and keep your teammates safe. Here’s your chance to share them with the team.

Submit your safety tips to your safety manager for a chance to win prizes each week!

Pat Sullivan from Grand Rapids gave tips about working safely while heavy equipment moves across job sites.

Cassidy Lennerth from Traverse City shared a reminder to add grit to increase traction on icy job sites.

It’s easy to record a tip and qualify for prizes!

Contest Dates:

4 Weeks – January 13 through February 7


$50 prizes are awarded for the first five videos submitted each week.

How to Participate:

  • Use your phone to record a short safety tip. (around 30 seconds or less)
  • Tell us your name and what job site you’re working on.
  • Be safe! You must be wearing all PPE in your video. You can only record before/after work or at a safe stopping point.
  • Text or email your video to your local safety manager.

Send Videos to Your Safety Managers:

Click here to learn more and see all of the videos from 2020 and 2019!

Choate Kudos for the Southeast Team!

Choate Superintendent sent his thanks and appreciation for James Wright and the entire team – Jonas, Kirt, Mat and Dave.

I want to say how much I appreciate James Wright and his crew. What they have done and with a number of obstacles to overcome, (from rebar deliveries or non-deliveries, rain, undercut soils to a shared site). James’ leadership has got us to our slab on grade, which is a very big deal for us.I would look forward to work with him on another project. – Vince Maizy, Superintendent, Choate


Position:  Underlayment Laborers & Foremen

Location:  Fort Mill, SC and surrounding area

Kent Companies SE is currently considering internal applications for the Charlotte Underlayment Division.  Under the overall guidance of the Division Manager, members of this division will be responsible for the following:


  • Perform construction related tasks related to concrete, waterproofing and gypsum underlayment (gypcrete) at various types of commercial projects.
  • May operate hand and power tools of all types.
  • Position will require travel to various job sites in the Southeast as well as frequent local work in the Charlotte area.
  • Candidates will be trained to perform a variety of tasks including waterproofing, finishing, pump operations, site management and loading/unloading.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Experience and Education:

  • Experience in gypsum underlayment/waterproofing is a plus, but not a requirement. We will train the right candidates.

 Additional Requirements:

  • Valid Driver’s License and reliable transportation – CDL is a plus
  • Willingness to travel to projects throughout the Southeast

Contact:  Mindy Curtiss ( or Sarah Miller (, or call us at 616-534-4909

Deadline:  1/21/20


OSHA Fatal Four: Electrical Hazards

Submitted by Butch Floyd, Safety Manager

Did you know you could get a serious shock without directly touching an electrical hazard? You can, in fact, be injured—or even killed—by electricity that flows into the ground from a downed power line or other source.

  • When a downed power line or energized object contacts the earth, it transmits electrical current into the ground. If the voltage is strong enough, electricity spreads out into the ground in what is known as a VOLTAGE GRADIENT. The voltage will be highest at the point of contact and will diminish with distance from that point.
  • If you step across two areas of different voltage, the voltage between your feet will vary; this difference is known as STEP POTENTIAL. Because electricity seeks to move from a high-voltage source to a lower-voltage area until the voltage is equalized, electric current will use your legs as a path to move from a higher to lower voltage zone.
  • Step potential can also affect two people carrying a long conductive object, such as a metal ladder. As both people step across a voltage gradient, electricity can flow up through one person’s legs, across the object and down through the other person’s legs.

Do the Safety Shuffle

If a power line comes down on your job site, move away from the line with small, shuffling steps. Keep your feet close together, and do not allow your heels to pass your toes. Keep your feet in contact with the ground at all times, and do NOT take large steps. Shuffling in this way will ensure your legs do not span a voltage gradient. Immediately call 911 and local utilities to report the downed line.

Check Tools, Cords and Equipment Daily
A downed power line is the most common source of step potential. But a damaged heavy-duty extension cord or faulty electrical equipment can also create a step potential hazard. Before you start work each day, check the insulation on all cords, tools and equipment, and do not use any that show signs of wear.

My Why – Safety Awareness

Why do you work safely every day? Your family, friends and loved ones count on you to return home safely every night! Ask Safety Manager Butch Floyd for a hard hat sticker, and write your “why” in your hard hat so that you’re reminded every day! Take a photo with your family. The first 20 photos submitted get $25 credit to the Kent Companies store!