Leadership Team

Baker Group is managed by a team of experienced professionals with broad and deep engineering and leadership expertise for your building infrastructure needs. They provide a common vision of innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, honesty and integrity to develop long-term customer relationships.

Baker Group’s talented team is committed to delivering high-quality consultative design, construction and facility support solutions at an exceptional value.

  • B.J. Baker, III

    B.J. Baker, III

    Chairman and CEO

    BJ quite literally “grew up” in the mechanical contracting business. BJ’s father started the company in 1963. In 1984, BJ took over day-to-day operations from his father, and today is the Chairman and CEO of Baker Group. BJ has led the company through expansion and change, growing the business by hiring the best and brightest people available. BJ’s team has broadened the company capabilities, offering more services to the customers. He tells customers to – Expect the Best®.

  • Gary Bridgewater

    Gary Bridgewater


    Gary is a University of Northern Iowa graduate, starting with Baker Group right out of college in 1985. Gary believes very strongly that our success only comes when all of the stakeholders on the project are also successful. This philosophy drives our support of the entire construction team with cost-effective design, thorough pre-construction planning, and intense jobsite schedule coordination. Gary also plays an important role in business development and is an active leader in the community.

  • Kathy Ladd

    Kathy Ladd

    Vice President, COO

    A Baker Group employee for over 45 years, Kathy has been significant in shaping the company to what it is today. With her expertise in our industry, coupled with accounting and human resources, she has been in a unique position to assure cost efficiency, while delivering consistent, high quality services to our customers. Kathy oversees administration and finance, internal process improvement, and day-to-day operations. Kathy is always in the background promoting a positive culture and supporting our people.

  • Mark Zimmerman

    Mark Zimmerman

    Vice President of Finance

    In 2018, Mark joined Baker Group to enhance the financial team’s capacity to support the company’s growing business lines with finance, accounting, risk management and operational expertise. Mark graduated from University of Northern Iowa in 1993, became a CPA and worked in public accounting for four years. In 1998, he went to work for one of his clients, Loffredo Fresh Produce, where he contributed to the company’s success year after year.

  • Cindi Summers

    Cindi Summers

    Chief Human Resources Officer

    Cindi began in her role at Baker Group in early 2020, bringing to our table proven leadership in strategic workforce planning and a strong track record in developing capabilities among all employee categories. For 25 years, she enabled growth at major Midwest and national companies.  As a native Iowan with degrees from several Iowa universities, she appreciates the culture of achievement that characterizes Baker Group, and works to develop the human potential with which it will embrace a future of growth.

  • Daryld Karloff, LEED AP

    Daryld Karloff, LEED AP

    Executive Vice President, Building Services

    Daryld started with Baker Group in 1996 as Service Manager. Daryld's Customer focus brought success and double-digit growth to our Service business. In 2001, Daryld became the Control Technology Manager, bringing a focus on process improvement that delivered significant growth in temperature controls, security and fire alarm systems. In 2004, Daryld became Vice President of Business Development for the entire Baker Group organization, and in 2015 he became Executive Vice President of Building Services.

  • Doug Kumm, LEED AP

    Doug Kumm, LEED AP

    Executive Vice President, New Construction

    Doug is responsible for the overall operations of Baker Group’s new construction services. The business units he oversees include; Mechanical, Electrical, Sheet Metal and Industrial.  With over 35 years of experience, Doug has a strong track record of on-budget and on-schedule projects, which makes him the ideal leader of the Mechanical Business Unit.

  • Jim Cooper, P.E. LEED AP

    Jim Cooper, P.E. LEED AP

    Vice President, Design and Pre-Construction

    Jim and his team are responsible for delivering consistent, high quality mechanical design and pre-construction services. With a broad range of experience in mechanical design ranging from office building to laboratories, Jim is a design leader and uses his skills to help our clients make informed technical decisions.

  • Joel Veenstra, P.E.

    Joel Veenstra, P.E.

    Vice President, Mechanical Business Unit

    Joel began his career as a project manager at Baker Group in 2001. He has a bachelor’s degree from Dordt College and an advanced degree from Iowa State University.  He came to Baker Group with eight years of experience as a structural engineer and project manager in the industrial sector.  Over the years Joel has led many of Baker Group’s largest and most challenging projects.  As VP of the Mechanical Business Unit, Joel leads pre-construction activities and continues to develop teams that bring best-in-class service to internal and external customers alike.

  • Mike Lipp, P.E.

    Mike Lipp, P.E.

    Vice President, Electrical Business Unit

    A construction industry veteran, Mike oversees Baker Group’s Electrical Business Unit operations. Over the past 20 years, he has designed and managed a wide range of jobs, including some of our largest and most complicated projects. Mike is well-respected for his team-focused management style and ability to deliver innovative solutions and clear direction to construction challenges. He is known for working collaboratively with all members of the construction team to deliver improved processes, ensure successful projects and manage with integrity and trust.

