Hello everyone my name is Steve Rathje. I understand that most people know where I stand politically, yet feel it of great importance that I provide a brief biography to help us to become better acquainted personally.
I am happily married, father of four and grandfather of six. The Founder and CEO of International Procurement Services, Inc. as well as Founder, President, and CEO of the Genesis Group, both of Cedar Rapids, IA.
Born in 1956 to successful Cedar Rapids entrepreneurs Richard and Ida Mae Rathje, I, as most children whose parents owned small businesses, grew up watching, helping and learning, as they operated the family company from our home as many as six to seven days a week. There is no doubt that their strong work ethic is what made their American dream, Rathje Construction Company, as successful as it is today. My parents have since passed on, yet their hard work remains the cornerstone of success, for today Rathje Construction has expanded to become one of the largest and most successful construction companies in Eastern Iowa, now owned and operated by my brothers, Robert and Kenneth and their sons, Jon and Bret.
Although I didn’t join them, I continued to build upon the foundation of hard work, sacrifice and personal responsibility that my parents instilled in me. It wasn’t the construction industry I sought, but a different path altogether. After high school, I decided to take an entry level manufacturing job at Cedar Rapids Incorporated. Unfortunately, within a few short months I was laid off due to a poor economy. Shortly thereafter, I accepted yet another entry level position as a janitor with Universal Engineering. But after being laid off several more times, again due to the economy, I sought every possible advancement opportunity available to me once called back, and with a lot of hard work, perseverance, and family sacrifice, I found myself rapidly advancing from janitor to welder, to machinist, to supervisor and finally into purchasing where I ended my career at Universal as the Director of Outsource Manufacturing.
I left Universal in 1992 with two mortgages, two car payments and children in middle school, high school and college, to form the two companies I own today. Both formed to assist Original Equipment Manufacturers and Engineering Firms in eliminating waste, improving product management, increasing profitability and eliminating offshore outsourcing. The experience I gained through manufacturing and purchasing, helped me in discovering a niche in the industry whereby I became proficient in seeking out and utilizing American companies to make manufactured components better, faster and more economical than the ones that our customers were purchasing from Mexico, Canada, Asia, and Europe. I was able to prove to my customers that 30% of the manufactured components they purchased from offshore “independent contractors” was scrap and therefore had to be replaced by domestic sources to meet build schedules. I also proved that 15% of the components purchased from offshore “independent contractors” had to be reworked to meet fit, form and function requirements. Lastly, I proved that after taking these two issues into consideration as well as the cost of customs duty fees, tariffs (if applicable), longshoreman fees, dock fees, insurance, ocean freight (again if applicable), inland freight, etc. my company came within 3% of the Chinese, matched Mexican prices dollar for dollar, beat the Canadian pricing by as much as 10% and overwhelmingly out performed the Europeans by as much as 70% and my customers said, “bring the jobs home.” So we brought them home, brought them home to America and placed as many as possible right here in Iowa.
After 35 years in the manufacturing industry and as a testament to my success, I have received both the “National Leadership Award” and the award for “Business Advisory Council 2003: Businessman of the Year.”
In addition to business, I understand the importance of working with those that will one day lead our Nation, and have proudly contributed nearly a decade of time to the local high school as a the receivers coach and defensive backs coach for the varsity football team from 1999- 2005, and still provide help whenever possible to the basketball program, track program and several other extra curricular activities that may need help.
That said, I believe that America deserves leaders with real life experience, good judgment, honesty, integrity, sincerity, and the ability to analyze problems, weigh competing information, think outside the box, propose bold new solutions and follow through until the job is done.
I also believe that I have achieved and maintained my professional success by adhering to a strong moral code and my belief in almighty God. I firmly believe that these same characteristics provided for the basic qualities and moral fiber as was prevalent in the founding fathers and/or framers of our Constitution. They are what are necessary for empowering our citizens and reducing the size of our government, improving our educational and healthcare systems, reducing taxes, eliminating wasteful spending, fighting the war on terror, securing our borders, protecting the unborn and traditional marriage, and permanently removing sexual predators from our streets.
“We The People” deserve the God given right to freedom, liberty and opportunity. Neither man nor government has the right to stand between us and our destiny.