Nicole Wolter Featured as “Leadership in the Gear Industry” Panelist at AGMA Strategic Resources Network Event
HM Manufacturing President and CEO Nicole Wolter was invited by the American Gear Manufacturers Association to participate as a panelist at the Strategic Resources Network event in Chicago last week. The event spanned two days with a carefully curated schedule that allowed for attendees to network and grow within the gear industry. Day one included open forum discussion on industry hot topics, keynote speakers, demonstrations, and the “Leadership in the Gear Industry Panel”; day two was comprised of three guided tours of manufacturing facilities in the area.
In addition to Wolter, the panel, moderated by AGMA Committee Chairman, Ross Wegryn-Jones of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, included Cory Ooyen (President of Global Gear and Machining) and Zen Cichon (President of Innovative Rack and Gear). Each panelist spoke to common challenges and industry trends including, but not limited to, automation, the increasing impact of social media, and succession.
Widely discussed was automation and how it is changing the gear industry. Wolter, when speaking to its impact on HM Manufacturing, shared that as a custom manufacturer that changes over 10-12 times per day, with lot sizes of 1-1,000 pieces, automation does not benefit them in the way it would a company with large lot sizes. She explained that even with the advances in automation, IIOT, and robotics, the core of HM Manufacturing’s immediate future lies within investing in advanced technology, updated machining centers, and R&D. These investments produce tooling and fixtures that aid in the quick changeover system developed and utilized by HM Manufacturing. This system saves, on average, 45 minutes to one hour per set-up. In support, the company has invested over half a million dollars in new capital equipment in the last year to broaden capabilities.
HM’s social media marketing strategy is reflective of the value placed on highly skilled employees. The purpose, according to Wolter, is to establish high quality as an expected standard, and exceptional company culture as the truly distinguishing feature. “We are intentional about what is posted on social media,” says Wolter, “it isn’t just product after product. It’s people that we want to feature”. She further explains that HM employees are constantly enhancing their expertise through their diligent work and company funded certifications—which deserves to be celebrated, from the HM social media platforms to the company’s “Hall of Fame”.
As a proven industry expert, Wolter had much to contribute to the discussion of succession. She shared her perspective, recommending a mindful, realistic approach.
Growing up, Jeff didn’t have a select plan on what he wanted to pursue after high school. It wasn’t until he attended a vocational school for automotive repair that he learned about the jobs options available with degrees and certifications for machining, solid works and programming. Once he started courses at CLC, his skill set and certifications grew exponentially. Jeff is now a part of HM Manufacturing’s CAD department and specializes in design and engineering for our custom, quality power transmission components. He now has a multitude of credentials ranging from Certified Solidworks Professional in Drawing Tools to NIMS certified in Turning I and II and Interpreting Gear Inspection through the AGMA. He has mentioned how the manufacturing industry has allowed him to thrive in a career that is exciting and interesting. “I have always enjoyed learning new things and getting my hands dirty. HM is a great place to work,friendly faces and warm smiles. I enjoy the new challenge that our customers bring us from the food processing industry, aerospace, and packaging industry; to name a few. I look forward to getting more in to the tight tolerance aerospace industry.”
Jeff also added a few words of wisdom towards the younger generation, “for ones in high school who are considering a career in manufacturing, whether it is starting in a shop, or going to school, I say do it.” HM is proud to offer internships, apprenticeships and shadow opportunities to local high schools in our community. Jeff is a prime example to show students that manufacturing is a proven path for success.
Just recently Jeff has been working with AGMA and is officially certified for Basic Training for Gear Manufacturing through AGMA This course taught correct setup and rigidity to manufacture quality pieces on thegear hobber, gave an in-depth look on gear inspection charts, discussed correct gear geometry terminology and differentiated the specific processes for designed and processing parts. Congratulations Jeff on all of your hard work and dedication towards advancing your knowledge and skillset! We are proud of you and all your accomplishments and we’re excited to see you continue to excel as an HM team member.
On March 6th, 2019 HM Manufacturing President and CEO Nicole Wolter participated in the Small Business Panel at the Latino Coalition and Job Creators Network’s 2019 Legislative Summit at the Park Hyatt in Washington D.C. With over 250 attendees, the Summit featured small business owners, entrepreneurs, and elected officials discussing the public policy issues key to Hispanic business owners and leaders.
As part of the Summit, Wolter joined the Small Business Panel: “Tax Cuts One Full Year Later: Effects on Small Businesses and Works” alongside Dina Rubio, owner of Don Ramon’s Restaurant, Alfredo Ortiz, President and CEO of Job Creators Network, and moderator Elaine Parker, CCO of Job Creators Network. The panel highlighted the ways small businesses were helped by the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.”
