What began decades ago as the dream of a mechanical engineer has grown into the world's leading manufacturer of steel doors and frames for commercial, industrial and institutional construction.
In 1912, Ceco was the idea of 26-year-old C. Louis Meyer, a mechanical engineering graduate of the University of Nebraska. Meyer founded what would be called the Concrete Engineering Company and its home was Omaha, Nebraska.
Meyer's company began revolutionizing the process of reinforcing concrete, which in itself was a new procedure back then. Concrete was developed in non-removable forms. Meyer changed all that when he designed steel forms that could be removed from concrete once it was formed. This resulted in a better product and one less costly to construct. He called it the Meyer Removable Steel form. It led to the company developing these forms instead of purchasing them. Thus, Concrete Engineering Company entered the steel fabricating business.
Steel business began to broaden in the 1920's and Concrete Engineering Company started a wholesale distributing business selling galvanized sheet steel building material, wire, steel fence posts and woven wire fences.
The 1930s saw Concrete Engineering Company expand its line, and manufacture metal-frame screens for more post offices and other public buildings than all the rest of the industry. In 1937 Concrete Engineering Company changed its company name to Ceco Steel Products Corporation.
The 1940s saw Ceco play an active industrial role in the United States' World War II efforts. The company converted its steel window manufacturing operation to the development of what were then secret steel panel bridges. These bridges, called Bailey Bridges, consisted of welded steel panels and were used to span gaps at the battlefront. The work brought high praise from General Mark Clark, who told Ceco, "You can be proud of the part your company played; we used many Bailey bridges and could not have won the campaign in Italy without them."
Ceco began manufacturing steel doors in 1953. Over the next several years building trends changed. With the arrival of air conditioning, building designs began including more doors and fewer windows. In the 1960s Ceco would introduce the design of honeycomb-core steel doors and doors in various colors. The product line has continued to grow to include standard, fire rated and specialty doors and finishes. Ceco's line also includes standard, custom and specialty frames.
Ceco doors and frames today are produced in the industry's first ISO9001 certified manufacturing plants: Milan, Tennessee; Oklahoma City, OK; Harlingen, TX and Valle Hermosa, MX. More than 350 authorized distributors in 15 countries market the company's products.
The C. Louis Meyer Family Foundation was originally formed in 1946 by C. Louis and Mary Luman Meyer, the owners of the Ceco Corporation. The original foundation name, Meyer Ceco Foundation, recognizing both the family and the company that helped establish the original Foundation. The intent of the Meyers in creating the Foundation was to ensure that the communities in which the Ceco Corporation had offices benefited from the company's success such as the Monroe Meyer Institute in Nebraska.
In 1991, the Foundation's name was changed to The Meyer Family Foundation when a merger occurred between Ceco Corporation and H. H. Robertson Company of Pittsburgh. In 2002 the Foundation evolved in to the C. Louis Meyer Family Foundation as it is known today.
C. Louis and Mary Luman Meyer believed that the combined judgment of several trustees would contribute to both the quality of investment decisions and the determination of the beneficiaries. Since its inception, the Trustees of the Foundation have, for the most part, been direct descendants of the Founders.
The board's mission continues to reflect C. Louis and Mary Luman Meyer's original philanthropic thoughts and ideas as they continue to strive to positively impact the communities in which they live today.