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Merit Ontario provides two decades of resources, insights and value to southern Ontario contractor Nith Valley Construction (2008) Ltd. – New Hamburg

Monday, June 17th, 2013 3:01pm

Frojm The Ontario Construction Report

Operating primarily in southern Ontario, Nith Valley Construction (2008) Ltd. began in 1952 as Don Riehl Construction, grew from a small masonry contractor into a general contractor, and now takes on projects from $1 to $15 million. Currently under the direction of Ron Roeder and Bob Zehr, the company is continuing its evolution and will likely rebrand once again as a current partner plans his retirement. "I started with the company in 1973," says Roeder. "We've gone through several incorporations over the years as old partners leave and long-term employees fill those ownership positions." Roeder says one reason for this ownership model is the company's commitment to remaining an open shop business. "As an open shop, management has a more direct relationship with the employees," he said. "If we have issues or they have concerns we work together to resolve them. It builds a cohesion and unity in the company so when we are looking forward at people retiring, there are people ready to step in who are already committed to and invested in the company." Over the past 20 years Nith Valley has developed an expertise in hospital work and in this, maintaining its open shop status has also been beneficial. "We have the experience with the health and safety and infection control these jobs require," Roeder said. "Most of these jobs tend to be handled by open shop contractors so maintaining that status as well keeps us competitive. If we were union, the higher fees would make us uncompetitive." The business has belonged to Merit Ontario for 20 years. He says he appreciates the association's support. "Our employees get some pressure from the unions and it's nice to have Merit's support and the resources to understand what's going on." Understanding there is strength in numbers, Roeder appreciates that Merit is the only organization representing the open shop contractors with the government. "I'm a board member so I hear what is happening on the political side and have a better understanding myself of what is happening throughout the industry. I have a hard time understanding why so many contractors don't see this value and need." While many contractors say they have been attracted to Merit initially for its comprehensive employee benefits program, Roeder says in his company's 20 year history with the association, his business has found value in other Merit programs and services. "Over the years we've used their literature, supervisory training courses, legal resources, and are just looking at the benefit option for the first time. There is a lot of value in belonging to Merit."


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