A Year at DISTek: Reflections from Muhammad

I joined DISTek a little over a year ago. One fine afternoon, as I was rushing back from lunch, I got a call from a recruiter asking about my job availability and an opportunity in the ‘off-highway and farming equipment sector.” In my mind, it went ‘Off-highway/construction -> Big machines -> Transformers -> Optimus Prime.’

“Are you available?” the recruiter pulled me off my train of thought.

“Yes, I am.” I replied unsurely.

Fast forward a few weeks, and a couple of interviews later, I was in the Cedar Falls, Iowa, office for my first day at DISTek. Jeff Sandvold, DISTek’s VP of HR and a proud University of Northern Iowa alum, greeted me in the parking lot and humored me that I would not be scoring any extra points for wearing an Iowa State University mask. Well, Jeff did not know it was the only mask I could scavenge from underneath my car seat. Inside I met Charlie from HR and Scott from IT, who had everything set up and ready to go for me. Charlie gave me a quick office tour and I endeavored to remember the names of everyone I met. Walking past empty offices, reminiscent of a post-pandemic world, reminded me how the most minor things hold the power to change our lives. I then met some more folks over doughnuts and had an insightful conversation with our captain of the ship, Jeremy Yoder.

As days passed and the week-long development cycles, called ‘sprints’ in the Agile world, started to take shape, I understood more about DISTek’s operation and business model. In addition, I experienced first-hand how DISTek was different from a recruiting/staffing agency, as I was contracting for one prior to starting at DISTek. The intimate relationship we at DISTek have with our clients, our people-centric management, and our business approach that strives to deliver the best value to the company’s clients and employee-owners are what I believe sets DISTek apart from the others.

In my one year at DISTek, I have had numerous opportunities to serve on various committees and participate in rocks, which are quarterly initiatives to help contribute to the success of DISTek’s yearly goals. Getting involved in these rocks and committees has served as an excellent means to improve a myriad of essential people skills. In addition, they have provided me with leadership opportunities and collaboration with some of the most amazing people I have ever worked with. The project work has also been equally challenging and rewarding and continues to be so. Every day brings in a new challenge and new learning.

For some reading and thinking, ‘Okay, enough DISTek fanboy, DISTek is not fortune 500,’ I would agree with them. DISTek is not yet listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ index, but we have nearly doubled our ESOP stock price over the last ONE year. I don’t have a Nobu chef to cook me a gourmet meal at lunch, but I have coworkers who bring in banging peanut butter cookies, banana bread, and Lumpia (ever heard of that?). DISTek provides me with the tools and support to succeed at my job and an environment that stimulates growth and learning. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities I have had and the relationships I have fostered in the past year. And I am more eager to see what is ahead on this journey with DISTek and how these experiences shape my story and DISTek’s story, as both DISTek and I are in the process of becoming.