Exceptional Businesswomen 2016: Beth Kohlnhofer Raskovich has been part of the company for as long as she can remember
By Laura Adelmann
Beth Kohlnhofer Raskovich says it seems like she’s always been in the insurance business.
As a young girl, Beth would hold a tape measure while her father, Victor Kohlnhofer, founder of the Kohlnhofer Insurance Agency, sized up a house or building. She would stuff the Lakeville insurance agency’s gift calendars into envelopes to send to clients during Christmas time.
When she returned from college, Beth worked as in intern at the agency and “never looked back.”
She became a junior partner in 1985 and senior partner in 1995 when she and her brother, Jeff Kohlnhofer, purchased their father’s share of the business.
Victor died the following year, which was a sad time for Beth who said she hoped her father would stick around to impart more life and businesses lessons to his children.
She said the best decision she ever made was going into the industry in which she has served as manager (1989 to 1995) and president of Kohlnhofer Insurance for 21 years.
Through the years she has accomplished her goal of growing her father’s legacy in the business while continuing the strong service-minded company he started.
“I produce and build relationships with my clients,” she said. “I solve problems for my clients and help them to risk-manage their assets. I run my company so that all of us who work at the Kohlnhofer agency can be happy and successful.”
The independent office in the heart of downtown Lakeville has grown as the community’s population has increased rapidly over the years. Its clients reside not only in Dakota County but also throughout Minnesota and the United States as the company writes insurance in 26 states.
Even with that reach, Raskovich isn’t satisfied with their recent growth.
“I would like to double the size of my agency in 10 years through organic growth and acquisitions perhaps in other states,” Raskovich said.
To do that she said the business will have to overcome its biggest challenge, which is recruiting and retaining the best employees by offering competitive salaries, benefits and personal and professional growth opportunities.
“I think the most significant opportunity is to outshine our competition in service,” she said. “You will never get the phone answered with push 1 for this and 2 for that. Service – real service – has been left in the past in part because of technology. Technology is very important in
today’s business world, but you can’t sacrifice the human touch because of technology.”
Raskovich said her brother has been a great mentor since he offers a very different but complementary business style.
As the two have carried out their father’s mission, they’ve kept Kohlnhofer Insurance very involved in the community as a member of the Lakeville Area Chamber of Commerce and participating in the Bed Race for Bridging, Special Olympics, Taste of Lakeville and the Bus for Learning project through the Lakeville Area School District.
In 2002 Beth became the first woman president
of the Lakeville chamber, through which she has also served on the chamber’s board of directors, its foundation board and was chairwoman of the Fall Gala.
She has been a Hope for Tomorrow mentor, a Rotary member and a judge in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.
“I like giving back,” she said. “It is returned 10 fold. I am a very blessed person.”
Raskovich has become very attached to Lakeville as she said there really isn’t any other place she’d rather live. She appreciates the area’s great schools and amenities, beautiful green spaces and a bustling commerce.
She said raising her son, Blake, with her husband Brian has been her greatest accomplishment. She listed her husband as one of her great mentors since he keeps her grounded.
“You need to find balances in this world and my family, my wonderful husband, Brian, and my unbelievable great son, Blake, keep me balanced,” she said. “If you are happy and balanced, you are much more prepared to grow your business and your community in a much healthier and happier way for everyone.”
- On February 25, 2016