Denny Lamers had an inherent gift of knowing how to build a community.
From serving his country to spending the majority of his career leading the growth of McMahon, turning his passion for racing into a philanthropic endeavor, and creation of the Lamers Family Foundation, Denny’s life is a blueprint to follow in leaving our community a better place for the next generation.
After serving our country as a member of the US Army, Denny went on to join McMahon in May 1975, spending more than 45 years with the organization. Thirty-three years as company president, and three additional years as the Chairman of the Board before his retirement in 2021. At meetings and in speeches, you could feel the pride in his voice as he talked about the strategic growth of the organization including diversifying skills and lines of business and expanding from a few dozen employees to one of the leading Midwest engineering and architectural firms.
From the very beginning, Denny set the example that a company deeply rooted in its values would create a strong partner for clients, employees and the community. Today those core values are lived in The McMahon Way – which embodies the McMahon culture initiated by Denny.
When recognized for his career achievements, generosity, or success of McMahon, Denny usually kept his speech short and sweet with a focus on celebrating the team members who made them possible, and his family and friends who stood by his side. No matter what he said, Denny always managed to sneak in a punch line or two that got the whole room laughing.
Denny built community beyond his work at McMahon through philanthropic efforts. In 2017, he and his wife, Jan, were co-chairs of the $4 million capital campaign to expand and renovate Appleton’s Harbor House Domestic Abuse facility; McMahon provided all engineering and architectural design services for the project at no cost to Harbor House. The expansion of the Harbor House Domestic Abuse facility has allowed for countless victims to receive support and for the shelter to continue serving the Fox Cities.
In 2021, Appleton West High School officially opened the Lamers Family Foundation Launch Studio, a career center designed for students to connect with business leaders and serve as a resource center where approximately 30 to 100 students participate in the program each week.
Additionally, The Lamers Foundation, has raised over $550,000 for various children’s charities through the annual Lamers Racing Driving Experience event.
Denny was recognized by Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce Business Leader Hall of Fame, recognized for his outstanding leadership and impact to the Fox Cities region.
Denny will be remembered as a successful business leader and as a passionate community advocate, and while he spent most of his career shaping the world around him with physical buildings and by supporting organizations, his ability to build true community through his leadership, kindness and friendship will be deeply missed.
We will honor Denny’s legacy at McMahon by exemplifying the values that were so important to him – enhancing our relationships with others, striving for excellence in everything we do and helping to make changes that positively impact the quality of living, working together to build our communities.