Lawnmower pioneer Dick Tegtmeier to be inducted into Nebraska Business Hall of Fame

Wilfred H. “Dick” Tegtmeier (1938-2013) Nebraska Business Hall of Fame honoree.

Wilfred H. “Dick” Tegtmeier (1938-2013), a pioneer in the lawnmower industry who helped start both Exmark and Encore Manufacturing companies, will be inducted into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame.

Established by the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the University of Nebraska College of Business to recognize Nebraska business leaders who have greatly contributed to Nebraska’s economy and business environment, the Hall solicits nominations each year from the general business community, statewide associations, and from academia.

Tegtmeier began working with F.D. Kees Manufacturing in Beatrice, Nebraska, in the 1970s, where he designed a line of lawn mowers. He left Kees in 1983 and, along with partners, started Exmark Manufacturing. Exmark began with sketches in the founder’s home before a prototype was made and displayed at trade shows. The company became one of the first businesses to locate in Beatrice’s Industrial Park.

He left Exmark in 1988 and formed a new mower company, Encore Manufacturing. At its peak, Encore employed 42 people at its peak, but after 23 years, a harsh economy took its toll on the business. Tegtmeier sold Encore Manufacturing to the China-based World Lawn Power Equipment on the condition that the factory continue operating in Beatrice.

Because of Tegtmeier’s entrepreneurship, reports the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame, Beatrice became known as the unofficial “Lawnmower Capital of the World,” employing more than 600 Nebraskans in three separate manufacturing facilities.

The honorees will officially be inducted at the NE Chamber Annual Meeting and Nebraska Business Hall of Fame Banquet on Thursday, February 2, at a banquet held at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel.

Click here to see the full list of 2023 Nebraska Business Hall of Fame Inductees.

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