DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A diversified firm that has supplied power and gas to generations of Dubuquers marks its 150th anniversary this 12 months.
“We’ve been blessed,” mentioned Mark Molo, president and CEO of Molo Corporations.
The Molo Corporations’ roots prolong to 1870, and the institution of a plumbing and heating enterprise. The corporate now boasts greater than 250 workers in eight states.
William Molo and his brother-in-law Bart Linehan bought the plumbing and heating enterprise from Morrison Brothers, launching a household enterprise that has progressed by way of to a fourth technology.
William Molo arrived in Dubuque in 1883.
“He got here from New York, and his dad got here from Switzerland,” Mark mentioned of his great-grandfather.
William Molo and Bart Linehan operated Linehan & Molo. Quickly after its founding, the corporate established a coal supply service to enhance its plumbing and heating agency.
“We have been supplying boilers and coal,” Mark informed the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. “Then, furnaces got here alongside, and we adopted that line.”
The corporate additionally dealt in sand and gravel.
“We had these groups of horses and wagons, and again then, you both (hauled) ice or sand and gravel, however each groups of horses did coal within the wintertime,” Mark mentioned. “Within the summertime, the sand and gravel guys have been busy, both producing sand and gravel or delivering it or concrete. Within the wintertime, you wanted one thing for the crews to do. In order that was the coal. They mirrored one another. We dredged sand and gravel on the river up close to Cassville (Wis.) for lots of years, again when it was steamboats and paddlewheels.”
A hearth helped change the corporate’s course.
“By fluke, by luck or by blessing, we had a fireplace on the horse barn,” Mark mentioned. “On the time that the hearth occurred, there was a choice to interchange the wagons and horses with vehicles.”
With the arrival of cars, Molo branched out into petroleum in 1927. The corporate additionally owned a trolley firm in Dubuque.
“There have been 5 or 6 (trolley firms) for the town,” Mark mentioned. “Every firm owned a bit of trolley. Ours went up Rhomberg Avenue.”
By 1968, Molo Oil was supplying gas oil to owners and offered gasoline at dozens of space service stations. Mark’s dad, Bob, took over the corporate from his father, Harold, in 1971, and the corporate expanded farther into Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Mark labored alongside his dad as a child.
“He all the time had one thing for me to do,” mentioned Mark, who all the time knew he would comply with within the household enterprise. “I used to be all the time within the enterprise from day one — perhaps to my detriment as a result of I perhaps didn’t research as arduous at school as a result of I might relatively be working.”
Finally, Mark created a ready-mix enterprise that operated below the Molo title, and he stepped as much as lead the corporate after Bob died in 1998.
Mark carried on the household enterprise and in addition continued the household’s group involvement, supporting organizations equivalent to Loras Faculty and Boys and Ladies Membership of Better Dubuque.
“Since 1978, one of many Molos — Bob or Mark — has been on our board,” mentioned Brian Meyer, the membership’s government director.
He mentioned Bob and Mark Molo are the one father and son pairing to every obtain the membership’s highest particular person honor.
“We will all the time depend on the Molo household,” Meyer mentioned. “They’ve simply been very concerned with no matter we do.”
Mark offered the ready-mix enterprise within the early 2000s.
“After my dad handed away, I needed to get targeted extra on our core companies — the gas and the power — and so we offered it, and that was one of many hardest issues I’ve needed to do,” he mentioned. “This was my child. We had nice workers and a few nice companions.”
The corporate continued to develop, nevertheless, with a string of enterprise acquisitions associated to gas and power provide.
“Now we have discovered that over the past 15 years, some household companies are retiring and getting out of enterprise as a result of they don’t have a subsequent technology coming alongside,” Mark mentioned. “So, we’re rising. We’ve been doing one (acquisition) a 12 months for fairly some time.”
Mark has 4 kids. Son Blake Molo has labored for the corporate since 2018. Nicholas, Erica and Maria have chosen different profession paths.
Mark mentioned the corporate is ready for the longer term, even when the enterprise appears totally different than it does in the present day.
“Our household enterprise appears like an power and an oil firm, with plumbing and heating and air-con companies in the present day,” he mentioned. “100 years in the past, it was a coal enterprise. It’ll most likely be what we’re in the present day whereas I’m right here, however in 10 years, if one thing modified, who is aware of?”