What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“Everyone at MEC took pay and benefit reductions during the economic downturn. That has now been restored, with gratitude for all the sacrifices everyone made to help our company deal with the difficult economic conditions.”
What’s new at your company?
“Sales growth has returned to double digits. Establishment of a new tech center in India, and opening an Asian business office in Singapore.”
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“In 2011, our company added 52 new positions. I’d expect similar hiring in 2012. From a capital investment standpoint, we expect to construct a new manufacturing campus for our Mexican facility, and invest in a building upgrade for our Milwaukee location.”
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Keeping our eye on the ball of meeting customer demands to our high service level, while implementing significant company business upgrades.”
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“U.S. companies bringing back their business that had been moved to China, due to experiencing higher costs, difficult communications, logistics issues, and a need for faster response times to their customers.”
Do you have a business mantra?
“Perfect product—what the customer wants, when they want it, with no returns.”
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“Locally, two business giants from Green Bay, Robert Bush and Philip Hendrickson, who have mentored me and provided me business advice for over 25 years. Nationally, Warren Buffett for his practical, long term, and visionary approach to doing business.”
What was the best advice you ever received?
“To invest my heart and soul into the business, so that it bears a resemblance of who I am, rather than a cookie cutter business model. For me that’s caring for our employees, and bringing my spiritual Christian beliefs to how the business is run.”
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“I once had a business meeting with the president of the Island of Antigua, the Honorable Lester Byrd. At the end of our meeting, I asked to have a picture taken with him, and after posing, found out that my camera battery was dead.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“Keep my mind sharp by working jigsaw puzzles and sudokus. Diffuse tension by taking saunas, bicycling and gardening. And savor life’s best moments by spending time with Susan and our grandchildren.”
What has been most valuable to your business success?
“Having a 26 year relationship with the same bank and the same business banker. A rarity in today’s world, but of incalculable value.”