Coffee Break with Mark Verhein, President, Church Metal Spinning Company

Location: 5050 N. 124th St., Milwaukee

Web site: 

Industry: Contract manufacturing and precision metal-forming

Number of employees: 24

Annual revenue: More than $3 million

Education: Bachelor of arts degree, University of Wisconsin; MBA, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

Family: Wife, Krista

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“We vested more responsibility in our production management team to both complete and manage the production schedule. As we have grown, we have empowered our employees to take on greater responsibility to run the company.”

What’s new at your company?

“We were named one of the COSBE Future 50 Companies. This is a credit to our employees and our customers.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We plan to invest in our front office by adding people and software to support drafting and engineering/process design. We also will be upgrading our metal spinning machinery.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“The biggest challenge will be to continue to grow at our current pace. To do this, we will need to shift more resources to our front office in engineering, estimating and project management. We will also be revamping our order processing to reduce time between order receipt, scheduling, production and shipment.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Our customers are continuing to aggressively outsource parts and assemblies as they focus on design, engineering and assembly of finished products.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Our company’s quality statement is, ‘We are business partners with our customers, providing parts to print and on time.’ It really comes down to basic blocking and tackling, if you provide your customers with solutions, you will succeed.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I admire business people who fully engage and leverage their employees. Joe Hauk, formerly of Luitink, is a great example of such a leader.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“A customer told me a few years ago, ‘I don’t care. I want my parts.’ Whenever we run up against a challenge, I remember that. Our job is to meet our customer’s requirements, period.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“We had a laser operator named Lorna who was a great employee. I kept telling everyone that if we had 10 Lornas, we could run the world. On my birthday (near Halloween), I walked into the lunch room, and everyone had on a Lorna mask. We had 15 Lornas that day!”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I enjoy sailing, swimming, reading, gardening and attending sporting events. I also enjoy listening to music while sitting in front of a fire with my wife, friends and family. Gemutlichkeit!”

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