An American success story 85 years in the making.
By Michael Davis
In 1928, Frank Veit started Veit & Company with a Chevrolet truck and a handful of employees. Today, backed by more than 500 employees and their fleet of 230 custom green Chevrolet vehicles, the company is one of the country’s largest specialty contracting and waste management companies operating in the Midwest.
Recently a production crew captured a rare opportunity to film a Veit project, the deconstruction of an ore dock in northern Wisconsin, as part of the GM Fleet & Commercial “Stories From the Road” series. The crew was extremely fortunate to be on one of Veit’s most challengingly unique and unforgiving jobsites.
From the mid-1800s through the turn of the century, ore docks began rising from the shores of the Great Lakes. First wood then steel and cement—they grew larger and stronger. Hundreds of thousands of tons of rich iron ore deposits were mined and delivered via rail to these docks. From there, the ore would be loaded into large ships that would deliver the ore for further processing. As the surrounding mines were depleted, the ore docks fell silent. Years of neglect and harsh northern weather made these massive structures a serious safety hazard. Many simply had to come down for the good of the community.
Ryan Olsen, superintendent of Veit’s demolition projects, explained that placing thousands of pounds of heavy demo equipment on top of a 100-year-old ore dock that sticks a quarter-mile out into Lake Superior and rises 90 feet above the water isn’t something you do every day.
It’s on these unique sites that Veit finds the greatest reward. The company prides itself in being able to take on jobs that, according to Veit President Greg Boelke, “not everybody can do.”
Vaughn Veit, third-generation owner and CEO, who owns a 1928 Chevy truck similar to his grandfather’s first truck, is rather proud of the 85-year history between Veit and Chevrolet.
As he stares through the remaining portion of the ore dock in northern Wisconsin, Vaughn reflects on the company’s past, present, and future. “I don’t think my grandfather would believe what we’ve evolved into from just one truck.”