Client Interview: Meritex

Posted on December 7, 2017

Interview with Arvid Povailaitis and Dan Ward of Meritex

Our Charlotte Industrial team first connected with The Meritex Company when Matt Wagner, director of acquisitions for Meritex, reached out to us during his underwriting of the CLT Logistics Center acquisition. At that time, Meritex was on the cusp of celebrating their 100-year anniversary. The prospect of working with a century-old, family-owned company with such strong core values was perhaps more encouraging than the business itself. We quickly bonded with the Meritex team and their company culture. We have worked with Meritex as their leasing and management provider in Charlotte for the past year. In that short time, our appreciation for their culture and way of doing business has only gotten stronger. They are where we want to be in 90 years. Simply put, there couldn’t be a better inspiration than a client like Meritex to propel us down the right path.

Foundry Commercial: Foundry and Meritex’s mission and values feel very similar when it comes to people and relationships. In your words, how would you describe the relationship between Foundry and Meritex?

Dan Ward: Our company cultures align through values and way of doing business. Foundry is customer focused and hands on. Operating with a rather flat organizational structure, they have the flexibility to make quick decisions without having to go up the chain to get things done, which is very similar to how we operate. We found that characteristic to be very appealing and it has worked well in our day-to-day operations. When someone has a question, a simple phone call or email and we get a response quickly to keep the ball moving forward. 

FC: Congratulations on celebrating 100 years as a company! With Foundry Commercial celebrating our 10-year anniversary, what are some wise words you would pass to a company to make it to that 100-year milestone?

Arvid Povilaitis: I think it’s all about core values and keeping that at the center of all that you do. We recently articulated our core values in a more formal manner, however it’s something that has existed within the company since the beginning: 1. Relationships Matter, 2. Create Beneficial Outcomes, 3. Think Ahead, 4. Always Accountable. Those are the pillars of our company and the reason we’ve been around for so long. The markets can change, the economic environment can change, competitors change and how you compete within those markets can change – but the core values keep the company focused on a longer term. That is a large part of our success and why many of our employees have been with the company for so long. The average Meritex employee has been with the company for 15 years. I’ve been with Meritex for 12, Dan recently celebrated his 20th. Our director of IT retired in July after work for Meritex for 44 years. Our current CEO, Paddy McNeely, first started as an intern at the company when he was 16 years old. We’ve had people here for a very long time and they are the foundation of who we are and what Meritex represents. 

FC: Sharing stories of your clients is obviously important to Meritex. Is there a story in particular about Foundry Commercial that stands out to you through our relationship?

DW: In one of our final meetings interviewing Foundry, I walked in with a light blue shirt and Ben Hullender walked in wearing the exact same color shirt. It was a “this is meant to be” type of moment. In a way, we were so aligned that the asset manager and property manager were wearing the same colored shirt. Everyone had a big laugh. 

AP: Similarly, last August we had a tenant customer appreciation event at CLT Logistics Center. Fully equipped with a bean bag toss and a photo booth with fun props, the event was a huge success. With participation from both Meritex and Foundry, the comradery was evident and contagious. We had a great turnout and there was an incredible sense of community.

FC: What company principals have allowed Meritex to maintain its culture for over a century?

AP: Paddy McNeely, is the grandson of Harry McNeely, who founded the company in 1916 in Saint Paul, MN. Since its inception, Meritex has been family-owned, maintaining a long-term generational outlook. Paddy, a member of G3 (third generation), along with his fellow siblings have engaged the G4 family members, keeping many of them engaged in the business. The McNeely family members are the core owners and drivers of what keeps everyone together.

DW: If you ask anyone in the company what one word would describe Meritex, most would say the word “family.”

FC: Given the Meritex philosophy of strong partnerships with its tenants, what attributes do you look for in third party service providers in unstaffed markets? How did Foundry align with these attributes?

AP: We were looking for a company that could be an extension of Meritex. When Foundry presents themselves in the market on our behalf, they are not only recognized as Foundry Commercial, but as a part of Meritex. We chose Foundry because they reflect the same values and principles as we do. Those values and principles are then passed on, cultivating and maintaining the best service for our customers.