Linetec People to Know – Cody Horne

Cody-Horne-5-2018-webTell me about your job
As a manufacturing engineer at Linetec, it is my job to research, develop and implement cost-effective tools, equipment and controls to continuously improve manufacturing processes. I also help achieve safety and production goals. Projects are often initiated after discussions with our associates, and then I evaluate, prioritize, manage and complete these projects. I work with engineers, contractors, fabricators, vendors and other Linetec associates to complete a wide variety of projects ranging from automated systems to carts.

What did you do prior to Linetec?
Prior to working at Linetec, I was a product engineer at JARP Industries, a local manufacturer of custom hydraulic cylinders for demanding applications. I started at JARP shortly after graduating from the University of Wisconsin (UW) Platteville with a CodyH-Susan-&-Cody-webmechanical engineering degree. I chose to pursue an opportunity at Linetec to be involved with more complex projects. UW-Platteville, UW-Marathon County and a variety of work experiences throughout college helped prepare me for the engineering career ahead of me. Work experiences included an internship at Hydratight, an internship at Neenah Paper, a co-op at Greenheck and a summer position at FAITH Technologies. Linetec associates may also recognize me as a former employee at Culver’s in Wausau. In short, I was very busy gaining experience and growing as an engineer before working at Linetec.

What is your favorite part of your job?
The most rewarding thing for me is seeing concepts turn into reality.

CodyH-Marigold-not-chewing-on-the-table-and-chairsWhat poses the biggest challenges for you?
As a young engineer, there are many aspects of my job that challenge me. These include troubleshooting existing equipment, specifying new equipment and managing multiple projects simultaneously. However, the biggest challenge for me is managing my work day. Each day, I have a plan for what I want to get done, but it seems like I am constantly reshuffling.

What is something you are looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to the holidays this year because it will be the first holiday season married to my wife, Susan. Hopefully this year we will finally visit the Rotary Winter Wonderland at the Wildwood Zoo in Marshfield! I am also looking forward to drinking eggnog out of my moose mug and champagne out of wedding champagne flutes!

Believe it or not, I am most excited to use the snow blower that my in-laws got my wife for her birthday.

CodyH-Susan-&-Cody-wedding-photo-webWhat is something people don’t know about you?
I enjoy cooking and love to buy kitchen gadgets. I like to turn leftovers into culinary masterpieces!

If Linetec gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?
I would take my wife and our dogs, Ollie and Marigold, on a road trip to hike in Wisconsin’s state parks. Governor Dodge State Park and Devil’s Lake State Park are two parks that come to mind. If we could find dog friendly lodging, we might go to both parks in one trip. The dogs would sleep the whole way home!

CodyH-Ollie-&-Marigold-waiting-for-the-Packer-game-to-startWhat always cheers you up when you think about it?
I always cheer up when I think about my wife and our golden retrievers. When I need a reason to smile, I look at engagement pictures, wedding pictures and pictures of our dogs.

 

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Linetec People to Know: Tad Klabacha

Tad-dressQ: Tell me about your job?

A: I am a Senior Technical Engineer within the engineering team at Linetec. My primary responsibility is to provide technical leadership to the organization by solving complex problems that maintain and improve our processes.

As a technical engineer supporting a finishing plant, you need to focus on both internal and external customers to ensure you design and implement improvements that can be maintained and operated by our operations team, but also give our customers exactly what they want when they want it. Having open and strong communication is vital to help influence and work across all areas of the organization. Safety, quality, capability and cost are some of the main factors when engineering a solution. You also need to account for a lot of other technical and operational factors to ensure you optimize the project solution.

My primary focus is on improvement projects. I am working on several projects that are analyzing our current processes and looking at innovative strategies to improve them through automation and technology. Another important part of my job is more of a tactical role of providing daily support engineering to our operations and maintenance teams. I am the lead support engineer for the Polywood, Oxidizer/HVAC and Anodize Weld Racking processes. I am also the secondary support engineer for the Brushing, Pour and Debridge, and Radius Thermal processes. As an engineer, project type and size can vary greatly based on need and priority, but staying focused on structured problem solving techniques and engineering disciplines helps me solve any problem.

