Loyalty Propels Construction Business After Tragedy

Renaissance Precast co-founder aims to build on late husband’s legacy

Melissa and Russell Rieman started Renaissance Precast, a cast stone business, nearly 20 years ago.

Russell died in March after five months in the hospital, but Melissa, a busy community volunteer, is working to keep the business and his legacy going.

“I think we’re just taking it day by day right now, trying to figure out what that grief looks like and how we can manage it,” Melissa said. “For me, I want to make sure I honor him and the work that he did and put into the business and keep it going strong.”

The couple moved to University Park from Atlanta 19 years ago, and Russell, who’d already worked in the industry, decided to go into business for himself after the birth of their son.

I’m able to carry it on because he’s got a loyal group of employees and a loyal group of customers

Melissa Rieman

“My husband was really good with people and really built up a loyal base of customers before he passed away in March,” Melissa said. “I’m able to carry it on because he’s got a loyal group of employees and a loyal group of customers.”

Renaissance Precast creates cast stone products, including crown moldings, fireplace mantels, and surrounds, pedestals, columns, commercial signage, and more. Melissa credits word of mouth from customers and community support for the success.

She aims to grow the business by expanding further into commercial work.

When Russell was first hospitalized after a stroke in October of 2021, the family was hopeful he’d be able to return home after rehabilitation care, Melissa said.

She expressed thankfulness for the “amazing” support from family and friends during the last year.

FROM LEFT: RJ, Melissa, and Riley Rieman. PHOTO: Courtesy Melissa Rieman

Melissa was most recently named the city of University Park’s 2022 Citizen of the Year. Her community involvement has included volunteering with the PTAs for Bradfield Elementary and Highland Park High School while her children, RJ and Riley, attended. She also served as president of her son’s Young Men’s Service League group, treasurer on the board of the Children’s Medical Center Women’s Auxiliary, chair of the board for Fair Park, president of the Friends of the University Park Public Library, and on the city’s Centennial Master Plan Steering Committee. She also started the Raider Challenge fundraiser at Highland Park Middle School and the Scots Challenge fundraiser at the high school.

“Every organization that I’ve been involved with was great about stepping up and saying, ‘What can we do to help?’” she added. “They delivered food, but they also delivered love and support, prayers, and sincerely wanted to do something to make the situation better.”

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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