The Last Word: The right people make challenging work possible

E.J. Kubick
E.J. Kubick Credit: Lila Aryan

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:33 pm

E.J. Kubick was recently named chief executive officer of Waukesha-based MetalTek International. He says an important part of a leader’s job is to clearly communicate expectations and strategy.

“The two most important things a CEO works on are people and strategy. People need a strategy to connect to, and the strategy needs people to accomplish it.

“People are a company’s most valuable resource. As CEO, my job is to ensure our employees treat each other in a way consistent with MetalTek’s values. If I can clearly communicate what behaviors we expect and where we are going with our strategy, I have an excellent chance of engaging employees. Engaged employees will take initiative. If that becomes something employees expect of one another, then superior performance and growth will naturally follow.

“At MetalTek we encourage our people to hold each other accountable for behaviors that include your safety and the safety of others, ownership of problems and keeping commitments. In all, we have 21 behaviors that together define our culture. MetalTek has a companywide program where employees publicly recognize each other for demonstrating these behaviors. We celebrate team success, but recognizing individual contributions is just as important.

“Finding the right people for our culture starts at hiring. We can train technical skills but not passion for the work. A MetalTek machine shop supervisor calls it ‘lean forward attitude.’ He and other MetalTek leaders are looking for people who physically lean forward, ask questions and are engaged.”

“MetalTek makes high specification metal products that power, protect and connect the world. Our customers are in demanding industries, including defense, petrochemical and aerospace. Challenging work, but the right people make it possible.”

MetalTek International
Industry: Custom metal products
Employees: 900 (550 in Wisconsin)

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