Tad-babyQ: What did you do prior to Linetec?

A: My journey to becoming a Linetec team member starts with my decision to become an engineer. I graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota with a B.S. in mechanical engineering.

For the last 12 years, I worked at Federal Premium Ammunition located in Minnesota, where we manufactured components and assembled ammunition for the hunting and shooting industry. During my time at Federal, my engineering responsibilities included team leadership, program management, capital project management, strategic planning, machine/process design and engineering process management. I was a technical leader within the organization and got to work on a lot of fun and exciting projects that at times were very challenging.

Most recently, I was a Senior Manufacturing Engineering Supervisor that led a multi-disciplined technical team of 17 engineers, technicians and mechanics. One of my most proud achievements was helping plan and manage the Factory of the Future program – a capacity expansion initiative that focused on cost reduction strategies through process innovation.

Tad-paddleboardQ: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: Problem solving! As a technical engineer at Linetec you are assigned some of the hardest problems that our company needs to figure out. I like to think of engineers in an industrial plant as the doctors of the organization that execute projects to keep a factory running and/or make it better. My philosophy is that every problem is an opportunity and, a lot of times, there are many different paths you can take to solve a problem. These outcomes need to balance all aspects of the finishing process to ensure it meets the business need and mitigates all risk.

I couldn’t answer this question without talking about the engineering team at Linetec. It is a great team made up of team members that specialize in different skills and backgrounds. We work together to analyze problems from different perspectives that help deliver optimal results. Having 13+ years in manufacturing has taught me that nothing is more important than working together with a great team.

Tad-mountainsQ: What poses the biggest challenges for you?

A: Problem solving! It’s funny that the favorite part of my job is also the biggest challenge. But it is true that challenges don’t always have to be scary or hard. When you maintain a positive attitude and utilize structured problem solving, anything is achievable. The single most important skill taught in engineering school is problem solving. At Linetec, there are a lot of variables that you need to determine how you will solve a problem, but that is the fun part of being a technical engineer.

Being new to Linetec and the architectural finishing industry presents exciting challenges to work through on a daily basis. Over the first few months in my new position I have spent time working on projects that help me learn and study. Blending my past successes and failures with new challenges at Linetec helps me deliver the right solution.

Q; What is something you are looking forward to?

A: In these first few months at Linetec, I have quickly come to appreciate our team and the people that make up the Linetec family. Every day, you find people with positive attitudes and smiles on their faces. This makes me look forward to saying hello each morning.

I am looking forward to being a Linetec team member for a long time and continuously learning about the industry. Having the opportunity to work at Linetec has opened my eyes to a whole new segment of manufacturing. Supporting the architectural industry is amazing, especially when you get a chance to see the finished structure and feel that you were a part of building something so beautiful.

Tad-Packers familyQ: What is something people don’t know about you?

A: I am new to the Wausau area and just moved from Minnesota. I have been asked, “Why did you come to Wausau?” Well, Linetec is a great company. It would be easy to say that the opportunity to work for Linetec was just too good to pass up, but there is another reason: I grew up in Northern Wisconsin in a town called Minocqua. We have a cabin on Lake Minocqua and I wanted my family to enjoy the same outdoor activities I did growing up.

My beautiful wife Nohemi and I have four great kids: My oldest is Annie, who is 12 years old and  part of the MC United Soccer Club that travels around the state for games. Kristen is my 8-year-old daughter and hopes to sign up with the Timberline Figure Skating Club. I have two boys, four-year-old Teddy and two-year-old Marty. They definitely keep my wife and I busy.

But don’t worry…my family and I are Packer fans!

Q: If Linetec gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?

A: This one is simple for me. I would head north to our cabin in Minocqua with my family. We would enjoy the lake by swimming, paddle boarding, water skiing and all the great things that Northern Wisconsin provides.

Rest-and-recuperate can be a hard concept to think about for a father of four young children, so we try to stay active and have fun.

