Jim Cleary, CEO
Customer Service. Integrity. Innovation. Dedication. Quality. These are the core values that define President Jim Cleary and the MWI family.
Millard Wallace Ickes founded MWI 35 years ago in the back office of a Nampa, ID veterinary clinic. Today, the company has 1,400 employees working in 47 states with distribution centers in 13 states and the United Kingdom.
Cleary started with MWI in 1998 managing large accounts and became the President in 2000. An East Coast native, he came to the Boise Valley to work for Morrison Knudsen and its subsidiaries after college. While here, Cleary met and married his wife, a Boise native, something that only adds to his enthusiasm for the Boise Valley, the place he calls home.
His mindset and leadership of the company is focused on growth, organically and through acquisitions. “We have a very strong team here in the Boise Valley that has proven very capable of managing the growth and making the growth possible,” states Cleary, pointing to the core values, “almost everyone on our Executive Leadership Team has worked together for over 10 years”. This tenure and consistency, coupled with the five core values has MWI on track to increase revenues to $2 billion this fiscal year.
These values are evident throughout the organization voted as one of the Best Places to Work two years in a row. This aligns nicely with one of MWI’s strategic objectives to be the employer of choice in their industry (distribution of animal health products). MWI worked with the YMCA to create a Healthy Living Center in the corporate office building. The YMCA helped with facility design, equipment purchases and offers wellness classes during the week.
MWI also offers an internship program for college students. The interns come to Boise for a weeklong intensive training session on e-commerce and inventory management and then head out in the field, working with sales reps and visiting veterinary clinics. This summer, there are 25 interns across the country. Of those, half will return as employees. To Cleary, this is yet another testament to MWI’s core values and their objective to be the employer of choice in the industry. “The quality of the students we are seeing from the local universities are phenomenal,” notes Cleary.
Cleary finds it very exciting to be part of a company that is hiring. “Its what actually motivates me about business,” said Cleary, “the ability to hire people and help them have better opportunities in their lives”.
On the Boise Valley Workforce:
“The Boise Valley is a good place to employ people. A lot of our employees started with us when we had less than $1 million in sales. There is high tenure and low-turnover among employees.”
“There is a great workforce here. Really well educated. Hardworking. Family oriented.” Cleary continued, “There is a work ethic and attitude here of ‘do whatever it takes to meet the needs of the customer’. Everyone is willing to roll-up their sleeves.”
On Advice to Other Companies Looking at the Boise Valley:
“Just do it now. This is a great place to be and an easy place to be. There is a great workforce. It’s a great place to raise a family. Its an attractive environment for activities, offering everything from arts to outdoor recreation.”
“The Boise Valley is a great place to live and to raise kids. There is phenomenal access to outdoor activities and a far nicer downtown than people expect. There are extremely nice people here.”
On the Boise Valley as a Place to do Business:
“The business climate is excellent. It’s a really easy place to have a business and manage a business. Whenever there is anything from a local or state standpoint that we have wanted to accomplish, people have been very open to helping businesses accomplish their goals. It’s mutually beneficial to the company and the community. As an example, there was an ambiguous regulation on delivering animal health products to dairies. We went to the state legislature and explained to them the issue. They were extremely helpful and quickly clarified the issue to remove the ambiguity.”
Jim Cleary received the Idaho Business Review CEO of Influence Award in 2013. Listen to more of his story in this video: http://vimeo.com/66206791