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Created In The Corridor

Created In The Corridor

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Created in the Corridor: Van Meter

Updated: Monday, December 30 2013, 08:06 AM CST

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - You could say that Van Meter, Inc. is wired in the fabric of the local community.  From its people to its purpose, it's a compnay committed to and "Created in the Corridor."

"It's a genuine excitement about being a part of the employee-owned culture."
"It's a family environment."
"We're passionate about the communities that we live in."
"It's exciting."

That's the culture at Van Meter, an 85-year-old Cedar Rapids-based distributor of everything electrical; from lighting to power transmission supplies.

Their building is essentially a clearinghouse for as many as 800 manufacturerss who rely on Van Meter for nationwide distribution.

CEO Kevin Powell says, "We take manufacturer's products, bring them in here, add value to them, and send them out."

Van Meter's fifty engineers advise customers on the most efficient use of the products. It's not just about hardware, it's about solutions.

"In any given year, we will take 7,000-plus phone calls from customers just in our engineering department to help solve their problems."

Van Meter solved a flood of problems after 2008, helping to restore the Paramount Theatre, the Linn County Courthouse and the new Convention Center, just to namea  few. The flood grew Van Meter's business by 20%, so the company donated as much back to the community.

They still give more than a quarter-million dollars a year.

According to Mick Slinger, Chief Financial Officer, "As importantly, we encourage and promote people to take time away from their job, paid time, to go support a charity that they're passionate about."

That's one reason why Van Meter has so many long-term employees.

Kathy Etscheidt has been here 54-years. She says, "You know we care about each other, we take care of each other and now that we're an ESOP company, we all have a part of the company."

Heather McDonald, Commodities Manager, says "What I do every day truly does make a difference. I know that and I know everyone else here knows that, too."

Van Meter now has 20 branch locations as it opens a brand new $10 million distribution center in Urbandale Thursday.

Created in the Corridor: Van Meter

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