Q: What always cheers you up when you think about it?

A: My wife and kids are such a big part of my life and I prioritize family above all else. It is not always easy having a large family, but it truly brings me happiness when I see my wife and kids succeed.

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Linetec People to Know: Brandon Slowiak

BradonSlowiakQ: Tell me about your job

A: I am the Continuous Improvement (CI) Manager here at Linetec. The primary function of the role is to drive process improvements throughout the company to make everyone’s job as safe, efficient and cost effective as possible. While many people are responsible for their own individual projects, I oversee all completed, active and potential projects to ensure we are meeting the savings targets that we are anticipating. In addition to that, I am responsible for training of Lean and Six Sigma processes, along with leading or facilitating Kaizen, A3 and other process improvement events to drive impactful change.

Use-Whole-Family-on-Deck-webQ: What did you do prior to Linetec?

A: I graduated from UW Stout in 2011 with a manufacturing engineering degree and a business administration minor. Directly out of college, I began working for Parker Hannifin, Hose Products Division, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. I worked as a process engineer for one year, where I had an awesome opportunity to go to Germany for two weeks to do capability testing on a new machine we were buying from one of our robotic suppliers. After that first year, I got into the operations side of the business. In operations, I served as a supervisor or manager in several facilities and cities including: Manitowoc, Wisconsin; Manhattan, Kansas; and Davenport, Iowa.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: I am still very new to the role, so I can’t say I have a favorite part yet. However, the thing that I love about CI is the ability to create better working environments for people by helping them overcome the barriers that make their jobs difficult. I love getting a group together and brainstorming creative solutions to difficult problems. Having a team that challenges each other to think outside the box and builds on each other’s ideas is a very exciting and rewarding experience.

Muddy Tough MudderQ: What poses the biggest challenges for you?

A: My current biggest challenge is getting acclimated with new people, processes, job environment, culture and understanding my job role within all of that. Although I have been in manufacturing my entire career, everything in the finishing industry is new for me. The CI role itself is new for me as well, despite having extensive experience with Lean in my previous engineering and managerial roles. The great thing about this role is that it exposes me to every area of the business, and I am trying to learn as much as possible. My first goal is to keep an already solid CI program running smoothly. Secondly, I understand the need to push the team to challenge the status quo to keep us on the forefront of change in a very challenging and competitive market.

Q: What is something you are looking forward to?

A: It has already been an extremely busy summer filled with friends and family gatherings, weddings or showers seemingly every other weekend, and moving into our new house and community. However, there still are a few things I am looking forward to. Every year in  August we go camping in the U.P. on Lake Superior with my wife’s family, which is always fun and relaxing. I am also a huge football fan, so I always look forward to football season starting up again. In fact, we went to the first pre-season game on Aug. 9, which is always an awesome experience. Next up will be our daughter’s first birthday in October.

Use - Davenport Volleyball TeamQ: What is something people don’t know about you?

A: I am a very active person and try to work out 5+ days a week. I also love to play recreational sports. I enjoy softball, volleyball, flag football, golf, bean bags, bowling and really anything semi-competitive that I can do with a group of people. I have also done three Tough Mudders, which involves running 10+ miles and overcoming 20+ obstacles, and plan to do more in the future. I’m always up for a new challenge or competition.

Q: If Linetec gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?

A: If I had a little time to plan, I would probably use two more days of PTO and go on a week-long vacation with my wife to somewhere tropical. We have been so busy over the last few years with moving, starting different jobs and starting a family, that we haven’t had time since our honeymoon to go somewhere to just enjoy each other.

Jamaica-Date-Night-webQ: What always cheers you up when you think about it?

A: My family. My lovely wife, Sam, and I have been married for going on four years in August. She is a high school art teacher at Wausau West. Last October, we had our first child together. Her name is Brinley Linae and I can’t believe she is nine months old already. She is developing quite the personality and is absolutely adorable. We also have a three-year-old Yorkshire Terrier who loves his “little” sister, playing fetch and sleeping between my legs at night so I can never get comfortable.

