TILING TOGETHER FOR
OVER A CENTURY.
Running a family business can be challenging. So, one that’s been around since the late 1800s is truly a testament to a family’s commitment to their craft. The multi-generational Harer family business was founded by Earvin Harer and has been carried on for four generations by Dale, his two sons Ed and Dick, and currently Ed’s son Scott.
“My wife always gets tired of me saying, Hey, look at that nice field of corn — we tiled that out ten years ago! It’s just rewarding to see that.”
Settling in Ohio, from Germany, the Harer family business started when Earvin Harer purchased an 1898 steam ditcher to drain the township’s swampy land. In those days, most of the area was still tiled by hand. But the family’s pioneering spirit didn’t stop there. When Dale came back from WWII, he took the rear tracks off his Buckeye 302 and attached on-road grader tandems, essentially making the first rubber tire ditch machine on tandems. In the 1960s, the Harers were even the first in the area to use laser grading to improve their accuracy. To pay tribute to the past, the family had the original steam ditcher completely restored. It’s entirely wood, except for the wheel, and it’s the only one of its kind in the U.S. that’s still in working condition.
Many businesses claim to be in the business of helping others, but this family is truly in it for the right reasons. As Ed Harer stated with a laugh, “My wife always gets tired of me saying, Hey! Look at that nice field of corn – we tiled that out ten years ago! It’s just rewarding to see that!” The family has even brought their drainage expertise to countries of need. They’ve gone on mission trips to Brazil and the Dominican Republic where Ed’s son, Scott, now spends six to eight weeks every year working with a missionary organization to implement their drainage. When they first started, they were literally digging trenches through ocean walls.
Ed is the type of guy that you could talk to for hours with no shortage of stories. He likes to say that he’s been in the drainage business since he was “knee-high to a grasshopper,” but more accurately remembers running the wheel machine and grade targets back when he was 12 years old. He was born into this business, and it’s been a joy for him to pass on his skills to Scott, the fourth generation of Harers to help farmers feed the world.
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Whether you’re a part of a multi-generational family business or fell into the gig by accident, every drainage contractor has a unique story about how they entered this business. Tell us yours, and we’ll be sure to share our favorites on social media.