Robert Arzbaecher has led Actuant Corp., a diversified industrial company with operations in more than 30 countries, since 2001. The Actuant businesses are leaders in niche markets, including branded hydraulic and electrical tools and supplies; specialized products and services for energy markets and highly engineered position and motion control systems. Arzbaecher shares his thoughts on the need to educate a global workforce.
“You’ve heard the phrase ‘Think Globally, Act Locally.’ At Actuant, we use the phrase ‘Think Globally, Grow Locally.’ Operating globally isn’t new for Actuant; our global roots go back to the 1950’s. As we look forward, we anticipate more growth from emerging markets, and we will continue to expand our global footprint to achieve our share of that growth.
“We recently added the responsibility for China to one of our top executives, Brian Kobylinski, to accelerate our efforts there. For Actuant, global growth has meant additional jobs in Wisconsin. We recently completed plans for a new, expanded facility in Columbus, Wis., for our Enerpac business. We have added to our employment in the Milwaukee area and completed an expansion in Menomonee Falls in 2010. We hope to continue that growth in 2013 and beyond.
“Competing globally creates immense opportunity for our employees. However, it also ups the ante as we seek employees with the right skills, which is why education should be at the top of everyone’s policy agenda.
“Our company has gotten directly involved in the challenge of preparing an effective workforce for our global economy. We are supportive of groups like Schools That Can Milwaukee who seek to expand more top performing schools. Last year, Actuant launched its first ever partnership with one of these top performing schools, the Hmong American Peace Academy (HAPA). Actuant employees donated hundreds of school supplies and share their time tutoring students. We want to encourage more leaders like Chris Her-Xiong, HAPA’s executive director and principal, who are dedicated to creating successful students for the future.
“What is your role in improving education?”