Linetec People to Know: Nikki Mussfeldt

MussfeldtNikkiQ:  Tell me about your job

A:  I am the First Shift In-House Blend and Vault Supervisor. We cover all things paint – from purchase and receipt, matching and batch making, and touch-up for finishing the products, to the final data entry for environmental reporting.

Q: What did you do prior to Linetec?

A: Prior to Linetec, I worked at a Kid City Day Care working with 2- to 5- year-olds and 6- to 12-year-olds during the summer months. I had a big fan base for my ability to stay within the lines while coloring.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A:  It would have to be the people I get to work with. Throughout my 19 years and different roles at Linetec, I have met some amazing and dedicated people. Whether we are moving material or solving problems, there are always people that are willing to lend a hand or give ideas. Ultimately, they all just want to see the company succeed.

Q: What poses the biggest challenges for you?

A:  I would have to say color matching, such as when you look at the color scale and see that a color needs to be a little more red, but any red you add will cause a shift to yellow/blue or light/dark. You usually need to add two colors to balance the shift in one direction.

NikkiM-3Q: Are there any finishing types or color trends that you seeing more of lately?

A:   We have almost 24,000 finish codes in our system, with more being added every day. Lately, they seem to be leaning more toward solid colors: red, blue and green.  We get the occasional white or mica/metallic, but even those seem to have a color tone to them recently. I am hoping we get to see more finished project pictures so I can see them on a building.

Q:  What is something you are looking forward to?

A:  I am excited to see what Linetec does next. I have seen a lot of changes over the years at Linetec. The drive to improve ourselves with automation that assists the people doing the work has always been interesting to see.

Q: What is something people don’t know about you?

A:  I usually enjoy listening to others more than hearing my own voice. It took me 16 years to plan my wedding. I am a big Marvel movie fan. And, I like to sing in the car to the embarrassment of my kids.

NikkiMQ: If Linetec gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?

A: I would probably head south to the Clearwater Florida area, sit on a beach, and enjoy the ocean and sun with my family.

Q: What always cheers you up when you think about it?

A: My family: My husband, Pat, and I met at Linetec and have two children together. Our daughter, Taylor, is 16 and our son, Jace, is 11. Whether we are camping in the summer, snowmobiling in the winter or just hanging out, we spend as much time as we can together.

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Linetec People to Know: Brian Stratton

Q: Tell me about your job

Wisconsin Safety Council 2018

Linetec wins Wisconsin Corporate Safety Award – April 2018

A: I manage Linetec’s safety program. Sending our associates home safely at the end of their shifts and keeping the company in compliance is the goal. To accomplish this I am extensively involved in the development of safety programs, equipment and process modifications, incident trending and prevention, incident reporting and investigation, safety awareness, safety training, financial investment, risk assessment, audits and attainment of safety objectives.

Q: What did you do prior to Linetec?

A: Working in a manufacturing environment has comprised my entire professional career. I have held the positions of production supervisor, plant manager and safety manager. I find it interesting that each company I have worked for was involved with windows to a certain degree, including window treatments, wood and vinyl window fabrication, and architectural finishing.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: Having worked at Linetec for nearly 16 years, I no longer consider coming here each day to be a job. Keeping our associates safe has become more of a mission. Linetec maintains a safety culture that is truly one of the best I have ever seen. Being part of it is what I find most rewarding. We have a good thing here!

Q: What poses the biggest challenges for you?

A: Looking into that crystal ball. Trying to figure out and prevent that next significant incident or injury. Fortunately, as of late, our associates have made that part of my world much easier. The best safety device in the world is a safe worker and we have a lot of them.

Q: Are there any safety issues or recurring trends that you are seeing more of lately?

A: Fortunately, Linetec safety trending as of late has been very positive. After averaging an incident rate of 2.6 for five years, rates have dropped to 0.86 in 2017 and we’re currently at 0.43 so far through 2018. If you look at our current incident graphing, you will see we need to concentrate on hand, arm and wrist injuries. Some back strains in there as well.

BrianS (1)Q: What is something you are looking forward to?

