Charlie Rohde’s well-rounded combination of businessman, philanthropist, community leader and volunteer has benefited the Cedar Rapids area for many years.
Charlie’s father, C.P. Rohde, bought King’s Material Inc. in 1978, expanding it into a very successful business. Charlie joined the company as a salesman after earning his degree from the University of Iowa in 1983 and worked his way up to become company president at the age of 29.
Charlie continued to grow the company by acquiring, merging and creating companies to enhance King’s Material’s business model. He formed Builders Transportation, purchased Hawkeye Ready Mix and acquired Stone Concepts and Midland Concrete Products. Most recently, the company created Division 4, which provides subcontracted masonry cleaning services. King’s Material Inc. now has locations in Marshall, Cerro Gordo, Black Hawk, Jones, Scott, Johnson and Linn counties and has grown to 231 employees strong, producing nearly 2 million blocks and 336,000 yards of concrete poured in 2016.
Charlie’s business acumen, however, is only one component of his value to the Cedar Rapids area. He is part of a family that knows the benefits of community involvement.
In 1996, the Rohde Family Charitable Foundation was formed by C.P. Rohde. Almost 20 years later, the next generation continues to give and serve. Charlie and his sister, Sara Sauter, keep the family tradition alive, funding numerous scholarships to Mount Mercy University and Kirkwood Community College. Scholarships are generally in the areas of architectural technology, business administration, nursing and pre-engineering degrees.
Recently the Rohde Family Foundation was highlighted in the Corridor Business Journal as one of the top foundations in eastern Iowa. Over the last decade, revenues have experienced a 30- percent growth.
Charlie’s professional associations have included serving as president of Iowa Ready Mix Concrete Association, associate board member of Master Builders of Iowa and board member of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. He’s also served Iowa as a state representative between 1994 and 1996. The list of local boards he has served is long. A partial listing includes: Board member and chair-elect (2018) for Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, year - present, Board & executive committee member, Cedar Rapids Chamber, 2003-05, Board member U.S. Bank Cedar Rapids 2004-present, Board member, Entrepreneurial Development Center (2004 chair), 2013-15, Chair, Mount Mercy University Board of Trustees (2005, 2012), board member, 1997-present, Board member, Mercy Medical Center, 2001-present, and Board member, Cedar Rapids Rotary, 1985-present.
Nominator Brenda K. Haefner, vice president of development at Mount Mercy University, had this to say:
“Charlie’s leadership, commitment and generosity are an inspiration to others on the Mount Mercy University Board of Trustees and to the thousands of alumni of the university, as well as to those serving alongside him on the Mercy Hospital Board of Trustees and numerous other boards. He has embraced quality health care and a commitment to higher education and due to his volunteerism, integrity, philanthropy and compassionate spirit, he has helped change the lives of so many in our community.” Charlie has led the effort to purchase 22 acres of land, clean up the property and construct Mount Mercy’s first-ever outdoor athletic complex, which will forever change the face of Mount Mercy and surrounding neighborhoods.
For much of his professional life, Charlie has focused on attracting other business to Cedar Rapids through his work with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. Today, he serves as the incoming president of that organization. Charlie takes great pride in his volunteerism, always looking to help make Cedar Rapids an even better place to work and live.
Of all of his accomplishments, he is most proud of his daughers, Katie and Anna.