MADISON, Wis.—Berntsen International, Inc. today announced a leadership transition that will guide the company on its path to continued growth and success.
After twenty-six years as Berntsen’s president, Rhonda Rushing will step out of the day-to-day operations and assume the title of CEO. Mike Klonsinski will move from the position of executive vice president to president.
“We’re fortunate to have the capable and trusted leadership of Mike Klonsinski, who has a great vision and strategy for moving the company forward,” Rushing said.
Klonsinski, who joined Berntsen in 2013, is the former CEO/executive director of the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a consulting firm that helps manufacturers become more competitive, a position he held for 13 years. He also served as director of the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) and of TMAC’s Office of Advanced Technology.
Berntsen’s investment in people and technology is driving its evolution from traditional manufacturing to creating innovative GIS solutions to manage underground infrastructure.
“Our vision is to be a leader in next-generation marking products,” Klonsinski said. “We see a very bright future for our connected marking products in the rapidly growing Internet of Things world.”
Adding connectivity to underground utilities is a game changer. Berntsen’s patented InfraMarker solution uses ultra-high frequency RFID, a mobile app and the cloud to precisely locate, monitor and manage underground assets. InfraMarker’s digital platform relays data, photos, videos and other documentation in real time via the cloud to company enterprise systems. Benefits to owners and managers of underground assets are lower costs, improved safety, enhanced compliance and better asset management.
Rushing’s New Role, Reflections
In her role as CEO, Rushing will continue to be involved in the company’s strategic direction and plans to drive growth and expansion. Berntsen is family-owned small business. Rushing’s father, Phillip Peterson, cofounded the company in 1972 with Peter Berntsen. Her husband Bill has served as vice president and was instrumental in developing InfraMarker.
The Rushings are passionate supporters of the U.S. and global surveying community and early adopters of smart marking technologies. In 2006, Rhonda Rushing published “Lasting Impressions,” an impressive 180-page compilation of photographs and stories about U.S. monuments shared by surveyors, engineers and history buffs. “It’s been important to me to know that we’ve played an important part in building, marking and maintaining our nation’s and the world’s infrastructure,” she said. “We published the book to highlight the important contributions surveyors have made throughout our history.”
Berntsen’s monuments and boundary markers are found in notable destinations around the world, including at the summit of Mount McKinley, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Walt Disney World, the London Underground, the Red Sea, Myanmar and the Wisconsin State Capitol.
Highlights of Rushing’s career include working on special projects with customers, including large federal agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Census Bureau. One memorable project was the commemorative brass marker to pinpoint the 2010 Center of Population, which was set in Plato, Missouri, in May 2011. Berntsen also consulted with the U.S. Army on the Iraqi Geospatial Reference System project to modernize the country’s surveying and mapping capabilities.
For more than 30 years, Berntsen has provided scholarships to students interested in surveying careers. In addition, Berntsen co-founder Phillip Peterson’s legacy created a significant endowment for the Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyor’s Foundation to fund future scholarships.
Berntsen enjoys an outstanding reputation among its customers, and over the years has focused on strategies to promote growth and competitiveness. Rushing is proud of her role in helping to build Berntsen’s culture of innovation and quality improvement, an effort that got underway in the 1990s. People often look at Berntsen and wonder how such a small company can accomplish so much, she said.
“Our focus on culture and quality made us the company we are today. We have outstanding employees; they have high productivity and work extremely well as teams. Our new smart marking products have challenged our people to change in major ways. They’re doing things they never would have dreamed of in their jobs and they’re doing them with great success,” Rushing said. “Working with these terrific people every day is what I’m going to miss most in my new role.”