A: I really love to hunt and fish. To me there is nothing more peaceful than an evening in the bow stand or an early morning out on a lake. I try to go on a hunting or fishing trip each year. Those are the things I look forward to.

Q: What is something people don’t know about you?

A: I am a big nostalgic rock junkie. I love 70’s and 80’s bands.

Q: If Linetec gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?

A: I would go up to the family cabin in Tomahawk and chill.

BrianS (2)Q: What always cheers you up when you think about it?

A: Grandchildren are now a part of my life. I find it amazing how just looking at a picture of them can brighten up any day. A co-worker once scolded me for having the pictures of those kids behind me on my file cabinet. She said, “Set those pictures on the window sill right in front of your nose.” Those were great words of advice!

 

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Linetec People to Know: Mike Bridenhagen

Mike BridenhagenQ: Tell me about your job

A: I manage the Inside Sales/Service team, which includes sales and service representatives, order and sample coordinators, estimators, technical specialists, and leadership. Our job is to work with our customers to ensure their satisfaction. We learn their needs and expectations and create programs that fulfill their quote requests and orders. We work with our outside sales team, scheduling department and production areas – every day – to follow orders through from start to finish, and to solve any concerns that may come up along the way.

Q: What did you do prior to Linetec?

A: I have been in sales and customer service leadership positions prior to Linetec. I’ve worked for an eclectic mix of companies, but the common thread has been a strong desire to provide superior product and customer service, and exceed customer expectations. I’ve had the privilege to work with world-class organizations and world-class people, and have learned many invaluable lessons and tenets from them. My goal is to impart these to our team members the best I can and ensure our core values are met for both our customers and our team.

MIkeB-BigBoyQ: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: There are so many things I enjoy about working at Linetec. The desire to do things right and not cut corners, to treat associates fairly and reward them for doing their jobs well, the commitment to a safe workplace, the family atmosphere, the lack of a steep organizational chart, the fun activities, community involvement – the list goes on and on. But if I had to pick one thing, it would be the dedicated and caring team I get to see every day. They make it fun to come in every morning!

Q: What poses the biggest challenge for you?

A: I’m fairly new to the industry so learning the technical side of what we do can take time. It is fascinating, though, and it has been a whole new eye-opening experience for me.

Q: Are there any finishing types or color trends that you seeing more of lately? 

A: We are seeing an increase in interest in some of our more “exotic” finishes, such as our woodgrain finishes, brushed stainless anodize and terra cotta textured coatings. However, our multitude of anodize and paint options, and the quality of our work continues to be second to none!

MIkeB-golferQ: What is something you are looking forward to?

A: Summer! This past winter has been exceedingly protracted in Wisconsin. It’s been one of the coldest and snowiest winters I can remember. Wisconsin is such a beautiful state, and it’s nice to get out and enjoy it when the weather is nice. But in Wisconsin, our weather can change very quickly, so we’ve learned to take the good with the bad. Hopefully, our good weather will last well into fall this year!

Q: What is something people don’t know about you?

A: My favorite band is Rush – I have been a fan since the mid-’70s. I saw them five times in concert and I’m sad that they are no longer touring!

Q: If Linetec gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?

A: I would take my wife back to Banff, Alberta. I love the Rocky Mountains and the Canadian Rockies are absolutely beautiful. After a weekend of those pristine sights and wonderful fresh air, I would be ready to go back at it with renewed vigor!

MIkeB-muskieQ: What always cheers you up when you think about it?

A: A lot of things make me happy because I try to be a positive person. Thinking about my wife and kids always cheers me up because family is the most important part of my life and I love doing things with them. I also love sports and outdoor activities: golfing, fishing, bowling, basketball, trail running, mountain biking, travelling, landscaping and lumberjacking. If I can do any of these things, I’m usually pretty happy! Oh, and I love to eat. There’s an old saying: “The more I run, the more I can eat.” That’s me!

