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There’s a new Griesemer at the helm of the reclaimed underground limestone mine.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
There’s a new Griesemer at the helm of the reclaimed underground limestone mine.

CEO Griesemer retires from Springfield Underground

Posted online

Longtime President and CEO Louis Griesemer is retiring from his family’s Springfield Underground Inc., and another Griesemer was named his successor.

According to a news release announcing both moves, the Springfield Underground board of directors appointed John F. Griesemer to the top post, effective Jan. 1. 

Louis, who’s worked for the family business since the late 1970s and as president since 1994, will continue to serve as chairman of the board. John, the current vice president and chief operating officer, is Louis’ nephew and represents the third generation of Griesemer family members running the company that manages 2.5 million square feet of warehouse and data storage 100 feet below ground in northeast Springfield.

“John has been a driving force behind our growth since he came on board,” Louis said of John joining the company in 1990, in the release. “He has overseen the construction of over 1.3 million square feet of underground warehouse space, run our third-party logistics business, and has worked in the limestone mining business from running the equipment to being on the board of the national association. The company is in very capable hands.”

With an industrial management degree from Purdue University, John will lead the company’s other brands in addition to the commercial real estate at Springfield Underground: Westside Stone, a limestone mine in northwest Springfield; the Joplin Stone limestone quarry; Cold Zone, a public warehouse for frozen and refrigerated food; and The Frisco Building, an office building located at Chestnut Expressway and U.S.  Highway 65.

“I look forward to helping write the next chapter in our company’s long history,” John said in the release. “We have a precedent of evolving the company to meet the needs of our markets, and as I look forward we have tremendous opportunities to continue to grow and innovate, backed by a strong team of employees.”

Two years ago, the company completed its 70-year mining operation in northeast Springfield, which had cleared 31 million tons of limestone. The latest focus, officials said at the time, is working to development some 3.6 million square feet cleared for prospective tenants.

Tenants have included food companies Kraft Heinz Co., Dairy Farmers of America, Associated Wholesale Grocers and Hiland Dairy, as well as the Bluebird Underground data center. 

John’s grandfather, Joe Griesemer, started Griesemer Stone in 1946 and grew it into Springfield Underground. John is the son of John N. Griesemer, who also worked in the business with Joe.

The board met and voted on the transition Oct. 23, said Springfield Underground CFO and board member Christina Angle. Other board members are Margaret Duncan, formerly with PricewaterhouseCoopers; William Gipson, retired CEO of Empire District Electric Co.; D. Randy Laney, retired chairman of Empire District Electric Co.; and Wayne Callahan, senior adviser of Vestar Capital Partners.

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