  • Tom Wengert

    Tom Wengert

    Vice President, Sheet Metal Business Unit

    Tom brings over 30 years of sheet metal experience to the team. As Vice President, Tom is responsible for the overall operation and coordination of the Sheet Metal Business Unit at Baker Group. Today, Baker Group’s Sheet Metal Business Unit has grown into one of the largest in the Midwest. Baker Group sheet metal products are found in the most demanding environments — from hospital operating rooms to heavy industry. If it can be made of metal, Tom's team can deliver.

  • Joe Nestvedt

    Joe Nestvedt

    Vice President, Industrial Business Unit

    Joe leads Baker Group's Industrial  Business Unit, the group, which focuses on growth in the industrial sector and its niche markets. He has worked with us for 30 years, working on a variety of our more difficult and outside-the-box projects. These run across a broad spectrum from waste water treatment facilities to renewable fuel plants, with many in agriculture-related industries. Project locations span Iowa and the nation. Joe is an Engineering graduate from Iowa State University.

  • Jarod Stockel, P.E.

    Jarod Stockel, P.E.

    Vice President, Automation Business Unit

    Jarod brings over 11 years of experience in HVAC and Automation system design, installation, and operation to his leadership role in the Automation Business Unit. Jarod is a licensed Professional Engineer with extensive knowledge in Mechanical HVAC design and sustainable system strategies. He understands how to make buildings comfortable, productive and energy efficient. Jarod’s strong understanding of complex HVAC systems design, automation, power monitoring systems, and facility dashboards is a tremendous asset to our clients.

  • Jon Jackson

    Jon Jackson

    Vice President, Fire/Security/PARCS Technology Business Unit

    Jon’s drive to maximize clients’ safety and security, employee productivity and ROI has benefited clients in a multitude of business sectors – from private enterprise and healthcare to public agencies. Responsible for the overall operation, coordination, and growth of the Technology Business Unit, Jon Leads with a mindset of Ownership, and has a long track record of creating highly collaborative teams that help clients make strong financial decisions. Jon is a University of Minnesota Graduate and brings over 25 years of business and leadership experience to the Technology business unit. 

  • Dale J. Drent, P.E. LEED AP

    Dale J. Drent, P.E. LEED AP

    Vice President, Service Business Unit

    Dale started his career with Baker Group in 2003 as a mechanical design engineer. With a BS in Construction Engineering with a mechanical emphasis and certification from the State of Iowa as a Professional Engineer, Dale has demonstrated strong values and leadership skills. Dale’s engineering background and design experience is very useful in trouble shooting mechanical systems and designing the right solution. As Service manager, Dale is responsible for long-term customer support and satisfaction.

  • Brandon Hummel, LEED AP

    Brandon Hummel, LEED AP

    Vice President, Development

    Brandon leads and organizes Baker Group’s efforts to provide our clients with systems, costs and solutions that bring value to project teams. He creates and cements strong relationships between clients and Baker Group, and exemplifies our philosophy that clients find the highest value for their own goals by working with Baker Group. Brandon is a 2004 graduate of Iowa State University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

  • Rob Cross

    Rob Cross

    Vice President, Field Operations

    Rob has spent his entire career with Baker Group, leading as Project Manager and Operations Manager on a variety of major projects.  As Vice President, he is further developing our support to field resources and consistency across business units. Rob carries plumbing licenses in seven states, including Iowa Master Plumber and Master Hydronic licenses. He also is a licensed plumbing inspector and a graduate of Des Moines Area Community College and the Plumbers & Steamfitters Apprentice Program.

  • Blake Brown, CISSP

    Blake Brown, CISSP

    Director, Information Technology

    Blake has applied his leadership and IT skills at Baker Group and with many of its clients for his entire 20-year career, ranging from networks and data processing to business continuity, data confidentiality, integrity and availability. He is a technology problem solver, creating solutions across many disciplines including network infrastructures (i.e. TCP/IP communications, subnets, routing and design); enterprise-level operating systems; active desktop and server hardware; and data storage, among others. Blake earned an M.C.S.E. certification in 1998 as well as a more recent Cisco Certified Network Associate and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP.)

  • Tracy Haus

    Tracy Haus

    Safety Director

    Tracy guides the company’s Safety Program – an area in which Baker Group is heralded for diligence and standards. It’s his passion and his team’s mission that everyone on our projects can go home safely. Throughout his 20 years with Baker Group, Tracy has emphasized communication, education and follow-through. Among accomplishments, Tracy has been an OSHA 500, CPR/1st Aid, State Fire and Aerial Platform instructor, as well as an accredited safety instructor for the mechanical and plumbing license. He holds positions on many professional safety task forces and committees and has earned the Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) certification. 

  • Andrea Gersema

    Andrea Gersema

    Marketing Manager

    After 14 years of setting the pace and scope for Baker Group’s marketing activities, Andrea assumed her new role in spring 2020. She helps guide company leadership as they extend the Baker Group brand and build lasting relationships with clients. Andrea is responsible for advancing the overall marketing, promotional, advertising and digital messaging and managing the special events of our fast-growing company. Andrea received her bachelor’s degree from Cedarville (Ohio) University.