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Linetec People to Know: Alex Jazdzewski

Alex-fam2Q:  Tell me about your job

A:  I’m the Senior Buyer for Linetec. I’m responsible for the daily procurement of the materials Linetec needs to do business – from both a tactical and strategic standpoint. I spend a good portion of my day in the tactical role, which include helping solve problems with the Linetec team, responding to internal purchase requisitions by our ERP system and by our associates to order materials, analyzing data on consumption of materials, and working with our vendors to ensure that purchase orders come in on time and complete to support our operations. The rest of my day, I’m in the strategic mode – working closely with the Linetec Sales and Operations team along with our vendors to strengthen our supply chains. Some of the strategic tasks that I work on include: negotiating purchase contracts, researching different avenues of supply, preparing RFQs and RFPs, and analyzing our supply chains to identify risks and mitigate them.

Q:  What did you do prior to Linetec?

A:  I worked for a local company in Central Wisconsin for almost 12 years that specialized in component building systems for residential housing. We could take almost any set of blueprints and design the floor, wall and roof system in components that were built in a factory and then assembled together on the jobsite. I held a number of positions with that company including drafter, structural technician, estimator, inside sales manager, production scheduling manager, field operations and logistics, and ultimately, procurement and supply chain management.

Q:  What is your favorite part of your job?

A:  The feeling of accomplishment when Purchasing assists the Linetec team in getting the job done. Working alongside such a great team of employees is very fulfilling and I’m proud to be able to support them in my role.

Q:  What poses the biggest challenges for you?

A:  The speed at which Linetec operates is second to none. As such, a major challenge for procurement is to make sure that we align with vendor partners who can provide us with high-quality products with short lead-times. We have a great group of vendors who have a deep understanding of Linetec’s operating environment – and we’ve developed very solid partner-based relationships with them. We can count on our vendors to get us what we need when we need it for our customers.

Q:  Is there anything new that purchasing has brought to Linetec lately?

A:  To speed up the service to our associates and our customers, Purchasing has pursued services that promote speed of transactions. In the past, the time between submitting a purchase requisition, placing a purchase order and delivery of that order could’ve taken 24-48 hours – or more. We now have a large number of vending machine on our shop floors that put tools, PPE and other production consumables at our associates’ fingertips – at the point of use. We also have increased the type and amount of vendor-managed inventory (VMI) and consignment inventory on our floors to ensure that our team has what they need whenever they need it. QR-coded supply bins and apps on mobile devices allow people to reorder supplies whenever they need them. We are even investigating RFID-controlled inventory lots to allow our vendors to quickly identify inventory on the floor and actively manage their production level to ensure Linetec’s supply.

alex-fam4.jpgQ:  What is something you are looking forward to?

A:  This summer! My wife Andrea and I just purchased property in the country on which we are planning to build a new home this year. I grew up on a family dairy farm in the country, but moved into the city when Andrea and I were married. We’ve lived in the city now for almost 14 years. We are excited to move back out into the country!

Q:  What is something people don’t know about you?

A:  I enjoy running and ran four half-marathons in three months last year. I’m planning another couple half marathons this year. I enjoy the challenge of pushing myself to do something that just seems almost impossible to do. My dad and I also dig the graves for our church.

Alex-famQ:  If Linetec gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?

A:  My family and I enjoy camping and traveling immensely. We’d probably hook up the camper and take the time to go to Door County, WI. We would enjoy the area by hiking the great state parks there, some wine tasting and having some fun around the campfire.

Q:  What always cheers you up when you think about it?

A:  My kids! My son John is 9 years old, and my daughters Arianna and Ava are 7 and 5 respectively. They have great personalities and make me smile every time I think about them.

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Linetec People to Know: Christian Neumann

ChristianNeumann-at-work-smallQ:  Tell me about your job

A:  I was recently awarded the shipping/receiving & packaging supervisor position in the Anodize plant. My job consists of leading the shipping/receiving and packaging team, helping with day-to-day tasks, updating our many packaging work instructions, working with the supervisors in other areas, working on continuous improvement projects, and much more!

Q: What did you do prior to Linetec?

