Tom VanLoy has an extraordinary appreciation for history. More specifically, he values the people who have worked hard to get us where we are today.
His grandfather served in World War II, bravely protecting the freedom of our country from his post in the Philippines. This month, VanLoy and his wife plan to visit Pearl Harbor in honor of those who died in the conflict.
The Wabasso, MN, native pays a similar sense of appreciation and respect to everyone who’s influenced him – extended family, close friends and even his fellow employee-owners at Border States.
“Border States has done a lot for me, training me up and putting time, effort and money into my education,” says VanLoy, Border States Branch Operations Manager in St. Cloud, MN. “I appreciated that the company saw something in me when I walked through the door over 10 years ago.”
Truth be told, VanLoy didn’t plan on building a career with Border States. He admits that when he initially accepted a Warehouse Associate position in St. Cloud, he and his wife were mostly hoping to pay bills at the time.
But then opportunity knocked.
“I quickly moved up to Warehouse Supervisor and started the company’s Distribution Leadership Program,” says VanLoy, who studied at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN, and South Dakota State University in Brookings.
After mentoring with different employee-owners and graduating from the leadership program, VanLoy earned a Branch Manager position in Grand Forks, ND, gaining invaluable experience for two-and-a-half years before moving back home to St. Cloud. He’s thankful to work for a company that has invested in him.
“It’s an amazing feeling to know my company cares about me,” VanLoy says. “Just knowing that they want you to succeed is amazing. At the end of leadership training there is oftentimes an advancement opportunity waiting for you.”
Working with fellow employee-owners is VanLoy’s favorite part of the job. He enjoys teaching others what his mentors taught him.
“By training and educating other employee-owners, I want to give back what the company has done for me, helping them feel that same sense of success,” VanLoy says. “I like to see how people develop.”
When VanLoy started at Border States, we were an $800 million company. Today, we’re an approximately $2 billion company and growing. We own our success through hard work.
“We have high expectations as employee-owners,” VanLoy says. “It’s important to be invested in what your company becomes.”
VanLoy describes being an employee-owner as having the authority to make decisions, fix problems and help the customer. It also means being invested in your company’s success through an incredible employee stock-ownership plan (ESOP).
In addition to the financial rewards Border States offers through its ESOP, the company also has a very positive culture.
“Everyone is so welcoming and helpful. If you ever have questions or concerns, they’re addressed right away,” VanLoy says. “We have good people, and there’s a good mix of professionalism and fun all the way up the ladder.”
Employee-owners are truly there for one another. We consider ourselves a work family.
“Anyone here would be willing to give you the shirt off their back if you needed it,” VanLoy says.
Border States knows life happens, which is why work-life balance is key.
“If you have an appointment or need to take some personal time, it’s yours,” VanLoy says. “You won’t face any scrutiny. Management respects that you’ve earned your paid time, and there’s always good communication to make sure your responsibilities are covered.”
Anything is attainable at Border States. Work hard for what you want, and your future will be bright.
“When people ask me why I work at Border States, the answer is simple. Border States believes in you and invests in you through education and training,” VanLoy says. “When we hire a Warehouse Associate, we like to think we might be hiring a future CEO of the company. I truly believe that.”
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