Herman Gundlach Jr.
Ferris State University
Born and raised in Houghton, Herman Gundlach Jr. often worked at Gundlach Inc., the construction company founded by his father in 1898. After a successful football career at Houghton High School, Worcester Academy and Harvard University and a stint in the armed services, including service in World War II, Herman returned to the Upper Peninsula to take over the family business.
Under his watch, the Gundlach construction company developed innovative building techniques including pioneering the idea of winter construction, which involved work sites covered with canvas. The firm also specialized in reinforced concrete construction. The company continued to grow and did most of its own work instead of subcontracting. At its busiest times, the Gundlach Company had almost 500 employees, making it one of the largest construction employers in the state.
Gundlach helped build Copper County. His company buildings range from many buildings at Michigan Tech, St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Houghton, the Reverbatory Furnace at the White Pine Copper Company in White Pine, the J.H. Warden Generating Plant in L Anse, D&N Bank Building in Hancock, and Finlandia University buildings in Hancock. The company built its reputation on impeccable honesty, integrity and fairness and its quality workmanship, responsibility and meeting construction schedules with projects throughout Michigan and Wisconsin.
Herman has won numerous awards from his peers and for community involvement. He was inducted into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 1973 and won the Highest Honor Award from Suomi College. He was the recipient of the Boy Scouts of America Special Achievement Award and the Distinguished Service Award from Michigan Tech. He was awarded charter membership in the MTU Hubbell Society and the Honorable Alumni Award from Michigan Tech and honorary Ph.D. from Suomi College.
Herman was a member of the Houghton Rotary, the American League, Veterans of Foreign Wars and trustee with Goodwill Farm. He was the director, chairman and donor with the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home for Abused Women and Director of the Oak House Inc. for the mentally handicapped. He also served as chairman of the Houghton National Bank Board and president of the Michigan chapter of Associated General Contractors. He was inducted into the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame at Ferris State University on October 21, 2004.