A: Prior to Linetec, I obtained my bachelor’s degree at Minnesota State University (MSU) Mankato and started my career at UPS as a Preload Supervisor. It proved to be a bigger challenge than expected transitioning from logistics to manufacturing, but a very rewarding one.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A:  My favorite part of my job is working with all of the great people we have here at Linetec. I have a great team of hard-working employees and I really enjoy interacting with them every day. We also have a great management team that strives for excellence, but likes to have fun while doing so. The people really make the difference here.

Q: What poses the biggest challenges for you?

A:  There is so much to know in the position that I recently started. I started my career at Linetec as a Production Supervisor on the anodize lines. In shipping/receiving and packaging, there is so much to know about each of our customers, as each company has different requirements and needs for getting their material delivered safely.

Q: Are there any finishing types or color trends that you seeing more of lately?

A:   The color trend that really catches my eye is the copper anodize finish that we offer. The color is unique and it looks so cool when it goes up on a building. I love seeing the projects when they are completed, I wish there were more in our area so I could look at it more often!

ChristianNeumannQ:  What is something you are looking forward to?

A:  After six years together, my fiancé and I are tying the knot. We’re getting married this summer in June, and I’m really looking forward to that day. We’ve done a lot of planning over the past year and I can’t wait to enjoy the day and the vacation/honeymoon that will follow. We are starting with a weekend in Chicago, and then will be flying down to St. Lucia to enjoy the sun, ocean, and some golf!

Q: What is something people don’t know about you?

ChristianNeumann-pilotA:  When I entered college, my initial plan was to become a commercial pilot. I started at MSU Mankato in their Professional Pilot program, where I earned my private pilot license and instrument rating. After further consideration, I decided against that career path so I could pursue something that would provide a better family life. I do know how to fly small, single-engine airplanes and I miss it greatly. My favorite part of that experience was flying at night; it was always so calm and the cities and sights always looked so incredible. As for now, I would love to obtain a private pilot – glider rating, so I could continue to enjoy this hobby.

Q: If Linetec gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?

A: It would depend on the time of year. If it were summer, I would use that time to hit the golf course and to go to the cabin in Minocqua. I’m really looking forward to some fishing and swimming at the lake this summer. I also have plans to improve my golf game this year. In the winter, I would use that time to go skiing at Granite Peak and sample a few craft beers at some breweries in the area.

ChristianNeumann-footballQ: What always cheers you up when you think about it?

A: When the Packers won the Super Bowl and when the Badgers went to the Final Four. I’m an avid Wisconsin sports fan and I love following our state’s football and basketball. I’m crossing my fingers for Badger football to make it into the College Football Playoff this year!

 

Linetec People to Know: Jane Kessel

Q: Tell me about your job

Kessel-webA: As the head of HR, I’m responsible for developing and managing many different HR programs. Our team makes sure Linetec is supported with the people resources – number of people, skills and engagement – it needs to service our customers. This means I get involved in developing and implementing a wide range of recruiting initiatives, overseeing programs for our associates to make Linetec a great place to work, developing skills and retaining talent. My team also does lots of company-wide communication. We’re very big on communication at Linetec!

Lately I’ve been working on helping Linetec reorganize our structure to support company growth. Every day I’m doing something with hiring and recruiting. The cool thing is that every day is different. Some days we’re getting the critical tasks done like payroll processing or new hire orientation done. Other days we are planning recognition celebrations, planning training programs, working through a difficult employee problem, or developing policies to help the business run better and to ensure a good employment experience. Most people don’t realize it, but there is also a fair amount of financial and data management in HR and lots of software applications to oversee and manage – HRIS, time keeping, performance review, document management, etc.

I’m lucky to have a team of top-notch HR professionals who work hard to support our associates and managers. They make my job easier. Having been with Linetec for 16 years, I’ve seen the economy give us occasional ups and downs, but overall, Linetec has been mainly ups. With a lot of growth in the business, our customer base depends on our team of associates. It’s also been a tremendous opportunity for my personal growth, through both continuing education and lots of on-the-job experiences, including several assignments outside of HR. We have a very open door environment, so we get a lot of Linetec associates stopping in or calling with questions each day as well.

