Incorporated: 1928 as Veit & Company, Inc.
Sales: $50 million (2000 est.)
NAIC: 23594 Wrecking and Demolition Contractors; 23593 Excavation Contractors; 562212 Solid Waste Landfills; 562219 Other Nonhazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal; 562211 Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal
Veit Companies is a privately owned corporation specializing in large scale earthwork, demolition, waste disposal, environmental abatement, and sewer reparation projects throughout the upper Midwest. Considered an industry leader in large-scale demolition and removal, Veit has completed contracts for numerous prominent projects, including the dismantling of civic arenas and sports stadiums and the destruction of some 150 Minuteman III missile silos in North Dakota under contract with the Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, subsidiary Veit Disposal Systems boasts one of the largest roll-off container operations in the United States and provides sanitation services and recycling in key metropolitan areas of Minnesota. Veit’s other subsidiaries include Veit Container Corporation, Veit Demolition Disposal, Veit Environmental, and Veit Utility.
From Family Farm to Family-Run Company
Few would have thought that in 1928, when Frank Veit began leasing his produce farm trucks to Hennepin County for their road construction projects, that it would mark the beginning of one of the largest excavating and demolition companies in the upper Midwest.
Frank Veit began Veit & Company, Inc. as a sideline to his produce farm. During the Depression of the 1930s the Veit family would supplement their income through lease agreements with Hennepin County, which encompassed Minneapolis and the western half of the Twin Cities metro area, for use of the family’s equipment. Like the Veit family farm, Veit’s corporate history is very much a family history as well.
In 1928, having purchased one Chevy dump truck specifically for construction work, Frank Veit founded the company. His son Arthur joined the operation in 1931. Arthur made Veit his life’s work and began to acquire more equipment throughout the 1930s. These were primarily trucks, but in 1941 Arthur purchased the company’s first excavating equipment and used it primarily for small residential and commercial development projects. The projects were local initially but as the company grew so did the area that it served. Construction was at a peak in the following decade and Veit Companies (as it was eventually named), in addition to its new role in excavation, served the region by hauling construction equipment to job sites.
The expansion of the company led to a more permanent shop in Brooklyn Park in 1946, and in keeping with the conservative family ethic, many of the materials used in that construction were recycled from a demolition project with which the company was involved.
Coinciding with the rapid growth of the 1940s Veit made its focus the earthwork contracting needed to build subdivisions and the many municipal streets that now line the northern suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. With the Great Depression of the 1930s well out of the way and the economic expansion that followed World War II, Veit Companies grew steadily. The demand for new housing was spurred by a growing population and an overall sense of economic well-being.
In the mid-1950s Vaughn Veit, Arthur’s only son, began to work for the company in the field. From general laborer, he moved up the ranks, experiencing most aspects of the company’s operations. It was at this time that the company began to purchase equipment that had not been previously used in the area. The first was a Caterpillar rubber-tired loader that proved more efficient than the track loaders then commonly in use. In 1960 Veit purchased its first low-boy tractor and, in 1969, its first Caterpillar articulated loader, steps that would help position Veit as a company of choice for large excavating and demolition jobs in Minnesota.
In the 1950s and 1960s many of the downtown buildings in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area had begun to fall into disrepair. This was an era when new construction, rather than restoration, appealed to city planners, and Veit was hired to demolish significant numbers of older buildings and warehouses dotting the cityscape.
Seven years after he had begun working in the family company, Vaughn Veit was given a management role, and then promoted to president of the company in 1966. In 1975 Arthur retired from his role as chairman and CEO and Vaughn bought the company. Vaughn’s strategy was and continued to be one of expansion.
The growth of the Twin Cities metro area led many businesses to evaluate the placement of their company operation centers and Veit was no exception. In 1958 Veit had moved its shop to the northwest suburb of Osseo, building its first landfill operation there; then, in 1981, the company moved its headquarters further west to Rogers, Minnesota. Strategically located between the Twin Cities metro area and the city of St. Cloud, Veit was thus allowed to play a more significant role in the future of greater Minnesota and surrounding areas.
The 1990s: Rapid Diversification
In 1990 Don Rachel was appointed president of Veit Companies. Vaughn Veit remained as chairman and CEO, leaving many of the day to day operations to Rachel. Under Vaughn Veit and Don Rachel’s leadership the company branched out into new areas related to its earthwork and demolition, creating a family of companies under the Veit logo.
In 1990 Vaughn Veit saw an opportunity for expansion and launched Veit Disposal Systems (VDS). VDS began with one truck and 30 container boxes and expanded to more than 45 trucks and 1,500 containers. In 1996 Veit grew its Twin Cities sanitation services with the addition of Disposal Systems, Inc.
In 1998, Veit continued the expansion of VDS with the acquisition of Adams Roll-Off Container in Rochester, Minnesota. The addition of Adams allowed Veit to enlarge its service area into the Rochester/Austin market, where Adams already had a large customer base.
Veit’s disposal division grew substantially and was now operating in the St. Paul/Minneapolis, St. Cloud, and Rochester/ Austin sales areas. A new start-up operation in the Duluth/Superior area in 1999 began with two trucks and 60 boxes.
The increase in customers led the company to develop two new landfills. To keep up with demand, VDS opened landfills in Big Lake, Minnesota, in 1993, and Austin, Minnesota, in 1998. In addition to its waste disposal, VDS concentrated its efforts in recycling as well. At Veit’s Rochester facility, recyclables were sorted and compacted and then temporarily stored at the building. Veit took pride in its recycling record: “70% of construction/demolition debris,” was, according to the company,”recycled or reduced with the remainder going to Veit’s demolition debris landfill near Austin, Minnesota.”
