River City Six: Blake Berke
McGill Restoration Inc. (www.mcgillrestoration.com) has been in business since 1985, and currently employs approximately 75 concrete and masonry restoration professionals. With annual revenues of approximately $12 million, McGill Restoration is a recognized industry leader in the rehabilitation and preservation of concrete and masonry structures throughout the U.S. Blake Berke is the Controller at McGill Restoration.
How did you get started in the business?
I attended college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, graduating with degrees in accounting and finance. After college, I spent 3 ½ years in public accounting at Seim Johnson, LLP where I also obtained my CPA license. Last fall, McGill Restoration’s longtime accountant was preparing to retire and Tim was looking to develop a Controller role within the organization. A mutual friend put me in touch with Tim last November and the rest is history.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Prior to me joining the team at McGill Restoration, most accounting records were maintained on paper and then compiled by external accountants. My most important professional achievement is evolving the organization’s accounting to be as paperless as possible. This has helped the company’s growth as we now maintain accurate, real-time financial records that assist in important decision making.
Tell us a little about your family.
My beautiful wife, Danielle, and I met in college at UNL and just celebrated our 4-year anniversary. Dani is the Product Marketing Manager for Property Solutions at Sojern. I have four younger siblings: Kyla is a NICU RN at Avera McKennan Hospital, Shayna is a dental hygienist for Dr. Kusek’s practice, and twin brothers, Bo & Brady, who own and operate The Yard Barbers in Sioux Falls. I am originally from Sioux Falls, SD and much of my extended family still lives in the Sioux Falls area.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
My wife and I both enjoy traveling, fitness, and the outdoors. On a day off, odds are good that I will be doing something that falls into one of those categories, preferably all three at the same time.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
I would pick a combination of teleportation and supernatural intelligence. Imagine being able to travel around the world without lost time and being able to converse in any language.
What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life?
I officiate college football as a Center Judge in the MIAA conference. I was fortunate to be selected to work in the Division 2 Fall Classic at Arrowhead Stadium this season and hope to have a bright future in officiating. A lot of officiating qualifications can relate to working in business, but throwing a flag is not one of them.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
Most of my reading is non-fiction. I just finished Shoe Dog by Phil Knight and The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. I’d recommend both. When in-between reads through Audible, I’m a big podcast fan (Bill Simmons, Colin Cowherd, and Tim Ferris to name a few).
What is your favorite local restaurant?
I enjoy the Benson-area restaurants – my recent favorites are Lot 2 and Benson Brewery. During football season I do a lot of travel, so Muscle Maker Grill’s to-go wraps are a fall staple.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?
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