Ring-O-Matic, a locally owned and well-recognized supplier to the underground construction and soft excavation industries, is a small company with big aspirations.

While the company only employs about 70 to 75 individuals, they supply a significant number of domestic and international multi-line dealers with quality industrial vacuum excavation machines, vac only machines and car wash pit cleaners. These machines can perform multiple duties, including but not limited to car wash pit cleaning, oil spill cleanup, treatment plant cleaning and hydro excavation.

“Our mission is to make a significant difference to the employees and customers through the delivery of quality products that exceed customer expectations and provide profitable growth, which creates new opportunities for the employees of Ring-O-Matic and the charitable foundation,” said CEO Brian Metcalf.

The company was founded 59 years ago by Bill Van Zante and originally focused on agricultural, entrepreneurial and custom machine designs. Van Zante and his team developed several patents, including a hog-ringing device, conveyor parts and trowels for cement finishing. Van Zante led the company to many industry firsts, including low-profile, load balanced trailer mounted vacuum excavation machines, a pneumatic load-breaker to break up sediment in the collection tank, pressurized collection tank off-loading and the patented Cyclo Jet Pothole Excavator tool.

Today, the company mainly focuses on car wash pit cleaners and vacuum excavation machines. They not only thrive in manufacturing their product, but also the way in which they care for their employees. Human Relations Manager Lori Forsythe highlighted the importance of work and life balance and being family-oriented.

“Here, everyone is somebody,” added Sales and Marketing Manager Tony Bokhoven. “When other companies talk about being family-oriented, that’s a holistic statement. Whereas here, it’s truly about our employees and impacting their families directly. I think that’s something very unique in a smaller company.”

Even though they are a smaller company, Metcalf mentioned they’ve doubled in size over the past few years. Employees are not assigned to one job, but have the chance to learn multiple skills. Because of their size and multi-faceted skill set, the company is able to be more flexible and creative compared to bigger companies.

“We are very specific when it comes to specialized utility construction,” said Metcalf. “If you need to move material safely and efficiently, think of us as a big shop vac.”

Recently, the company has been reaching out and becoming more involved with the community by offering engineering, marketing and sales internships through Central College. They are also participating in Thursday Nights in Pella and with the Pella Area Community and Economic Alliance.

“Ultimately, we want to continue to provide opportunities for our community and local folks,” said Bokhoven.

Emily Hawk is a staff writer for the Pella Chronicle. Reach her by email at ehawk@pellachronicle.com.

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