Kaskaskia College TCEP Program Recognizes Merz Vault as the Entrepreneur of the Year

Merz Vault of Salem was recognized as the Teachers and Coaches Entrepreneurship Programs Entrepreneur of the Year for 2014 at a ceremony held at Kaskaskia College on Saturday, June 28. 


The Merz Vault Company was founded in 1943 by Bob Merz and Max McCarty as the M and M Company.  Merz later bought out his partner, renamed the company the Merz Vault Company, and ran it until his death in 1960.  Current owner Randy Vogt purchased the company in 1981. Vogt has expanded Merz’s customer reach, serving funeral homes throughout southern Illinois.  In 1991, Merz received the contract to provide burial vaults to veterans buried at the Jefferson Barracks Cemetery in St. Louis County.  For the past 23 years. Merz has been delivering and installing burial vaults at Jefferson Barracks each day, five days a week.  Merz further expanded its services in 1993 by adding one of the first crematoriums in southern Illinois.  For more than 70 years, Merz has been providing quality service and products to its customers.


A video of the Merz Vault Company showed the operations of the company, and featured Jan and Randa Vogt praising the work ethic and vision of Owner Randy Vogt.  In an address to the crowd, Randa also praised her father Randy’s commitment to family that never wavered during the growth of the company.  Dr. James Underwood, President of Kaskaskia College and Mr. Bill Hawley, Chairman of the KC board of Trustees, also praised Merz Vault and Randy Vogt for their dedication to the area and to the families of the employees.


In his acceptance speech, Randy Vogt detailed some of the struggles of the company and the growing pains caused by the Jefferson Barracks contract, the acquisition of a competitor, and the commitment to install the first crematorium in the area.  Though at times he had to go without pay, Randy saw the company through adversity and built it into the successful business it is today.  Randy was emotional when he recognized the family members and longtime employees attending the event that helped Merz prosper through financial support and loyalty to the company.


TCEP is a multi-faceted initiative to promote understanding, appreciation, and support of America’s free enterprise system.  The purpose is to recognize teachers and coaches for their many significant contributions to our community and to support activities and events that recognize and encourage entrepreneurship.  TCEP activities include the Distinguished Lecturer series, Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, workforce development scholarships, and support for community, entrepreneurial and economic development programs and events at Kaskaskia College.


The main sponsor of the event was the Insurance Partnership Agency, with Gibson Funeral Home, Hughey Funeral Homes, Johnston Funeral Home, Richardson Funeral Home, Searby Funeral Home, and Wilson and Wilson Monument Company also sponsoring the event.​

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