Veit, through its work on a series of demolition projects, gained a regional reputation for demolishing and clearing away antiquated sports stadiums. The Memorial Stadium at the University of Minnesota was the first notable sports facility that Veit tore down and disposed of. Then, in 1995, Veit razed the Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, which became home to the internationally known Mall of America. In 1999 the demolition of the St. Paul Civic Center with its River Centre Arena was also tackled by Veit. In the case of the St. Paul Civic Center, Veit was awarded contracts to tear down the Center, and to do the earthwork for the new Excel Energy Center, which would be home to the National Hockey League expansion team the Minnesota Wild.
In 1998 Veit Companies began a $3.9 million earthwork project for the city of Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Water Works needed to expand its water reserves and called upon Veit to excavate a 40-million gallon, 450-foot by 432-foot reservoir on a hilltop site in New Brighton. The hilltop site was at the highest elevation in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, which in case of a water emergency would allow gravity to take the water to the city’s customers. The completion of the new water storage facility increased water supplies by 30 percent for well over half a million water works customers.
Larger Projects, Greater Capabilities: Late 1990s-Early 2000s
Although best known for its work with sports arenas, Veit in the late 1990s oversaw a broad spectrum of demolition jobs. On October 6, 1999, Veit began to fulfill a $12.1 million contract for the implosion of 150 Minuteman III missile silos just outside Langdon, North Dakota. This historic three-year project included the permanent destruction of the launch facilities and the standby power facilities connected to the silos. These underground control centers were imploded and the debris was buried and sealed with concrete slabs. Operating under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the Air Force had begun compliance with the treaty in 1994, moving the missiles from the silos near Langdon in 1995.
The completion date of the Minuteman silo demolition was scheduled for the end of 2001, in compliance with the terms of the treaty. As with all of Veit’s projects, a good number of salvageable materials were hauled away to be recycled at Veit’s demolition disposal site in Austin, Minnesota.
Veit Companies is a third generation progressive company that originated in 1928 and has built its reputation on quality workmanship and services. Our mission is to provide our clientele with the most competitive advantage by delivering quality construction services of unmatched value.
Veit Environmental first appeared under the Veit umbrella of companies in 1999. Due to a growing area of public health concern, Veit created its environmental agency to provide abatement services for problem materials such as asbestos, lead, and mold. Many public and private buildings still harbored such hazardous materials and the demand for services appeared to be expanding with what some epidemiologists interpreted as an increased environmental sensitivity in the population. Legislative enactments were leading to mandated removal of hazardous materials in public spaces and Veit predicted a lucrative future in the abatement industry.
Another growing field related to Veit’s earthwork business was in the geotechnical arena, specifically in the construction and repair of storm sewers and water mains. Veit acquired Solidification in the fall of 1999. Solidification, a specialty grouting and concrete plumbing company, had been operating in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for over three decades. Making use of sophisticated developments in the area of robotics, Solidification used video components and robotic technology to repair damaged sewers and pipelines. These aging water systems were leaking and causing contamination to city water supplies and, in the case of sewer systems, contaminated ground water. Veit believed its acquisition of Solidification would capture a large market share of this growing industry.
In 2000 Veit began working on concurrent projects in downtown Minneapolis at the Conservatory, the old Minnegasco building, the Federal Reserve building, and the Old Milwaukee depot. Entering a new century, Veit continued as a well recognized name in the construction and demolition industries. It was well diversified, having adapted to meet new opportunities for growth within its areas of expertise. Veit seemed well placed to be a strong competitor in its region, providing both equipment and services that would meet the challenges of some of the largest jobs the area had to offer. While there were many smaller contractors capable of providing services on a lesser scale, Veit stood out among its peers as a leader in both the range of services it could deliver and the magnitude of the jobs it was able to complete.
Veit Disposal Systems; Veit Container Corporation; Veit Environmental; Veit Demolition Disposal; Veit Utility.
Carl Bolander & Sons; Zenith Kremer Recycling and Disposal; Watson’s Rochester Disposal; Abatement Services; Environmental Control Inc.; Jacobsen Excavating and Trucking Company; Container Service; Quality Disposal; Herbst & Sons Demolition Co. Inc.
- Frank Veit founds Veit & Company, Inc.
- Arthur Veit, Frank’s son, joins the company.
- Frank Veit dies.
- Arthur Veit purchases first excavating equipment.
- Vaughn Veit, Arthur’s son, begins working at Veit Companies.
- Vaughn Veit takes over as president; Arthur remains as chairman and CEO.
- Arthur retires; Vaughn Veit purchases the company and becomes chairman and CEO.
- Company establishes new headquarters in Rogers, Minnesota.
- Company launches Veit Disposal Systems (VDS); Don Rachel is appointed president.
- Veit Utility, specializing in sewer construction, storm sewers, and water mains, is formed; Veit Environmental is created to provide asbestos, lead, and mold abatement services.
Bartemio, Nicholas, “The Wild Arrival; New Arena for The Minnesota Wild Hockey Team,” Demolition, January/February 1999.
“End of an Era; Minuteman III Missile Silos Go Out with a Bang in North Dakota,” Construction Bulletin Magazine, November 5,1999.
“Growing from the Ground Up,” Veit Vibes, Spring 2000.
“Series III, Conquers Downtown Demolition,” Attachment Briefings, Summer 1998.
“Site Preparation: The Campaign for Rebuild Academy Project Celebrates Actual Start of Construction at Blaine, Minn., Site,” Construction Bulletin Magazine, January 16, 1998.
Thomley, Stew, “New Reservoir; Construction Actively Kick’s into High Gear at the City of Minneapolis’ Hilltop Reservoir Site,” Construction Bulletin Magazine, May 15,1998.
—Susan B. Culligan
"Veit Companies." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 20, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/veit-companies
"Veit Companies." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved January 20, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/veit-companies
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