VGM Group Named #1 Workplace in Iowa
posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 in Investor Highlights
Last Friday, September 13, 2019, the VGM Group Inc. brought home the award as the #1 Top Workplace in Iowa. CEO Mike Mallaro was named #1 ranked leader in the Large Company category, this award designation was based off employees' confidence in his leadership and vision for positioning our company for continued success. Congrats to the team at VGM and all your hard work!
Article below from the Des Moines Register
VGM Group is a company that helps businesses do business better, says CEO Mike Mallaro.
The employee-owned Waterloo company gets home-medical providers better deals on purchases, manages health care services, and provides commercial insurance, along with a host of other services.
"Our philosophy is 'one thing leads to another,'" said Mallaro, whose company employs about 1,000 people in Iowa and the nation.
"If we're working with a customer and find out they need something else, we just try to figure out if we can provide it," he said.
Employee-ownership is "the most important thing about our company," Mallaro said. Employees purchased VGM Group in 2008, the start of a national recession, and it helped the company survive the downturn, he said.
"It's the soul of who we are," Mallaro said. "Employees embrace it and do feel like owners. They act differently with customers. It's not just a job. It's their company."
Mallaro said VGM Group's seven-year goal is to double its workforce to 1,600 by 2024, and the company is on track to meet it.
Nearly all of the 25,000 companies VGM Group works with are outside of Iowa, and it ships a lot of equipment and products from northeast Iowa.
For example, VGM Groups ships 4 to 5 million CPAP masks for medical equipment providers from Waterloo and Nashville, Tennessee, making it the largest mask distributor in the United States.
VGM Group remains committed to Waterloo, the hometown of Van G. Miller, who founded the company in 1986, the CEO said.
Miller, who died in 2015, wanted to sell the company to employees because they helped the company succeed, Mallaro said.
"We don't have a tractor that we make that's better than anyone else's," he said. "We just have a service.
"We're trying to solve a problem for somebody," Mallaro said. "It's all about the people, and there are great people in Iowa."
VGM Group won a large customer because its people were located in Iowa, Mallaro said.
"We try to stress that one person can make a huge difference," Mallaro said. "It really matters to customers."
For example, a client might not be able to leave the hospital because of problems getting a ramp set up at his home.
"There might be 100 reasons why a ramp couldn't get set up, but if I (an employee) overcame all of them and that's guy going home to his family," he said. "He can start his recovery.
"You did that. Because you went the extra mile."
Q&A with VGM Group
Q: What’s one benefit or perk you offer that makes your workplace stand out?
A: As an employee-owned company, workers receive stock that grows as the business profits. "They do extremely well because of that," said CEO Mike Mallaro.
Q: What’s your biggest challenge in attracting qualified candidates?
A: With Iowa's low unemployment rate, finding employees, in general, is challenging. But finding tech workers is especially tough. A lot of new tech graduates "want to go to the big city. ... It's hard to attract them to Black Hawk County," Mallaro said.
Q: How do you show employees they are part of something meaningful?
A: With its "Be the Change" program, employees pick a charity to provide additional support. It committed $40,000 and 500 volunteer hours to the House of Hope, a transitional shelter for women. "They need money, but they also need people to come over and help too," Mallaro said. "And it's a good way for employees to bond."