To Tom Vandehey, it wasn't a tough decision, despite challenging economic conditions, for his company to become the 2012 ultimate sponsor of Furniture & ApplianceMart's Fore a Cure golf event in Wausau.
Mid-State Truck Service, an International Truck dealership with seven locations in Wisconsin, has long been involved in this Marshfield Clinic event, but being the ultimate sponsor put their commitment into high gear.
"We talked about how times are tight and we have facilities to invest in," he said of meeting with his brother and company president, Jon Vandehey. "But we wanted to step up and be a champion."
Mid-State Truck was happy to join their friends, the Fonti family, whose business, Furniture & ApplianceMart, is a good customer of Mid-State Truck. Fore A Cure is an event that benefits Marshfield Clinic's Mobile Mammography services and juvenile diabetes care at the Clinic. In nine years, the event has raised nearly $900,000, including $134,242 in 2012.
The Catherine Fonti Breast Cancer Angel Fund was established by the Fonti family in honor of Catherine, who had breast cancer. Its purpose is to assist women who cannot afford mammograms. The Catherine Fonti fund provides approximately 100 mammograms per year to women, and the Mobile Mammography Unit screens around 3,500 women per year. The additional funding for the juvenile diabetes care programs was inspired by Vince Fonti III, who was diagnosed with diabetes at age 8.
"We've known the Fonti family for many years," Tom Vandehey said. "They are a great second-generation family business, like ours, with many similarities. And breast cancer and diabetes have been on our radar for years." Mid-State has been a primary sponsor of the event since its beginning.
"We know that breast cancer has affected so many lives, and mammography is extremely important in screening for it," he noted. Marshfield Clinic's Mobile Mammography units make it possible for women in rural areas to have access to this screening technology.
Tom Vandehey is the public face of the Company, willing to jump in wherever he sees the need. One of his more visible roles has been as president of the Women's Community in Wausau, a non-profit organization serving victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. He recently chaired the building committee which oversaw construction of a new, $3.4-million facility, completed under budget.
The company's other involvements in the Wausau and Marshfield communities are too many to list here but include significant contributions to United Way, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics, Hope Lodge and House of the Dove.
Charitable contributions fit with the company's belief in staying local whenever they can. They work with local suppliers when possible rather than large national companies, to keep dollars working in their communities and supporting local jobs.
"We're a locally owned, second-generation company," he explained. "Many of our customers tell us they want to do business with someone local. We truly try to give back to the community, more than people realize," Vandehey said. Marshfield Clinic embraces that philosophy as well, as a local organization with more than 50 locations throughout northern and central Wisconsin.
Tom's involvement also includes being a Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce ambassador for four years and serving on the boards of Marathon County United Way, Associated Bank (Advisory Board), Wausau Country Club, president of the Wausau West Side Business Association, and the Wisconsin Auto and Truck Education Association.
About Mid-State Truck Service
Mid-State Truck Service was founded by Frank Vandehey in 1965, in a small building in downtown Marshfield. They moved in 1972 to a 50,000-square-foot facility on Marshfield's south side.
Mid-State currently has locations in Wisconsin Rapids, Plover, Wausau, Abbotsford, Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls. They are planning a new facility in Eau Claire.
The company is a family business now owned and operated by Frank's two sons, Jon and Tom Vandehey.
From the beginning, the company has sold and serviced the International Truck brand. It's a business that has changed dramatically over the years, with customers demanding trucks with lighter weights, increased reliability and fuel mileage, all while producing fewer emissions. Gross sales have steadily increased as well, and should reach $140 million for 2012.
Mid-State also represents Idealease, a truck leasing business, and holds the school bus franchise for the entire state of Wisconsin. Tom has been on the Idealease Board of Directors for the past 12 years, while serving as Chairman in 2011-2012. Idealease has 420 locations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Mid-State employs more than 200 people, with many having significant tenure. More than 50 employees have been there 10 or more years. "Having that experienced, well trained workforce differentiates us from our competition, Vandehey said.