He’s a fourth generation Lippert, and he’s ready to lead Hamilton into the next age of innovation and automation as our new President. Where are his priorities? What’s his secret sauce? And just how does he plan to prank his wife next Halloween? We asked Mark Lippert all the burning questions about accountability, continuous improvement and building a winning culture.
You’re only a few days into your official role. How’s it going?
Mark: It’s a little surreal. [Retiring leaders] Dave and Steve were such regular figureheads with the company for so long. It was pretty strange to see them packing up. They will be sorely missed. Thankfully though, the majority of our leadership team is intact and performing well. We’ve also brought in some great new talent in the marketing and human resources arena that I’m super excited about.
What’s one big thing you learned from Dave & Steve?
Mark: That respect and kindness are everything. They had a lot of empathy for everyone they worked with.
What are your new day-to-day responsibilities?
Mark:The number one thing is establishing and communicating the vision for the company. And also being the brand steward of the corporate culture—bringing shape and meaning to our core values and making sure we are living and breathing them every day.
How would you say we’re doing on those today?
Mark: I would say we’re doing great on Integrity and Respect. I really want to push us more on areas like Continuous Improvement, Accountability and Empowerment. Like many companies in manufacturing, we have been challenged with supply chain issues. We also went through a big move recently, and we’ve hired many new people. But we have also been blessed with a lot of business. All the more reason why we have to show a lot of initiative in how we can do better operationally. Employee development and training is another big strategic goal of mine. I want our development and training to be a competitive edge for us. So we’re going to take a fresh look at all of our roles and responsibilities, too. We’re also going to continue to expand and refine our product offering to make sure we’re hitting the right sweet spot. And I want to make sure we’re continuing to invest in digital technologies to streamline processes and procedures.
We know that’s a big love of yours.
Mark: (laughs) Yes, I’m kind of a big tech nerd. I have all these smart switches that I control my home with. I drive my wife a little crazy. I could turn my house into a sauna right now if I wanted to. Or open all the blinds and lights and make her feel like the house was possessed just for fun.
What are you most excited about?
Mark: I think developing and unleashing the untapped potential of our employees. Watching them grow and develop and step up to be more successful, both individually and collectively. It’s not only rewarding for them, but it translates into a better experience for our customers.
What are some of your challenges?
Mark: I want to make sure we’re building a foundation of trust in everything we do. It’s hard to quantify exactly how important trust is for a business. But it’s invaluable. Obviously in my new role, I want to be able to trust in my team and have them trust in me. It doesn’t happen overnight. Gaining trust takes work. But trust and relationships are crucial when it comes to the success of any business.
What are your hopes for the future of Hamilton?
Mark: I’ve used this metaphor before, but my goal has always been to be best-in-class in what we choose to do. And I mean everything, not just casters. If we focus on machining, then I want us to be best-in-class in machining—across industries, not just in the caster industry. I’m a big believer in benchmarking. If we want to improve our marketing efforts, then I want to look at another company that does great things in marketing and see what we can borrow from them. I’m also a big product guy. The product has to speak for itself and perform. The product’s performance is a high priority for me because ultimately that’s what’s going to sustain our business.
What are some brands that you admire and why?
Mark: Yeti. Because of what they stand for in terms of quality products. They don’t try to be everything to everybody. And they’re not afraid to charge good money for a high-quality product. I also like Tesla for the technology and what they stand for. They’ve been the underdog and penetrated the automotive industry, which is so difficult to take market share from.
Mark, we’re going to miss you editing Revolution in your previous role as VP of Marketing. You always had the best ideas and called us out when we were being too weird. But we also can’t wait to celebrate all the great initiatives you’ll be leading right here every month on the pages of this blog, so we guess you could say one good thing leads to another. Onward and upward, Chief!