Quote Collections, Permanence and a “Contrarian” Vision
“When we look at a stock, we really are in it for the long-term. Everybody says they’re long term but they aren’t. We say we are, and we are. There are some stocks I’ve owned for 20 years. When you look for an idea to invest your time and energy in, you want something that can last indefinitely … and that’s what we offer.” – Ken Kroeker, Co-Founder, Lawson Kroeker Investment Management
Today, take a moment to learn more about Ken Kroeker, co-founder of Lawson Kroeker Investment Management. What you’ll read is an interesting and inspiring reflection of the very fabric of the company itself.
Mr. Ken Kroeker carries around several little scraps of paper, jotting down quotes and bits of inspiration from everywhere. He can share lists of facts about his favorite U.S. presidents – having read many presidential biographies – and he thinks Arizona’s climate is just about perfect when winter hits his Omaha, NE, home.
Reflecting on the company’s journey, now 30-plus years in the making, Mr. Kroeker explains what he says sets the team apart. “When we look at a stock, we really are in it for the long-term. Everybody says they’re long term but they aren’t,” he says. “We say we are, and we are. There are some stocks I’ve owned for 20 years. When you look for an idea to invest your time and energy in, you want something that can last indefinitely … and that’s what we offer.”
This foundation of longevity isn’t a trend or an emerging idea. Mr. Kroeker explains that’s the philosophy that’s been in place since the company was founded in the 1980s. “When we started, we said it would be a permanent firm. Frank Lawson and I owned stock in the company and we‘ve sold that to Tom Sudyka and Bruce Van Kooten, both of whom had a strong history with Lawson Kroeker. And they’ve selected a few to sell it to as they move it forward, and it keeps going like that – instead of selling out the business to another investor or merging to another firm.”
There’s no doubt that the staying power of the company inspires Mr. Kroeker – but he says he’s also inspired by the daily change that happens in the industry and the world. “There’s constant change and new developments across our industry. Coming into the office and looking for that next new idea that I hadn’t heard of before is what I enjoy every day,” he says.
Like many members of the Lawson Kroeker team, Ken has spent time working for large-scale or national firms, but he truly enjoys a different approach. “When I was with a big organization I seldom saw the clients. Now I see a lot of them. And because I understand what I’m doing and what they’re doing, there’s a good chance of having satisfied clients, lots of them. This is what makes the business successful and fun.”
Those who know Mr. Kroeker know he enjoys collecting and sharing quotes from authors, historians, political figures, economists and many other interesting sources. In fact, a one-of-a-kind resource found at the Lawson Kroeker office is Ken’s quote folder – containing 345 separate pages with one handwritten quote per page.
As an avid reader, a list of titles Mr. Kroeker recommends includes The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham and Jason Zweig, first published in 1959. “It’s got advice on the stock market and how to treat it,” says Kroeker. He also suggests The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. Browsing Mr. Kroeker’s bookshelf would also reveal several history titles, especially about past presidents Ronald Reagan and Harry S. Truman. (Whom Mr. Kroeker says is “much more interesting than I would have first thought.”)
Like the titles and quotes Mr. Kroeker enjoys pondering, there’s an element of steadfastness that surrounds him and his work. “We always told our clients and prospects that we planned on this being a permanent firm and others would come after us. They can count on the firm being around and consistent and staying the same,” he says. “We keep it this way to preserve the philosophy, the approach and the culture.” If you want to know more about Lawson Kroeker and the services we offer contact us today.