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Maximizing Employees’ Community Impact

When Cincinnati-based Messer Construction Co. was purchased by its employees in 1990, investing in the community became not only a vital piece of the corporate culture, but also a catalyst for revenue growth—increasing from $100 million to more than $830 million in the past 22 years.

Messer Construction has nine offices spanning five states. The firm has invested more than $13.8 million over the years to help make its communities better places to live and work, including $1.6 million in 2013 alone.

Through the Messer Foundation (founded in 2005) and events benefiting local organizations, the company donates grants and time to local food banks, youth groups and more. In 2013, more than 40 employee-recommended organizations applied for a grant from Messer and four were selected: Hearing Speech and Deaf Center of Greater Cincinnati, Boys & Girls Club of Kentuckiana, Columbus Collegiate Academy and Thompson Child & Family Focus.

 In addition, the company annually recognizes one employee per region with a Community Service Award. The company then provides a financial contribution to an organization of the award winner’s choice.

Messer Construction also gives back through regional events organized by employees. For example, during a Knoxville Canstruction event, more than 10,000 cans of food were donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank and distributed to 18 counties across East Tennessee.

“Our employees offer a variety of talents, expertise and resources, so investing those back into the Knoxville community can be of great benefit to its long-term health and vibrancy,” says Messer Senior Vice President Allen Begley. “The nature and setup of this Canstruction event allowed our employees, along with people from other companies, organizations and schools, to use their strengths to impact communities throughout east Tennessee on a number of different levels.”

Employees also found a way to give back in a community where they’ll be working on a project for the next three years. At Ohio State University, 10 Messer employees from the Columbus region unloaded cars and managed traffic to help ease the process of moving almost 10,000 students into the school’s residence halls.

“Move-in day on any college campus can get quite frenzied, so offering a few extra helping hands was the least we could do,” says Messer Vice President and Columbus Region Leader Rob Verst. “These folks have kindly welcomed us onto their campus for three years, so gaining familiarity with them and showing our appreciation is very important to us.”

In the Indianapolis region, 21 Messer employees joined a local Habitat for Humanity project, volunteering more than 300 hours of work. The team was able to work side by side with the family and turn over the house in just a few months.

“Our employees bring a number of strengths to the table, and quite a few of those strengths center on building,” says Messer Vice President and Indianapolis Region Leader Steve Bestard. “Habitat for Humanity fits very well with those strengths, as we’ve found it to be among the most effective ways for us to uniquely impact the community.”

Adds Messer President and CEO Tom Keckeis: “Being employee-owned drives us to bring aboard employees who impact others not only at the workplace, but also around the community. While it takes only a fraction of our company to construct a building, our impact in the community is maximized when each of our 900-plusemployees is invested.”
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