The laws that HR has to oversee change constantly, so I also need to make sure I’m staying current on any recent developments that could affect Linetec.

Q: What did you do prior to Linetec?

A: Prior to Linetec, I was the HR manager at Greenheck for 10 years. Before that, I worked in HR for a general aviation company in Lincoln, Nebraska. I’ve worked in HR for almost 30 years. I started out in pay, benefits and payroll, and then moved into roles more focused on employee/labor relations, development and HR strategy.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: My best days are when I’m in direct interaction with Linetec associates – whether its working with them to address a question or concern, attending a fun company function, or just talking with them in the break room about what’s happening with their lives or their jobs. We have such amazing associates at Linetec. They are smart, engaged and really care about the company and our customers. The people really are the reason this is such a great place.

I’m also passionate about continuous improvement. I love new, challenging projects and feel really satisfied if we can put something in place that saves people effort, frustration or improves the experience people have interacting with HR. The best part of HR is that we have regular contact with all levels of the organization, our corporate headquarters and the community – we get involved in a lot interesting stuff!

Janek-6webQ: What poses the biggest challenges for you?

A: The current low unemployment levels are a real challenge as we continue to grow and hire. There are just more jobs than people right now. Wisconsin unemployment is at an all-time low. It helps that we have a lot to offer compared to other companies – pay, benefits, culture, and that we are willing to train people from other industries. Linetec’s core values create a unique culture that really attracts people, but we also have to put a lot of time and effort into each hire to make sure they fit the Linetec values-based environment.

Q: Are there any trends that you are seeing more of lately?

A: There is a lot of technology being used in HR these days. It seems everything has an app. We continue to find ways to use technology to streamline processes, but also keep that personal touch that has made us successful. It’s an interesting balance.

People also look at their careers very differently than they did years ago. Associates and candidates want new challenges and lots of training and development. They won’t stay in the same job for many years the way prior generations did. This is exciting because we can employ people in different capacities. It also sometimes can be difficult to handle the movement in the company, and to provide the development and opportunities fast enough to meet everyone’s needs.

Q: What is something you are looking forward to?

A: Spring!

JaneK-3webQ: What is something people don’t know about you?

A: I’m a BIG University of Nebraska Cornhusker fan – that’s where I went to college. Actually, most people do know that about me. Also, I come from a big family. I grew up with 10 brothers and sisters. Family is important to me and I have a lot of it!

Q: If Linetec gave you a surprise three-day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?

A: Golf, kayak, ride my bike and cook.

JaneK-webQ: What always cheers you up when you think about it?

A: My kids! I have a son and daughter – both grown and recently married. I’m very proud of them and their spouses. They are all talented, young professionals who bring a lot of fun and support to my life.

 

Linetec People to Know: Scott Spaid

Scott-Spaid-(2-web)Q: Tell me about your job

A: I represent Linetec as the Northeast Sales Manager. I travel up and down the East Coast looking for new finishing opportunities, as well as servicing existing accounts.

Q: What did you do prior to Linetec?

A: I have always been a salesman. Prior to selling exclusively for Linetec, I represented a company that produced commercial skylights and residential solariums. Before that, I represented an aluminum composite material (ACM) manufacturer.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: I enjoy bringing on a new customer. Our sales cycle is very long so it is very rewarding when a prospect turns into a customer. I also enjoy the interactions with so many different people from so many different backgrounds.

Scott-Spaid-(1-web)Q: What poses the biggest challenges for you?

A: Traffic. Getting around the populated East Coast is a real challenge; a typical two-hour drive can easily turn into a four-hour event.

Q: Are there any finishing type or color trends that you seeing more of lately?

A: I am seeing more and more bright whites, plus mica-flake “metallic” finishes.

Scott-Spaid-(3)Q: What is something you are looking forward to?

A: .I am looking forward to improving my golf swing with lessons, which were a birthday present from my wife.

Q: What is something people don’t know about you?

A: I have camped in every state but six,  plus six Canadian provinces, on a nine-month cross-country trip with my brother.