News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Lehmans

NOCHE


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business


International logistics company for worldwide agencies is based in Stark County
One of the Canton areas most interesting businesses is known around the world, but virtually unknown locally
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
US International Procurement Agency headquarters in Stark County and spreads worldwide.
Courtesy of US International Procurement
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Northeast Ohio has long been one of the nation’s “headquarters places,” home to major corporations, renowned research centers, great institutions of the arts, and the most famous of halls of fame. 

But it is also home to quite as array of lesser known but equally surprising enterprises.  WKSU’s Tim Rudell has the story of one of them.

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:20)


Avondale is a leafy, comfortable suburb on Canton’s northwest side. 

It’s also the headquarters of the U.S. International Procurement Agency, ensconced in a one-story office strip where you might expect to find an insurance agency, dental clinic and financial services group.   

Tamara Burnett is program manager of one of the organization’s two main divisions. “You know, quite a few people over the years have been walking in Avondale and just popped in and said, ‘Well, what is procurement, and what do you do here?’ And we try to simplify it for them and say, 'We’re just a purchasing agency that can get anything you need where you need it, and we’re mostly in Africa.'”

From IT to buckets
IPA, as it is known, is a contractor to federal agencies and to non-profits that provide humanitarian relief around the world. Marketing head Baily MeekerBaily Meeker IPA says the agency, which is a private company, began as an offshoot of a Dutch firm that supports aid workers. But, it has evolved into more than an emergency supplier for first responders.

“We continue with ongoing project support.  So initially, it would be after an emergency we would send tents, and buckets, and hygiene supplies. And as humanitarian aid organizations begin to set up camp, what we are sending over is often IT and ongoing project support.”

Why Canton? 
Burnett says it’s because of US-IPA’s now semi-retired founder, Michael Ridenhour.  He was an aid worker in Africa the early 1990’s and came back to the United States to create a logistical company to help relief agencies get what they need in tough parts of the world.  He grew up in Ohio and wanted to work here. And, Canton had the right combination of an affordable location and available resources for the business.

The operation he created includes 3,000 square feet of storage and staging rooms, where goods for specific projects are handpicked and packed. Baily Meeker explains: “We consolidate everything. pallet of incoming equipment We want to make sure that everything our clients have ordered is included. Because if something is missing, they can’t use what they need, and that has a direct effect on their project. We want to make sure that everything is running smoothly so that they can help the people who so desperately need it.

 
Down a long hallway
Walking through the first staging area there are pallets of portable printers, small fans and bicycle parts. Baily Meeker is giving the tour.

“…And here you can see some of the warehouse equipment and pieces of the crates in various stages that get assembled out there. And here is our conference room that we did not sit in because it has been turned into what we affectionately call the ‘library.' conference room is staging area for book projectAnd so all of these books get ordered and compiled here and sent to American embassies for what is known as their office of American spaces, and they do education all over the world.”

Another reason for Canton
Down another hallway is the office of Eric Miller, a project manager.  Like  most of the staff, Eric is local. Baily Meeker say the number of colleges and universities within an hour’s drive of Canton make it a good location for recruiting and developing staff. And Miller, who just got back from visiting a project site in Africa, says there is another plus to operating from northeast Ohio.

He travels to project sites around the world. "In the case of Zambia or China, there’s 24 hours travel and then back. We fly out of Akron Canton to some international airport and then overseas from there. It right up the road and there's never a wait getting through security. It’s nice.”

Serving both government and private clients
The U.S. International Procurement Agency serves all 70 Peace Corps locations around the world, U.S. State Department aid projects and a host of the world’s most active non-profit relief agencies.  Although the full-time staff is only about 20 people — not counting contractors and sub-contractors — and IPA is virtually unknown in its home town, Baily Meeker says it is a significant name in the international-aid community. “If you were to go out and try to find another company that does exactly what we do, you’d have to look long and hard.”

IPA currently has about a dozen projects running out of Canton, with some, like supporting the relief effort in Haiti, on-going for years
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Akron's Chapel Hill Mall in foreclosure
Not a surprise. Between the shoplifting, gangs and violence that goes on up there it is no wonder that no one feels safe to shop at Chapel Hill. They have sca...

Ohio launches investigation into at least one Concept charter school
I worked at Noble Academy Cleveland as admin assistant and enrolment coordinator for 6 years, I know this is so valid and true and can provide staff names and p...

Crisis looms in filling aviation industry jobs in Ohio and the nation
I listened to this story yesterday morning on the radio and just want to add this comment. My son went to school to train as an air traffic controller, and gra...

Cuyahoga Valley National Park considers fire to fight invasives
I'm for the controlled burn. There are not enough people (myself included) who volunteer for the removal of invasive plant species. Therefore, another solution ...

Remembering Cleveland music impresario Hank LoConti
The picture here is not the original Agora. It is the old WHK studios where the Agora moved into.

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University