Impact Engineering Solutions


President relies on partners to help build Brookfield engineering company

Mark Peters believes that when people have a vested interest in the company where they work, they are more likely to care about that company’s success. While that may not be a revolutionary viewpoint, Peters puts his wallet where his mouth is.
The president and chief executive officer of Impact Engineering Solutions Inc., Brookfield, retains 65% ownership in his company. However, he has granted partner status to five others who help oversee the day-to-day operations of the firm.
Those partners include: Jane Armstrong, controller; Tom Miller,
director of operations; Mike Stone, director of sales; Brian Quincey, director of consulting services; and Tom Volk, senior project manager.
"These people focus on doing the right things. It heightens their commitment to involvement," Peters says. "It instills a sense of pride and owner-
ship. It certainly gives them a more pronounced voice when sharing their opinions on directions and policies."
Although Impact Engineering’s customers have been struggling through a depressed manufacturing economy, the Brookfield company continues to grow.
By focusing on the "who" of his company, before the "what," Impact Engineering’s annual revenues have grown from $2.5 million when Peters acquired the firm in 1995 to $4 million.
Peters says his management team is the key to his company’s success in providing technology-based design engineering support services to original equipment manufacturers, including Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Strattec Securities, Rockwell International, Magnetek, Regal Ware and John Deere & Co.
That stable of customers with a strong presence in Wisconsin is one reason Impact Engineering intends to stay in the state and ultimately move to its own building, Peters says.
Peters, his partners and a rotating handful of key employees meet quarterly "off-site" with an independent consultant to take a look back and to project where they’re going.
"It’s not my vision. It’s a management vision," Peters says. "The other partners are managers. When we go through a year-end (evaluation), I don’t put the budget together. They put the budget together and build a plan to achieve that."
Sometimes, that plan needs to change, and Peters and his managers must confront brutal facts. For instance, the company had planned to open an office in Chicago this year.
"We thought the economy would come around sooner, and we’re now adjusting. We put some of our strategic initiatives on hold. We’re going to reforecast and re-budget," Peters says.
The company walks a fine line between focusing on its core competencies and being flexible and creative enough to change course to embrace new opportunities.
Impact Engineering recently added Vince Adams as the director of its new Analysis Services Division.
"When you’re young and growing, there’s lots of opportunities, and you’ve got to figure out which ones fit your core competencies and which ones don’t," Peters says. "Opportunities are not all created equal. We believe in a process here called progress, not perfection. Do something to get the ball rolling and refine it as we go."

May 30, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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