A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Torch is passed to second generation of builders from their fathers, Bill Kreutzjans Sr and John Yeager

Bill Kreutzjans, Jr. and Jason Yeager, sons of two of the men who founded and operated Ashley Builders Group for 43 years, are formally taking over corporate operations of the Edgewood-based construction and development company in 2019.

The two will jointly operate the company, with Bill Kreutzjans Jr. overseeing the commercial division and Jason Yeager running the residential division. John Yeager started the company in 1976 and brought in Bill Kreutzjans Sr. and Paul Bogenschutz as partners a few years later.

John Yeager and Bill Kreutzjans Sr. say the transition is something both men have been anticipating since their sons, who both started working for the company as teenagers, have worked their way up through various jobs at the company into their current positions.

Early beginnings of Ashley Builders Group

John Yeager started Ashley Builders Group in his home on Ashley Drive in Edgewood in 1976. John, a graduate of the University of Kentucky, served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force for six years followed by work as a contractor liaison with the Pease Company. Yeager was building and developing residential properties in 1983 when he first met Bill Kreutzjans Sr., then working as the city engineer, building inspector, and zoning administrator for the City of Edgewood.

Bill Kreutzjans Jr.

“I met Bill when I was doing residential development work in Edgewood and he was the engineer and inspector there,” John Yeager said. “Unlike some of the older developers who didn’t like city officials telling them what to do, I liked it when Bill reviewed my plans or made suggestions because he always made my projects better.”

The elder Kreutzjans comes from a family of builders. His father, George, built many of the homes in Fort Wright and other Northern Kentucky cities. The second-generation builder obtained his undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in structural engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After stints in the Peace Corps building schools in Pakistan and doing commercial and multi-family residential development work in Boston, Kreutzjans returned to Kentucky in 1973 to head up Corporex’s operations in Louisville. He left Corporex after a few years to go to work for the City of Edgewood, where he would have more flexibility in raising his children as a single parent.

Growth Ashley in Northern Kentucky and Southwestern Ohio

After Kreutzjans Sr. and Bogenschutz joined Yeager at Ashley, the company expanded its services beyond building single-family homes and doing remodeling work to include multifamily residential development, commercial, and office development projects. It also expanded its footprint from serving primarily the Northern Kentucky market to undertaking numerous construction and development projects in Southwest Ohio.

Over the past 10 years, Ashley has been a leader in developing and managing about 640,000 square feet of urban residential-commercial-office projects in downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s river cities.

The company has completed multiple urban-redevelopment projects in downtown Cincinnati, including The Reserve at 4th & Race, Newberry Lofts, and The Derby on Plum. Among its projects in Northern Kentucky are the Mutual Building and Doctors Building, which are mixed-use residential/commercial/office redevelopment projects in downtown Covington, and the CitiView development, St. Anthony Lofts, and Kent Lofts multifamily residential projects in Bellevue.

The company also has completed a number of custom-built, single-family homes and townhouse developments in the suburbs of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, including new homes in Anderson Township, Glendale, and Landen as well as new residential communities in Villa Hills, Edgewood, Florence, Fort Wright, Fort Thomas, and Fort Mitchell.

Jason Yeager

Ashley’s Sanctuary project in Villa Hills, which was approved last year, will be a $140-million development of single-family homes and townhomes ranging from $300,000 to $1 million on real estate overlooking the Ohio River, which was previously owned by the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery. The company’s Ashley Oaks project in Fort Mitchell is a smaller development of custom homes off of Highland Avenue, which are expected to sell for between $550,000 and $800,000.

Continuing commitment to quality

The two men who are filling the large shoes of their fathers have worked at Ashley for a long time.

Kreutzjans Jr. started working at Ashley when he was 15 years old as a finish carpenter. After receiving his undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering from Clemson University, he worked for a couple years in the construction business in Austin, Texas before returning to the family business in 1998.

As president of the commercial division, which he has run since 2010, he oversees all residential, commercial, and mixed-used development projects as well as general contracting services provided to third parties.

“It’s a privilege to be the third generation to carry on a family tradition of providing top-quality building and development services in the Greater Cincinnati area,” Kreutzjans said. “Jason and I are fortunate to have inherited a family-owned company with a strong reputation for quality workmanship and customer service.”

Jason Yeager has worked at Ashley for more than 25 years. After attending the University of Kentucky, where he played college tennis, and one year on the professional tennis circuit, Jason returned home to work in the family business.

Through the years, Jason has worked through various supervisory roles at Ashley, including director of sales, marketing, and planning of new residential communities. His current position as president of the residential division involves overseeing construction of custom homes and townhomes, remodeling work, and residential development projects. Like his father, Jason has helped promote the homebuilding industry through his service as president of the Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky.

Both men see Ashley Builders Group continuing to grow its reputation and footprint in the Greater Cincinnati market for years to come.

“Bill Jr. and I are really fortunate to work with an experienced staff of veteran homebuilders and contractors, some of whom have been here since our dads started the company,” the younger Yeager said. “We are extremely fortunate to have such an exceptional team and strong foundation to further build on the success of our fathers.”

Bill Kreutzjans Jr. agreed.

“Ashley Builders Group is a well-established, well-respected, and well-run company, thanks to the hard work that our fathers and our team have put in over the past 43 years,” he said. “Jason and I hope to continue to build on that strong reputation, and who knows, maybe our kids may want to continue the family tradition when that time comes.”

Related Posts

Leave a Comment