Ralph J Kramer III (RJK), Owner and Senior Engineer of Kramer Engineers, loves to tell stories.  And although the topics vary, his favorites revolve around his family.  Over the years I have heard quite a bit about his dad and his kids.  So, I thought it would be interesting to share how the engineering side of the family got started.


Ben Kramer

How many Kramer’s does it take to install a boiler?  Well, I suppose it depends on the size of the boiler.  But on one snowy day this past December, it took two, Ralph and his son Ben.  Ralph had the rare opportunity to offer a hand to his son Ben Kramer, the owner of ON IT HEATING AND COOLING in Sand Lake Michigan.  Ben had a two man install job coming up, so he asked his dad for help.  “Year after year, I kept offering my assistance, but he never took me up on it,” Ralph said, “I guess I finally wore him down”.

Ben Kramer is the youngest of the Kramer sons.  And since the engineering apple didn’t fall far from the tree, he decided to go off to Ferris State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in HVACR Engineering Technology.  He then spent the next dozen years honing his craft and working his way up the ladder in the HVAC industry.

In 2019, he and his wife Kaelyn agreed that it was time to branch out on their own.  So, they launched ON IT HEATING AND COOLING; a company that specializes in heating, AC, air quality and smart home systems design and installation.


Ben’s big brother Brett Kramer couldn’t deny his family roots either. Brett graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering. Then he dove right into the family business as a staff engineer at Kramer Engineers. And like his father and grandfather before him, Brett started making his mark.

Brett Kramer

It wasn’t long before clients started taking notice and his book of business exploded.  Brett became a trusted project partner, designing projects for clients spanning the US from the Virgin Islands to Hawaii. Today, Brett Kramer, PE is not just a third generation Kramer Engineer, he’s the principal and senior project manager for the firm.  And although he is continuing the legacy that his grandfather started back in 1950, he’s vaulting the firm into the future with a more progressive vision.

But if you ask Brett what he’s passionate about, he’d tell you it used to be extreme sports. But now it’s his evening gig as husband and father to Megan and Madi.  “Used to be snowboarding or scuba diving, now I just can’t wait to see what happens in the next chapter of Mickey Mouse and the Haunted House”.


Ben and Brett’s dad Ralph J Kramer III (RJK) wasn’t the first engineer in the family. He made his decision to join the world of calculations and design after spending time at his dad’s engineering firm as a teen. So, after high school RJK went off to Purdue University and got his Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering.

Ralph J Kramer III

But that was during the 60s and 70s, the age of counterculture.  So, instead of jumping right into a 9-5 after graduation, RJK got his passport and boarded a plane to El Salvador instead. There he spent the next two years perfecting his Spanish and making his way in the Peace Corps.

Now, although his years abroad gave him the ability to experience the world, RJK was still a capitalist at heart.  So, in the end, he gave up his Birkenstocks, came back stateside, and enrolled at The Ohio State University where he earned a Master’s in Civil Engineering.  He joined his father’s firm and eventually moved into the role of lead engineer and sole proprietor of Kramer Engineers.


But where did it all start?   With Ben and Brett’s grandfather, Ralph J Kramer Jr., aka Pug.  He was the first of the Kramer’s to pursue the field of engineering.  I don’t know if engineering was always his dream.  But as the son of a shop owner, Ralph Jr knew he wanted something different.

So, he worked, and he saved.  And even when he was accepted to OSU, he still worked nights at a local gas station to make ends meet.  But he made it.  In December of 1943, Ralph Joseph Kramer Jr graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and joined the ranks of the white collar worker.

That was the beginning of a 4-decade run for Pug.  He started his own company in 1950 and eventually grew it into a 50-person firm.  They [the firm] engineered such Columbus landmarks as the Rhodes Office Tower, Columbus Convention Center & Ohio History Connection.  And let me tell you, that was no easy feat back then, because it was decades before computers and AutoCAD. So drawings were done by hand and calculations were done with an adding machine and slide rule.  But despite it all, Ralph J Kramer Jr not only put the firm on the map, but forged the start of a long line of Kramer Engineers. 

Hand Drawn Engineering Design