Aaron Jagdfeld of Waukesha-based Generac Power Systems Inc. was recently a panelist at BizTimes Media’s annual Next Generation Manufacturing Summit at Generac’s corporate headquarters. After joining the company in 1994, Jagdfeld was named president and chief executive officer in 2008 and chairman in 2016. He has led the generator manufacturer’s expansion into global markets, and the company now employs about 5,700 people.
“There’s a different manifestation in terms of just growing our brand in the communities here and the communities where we work, but really how to manage that growth.”
“When Mother Nature deals a blow to somewhere in the country or somewhere around the world, we have to be there. And we can’t be there a week from now or a month from now. We have to be there today, tomorrow, next week, the entire week.”
“You hear people talk about the player-coach mentality in leadership styles, and I was very much a player early on in leadership and now it’s definitely much more of a coach role. But I’d also be lying to you if I didn’t tell you I oftentimes crossed the line and went back to being a player. Playing the game sometimes is better than watching it, and sometimes that’s what’s called for, that’s what’s needed.”
“Everyone wants to be proactive, right? Who wants to be reactive? But that’s the nature of our business. We can’t change what our business is about and what drives demand for our products, so we have to build a framework that operates within that.”
“Autocratic leadership doesn’t really scale very well.”