During the panel discussion, Wolter explained how the tax cuts helped HM Manufacturing remain competitive, grow product lines, and re-invest in technology. The tax cuts specifically allowed HM Manufacturing to write off the purchase of $500,000 of capital equipment, helping the company create three new positions. HM Manufacturing was also able to provide pay raises, as well as bonuses, and gave back to the local community with equipment and financial donations. Additionally, HM Manufacturing was able to expand the benefits offered to employees. “We were able to give everybody paid healthcare,“ Wolter said on the panel. “100%. None of it comes out of our employee’s paycheck.”
The headliner of the event, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, acknowledged the small business success of particularly Latina women and affirmed his administration’s commitment to unlocking the Latino community’s full potential by removing government restrictions and red tape. “Small Businesses are the engine of the American economy,” Vice President Pence stated. “That’s why we’ve been working tirelessly to help make it possible for you to invest in your workers and grow your businesses.“
Nicole Wolter was one of five attendees given the opportunity to meet privately with Vice President Pence. Dina Rubio, Alfredo Ortiz, and Elaine Parker from the small business panel, as well as Hector V. Barreto, the chairman of the Latino Coalition, were also in attendance.
Wolter looks forward to continuing her work with the Job Creators Network and the Latino Coalition to advance the interests of not just Latino-owned, but of all businesses. She will remain supportive of politicians and public policies that benefit small businesses and the economy. The Small Business Panel featuring Nicole and the entire 2019 Legislative Summit can be viewed online here.
On Thursday, February 21st, 2019, HM Manufacturing President and CEO Nicole Wolter participated in the STEP Forward: Illinois networking event. The STEP Forward: Illinois event is part of Manufacturing Institute’s larger STEP Ahead initiative, a program designed to empower women in science, technology, engineering, and production (STEP) careers.
As part of the networking event, Wolter sat on the LEAD the Next Generation panel with Samantha Chmielewski (Custom Aluminum Products) and JoAnna Simek (BDK) to discuss how manufacturing companies can help the next generation of workers realize the many benefits of pursuing a STEP career.
On the panel, Wolter highlighted the need for companies to consider what Generation Z is looking for in the workplace in an effort to attract them to careers in STEP. “While there are distinct differences between millennials and generation Z, we need to be cognizant that the next wave in our workforce is dedicated to technology, and social media and passionate about diversity” Wolter said. “This is a generation with high expectations and aspirations but they are willing to work hard for the right company and that is important knowledge to know as employers and business owners.”
According to Pew Research Center, Generation Z, or people born after 1996, already represent around 5% of the workforce and are the fastest growing portion of the workforce. Door of Clubs polled 5,000 members of Gen Z on what they were looking for from employers and the results were surprising. Unlike their older Millennial counterparts, over a third of Gen Z value mentorship as the most important benefit and nearly 40% of Gen Z valued health care as the top benefit. While many Millennials value working remotely and flexible hours, the next generation of workers finds a high degree of autonomy and work culture more important than salary and raises. The main objective for many of Gen Z is an empowering work culture.
HM Manufacturing is committed to showing Generation Z the opportunities a career in manufacturing has to offer. In fact, we find Generation Z shares many of the same values in a workplace culture that we do. We currently offer internships, including a six-week program starting with Sophomores in High School. Our company culture has always been based on being a family business and we value the one-on-one mentorship between employees and both the founder of the company and the CEO that comes with that. HM Manufacturing even offers 100% employer paid health care, one of the most important benefits to Generation Z, to our employees.
Manufacturing companies are positioned to recruit Generation Z to careers in the industry. However, if manufacturing wants to close the skills gap, companies need to work on showing the benefits of a career in manufacturing and adapt to meet the changing needs of a younger workforce.
HM Manufacturing is pleased to announce The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has elected our President and CEO Nicole Wolter to its Board of Directors. Wolter also serves on the Technology & Manufacturing Association Executive Board, McHenry High School Advisory Board, and the TMA Education Foundation Board.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce promotes legislation and public policies designed to stimulate economic growth and improve the state’s business climate. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce also seeks to provide up to date and accurate information to its members, Illinois employers, and the public.
HM Manufacturing is committed to meeting the needs and expectations of our customers, which is why we have completed the International Organization for Standardization 9001:2015 Certification. An independent, non-governmental international organization, ISO creates industry standards designed to provide quality, safety, and efficiency.
The ISO 9000 family of quality management system standards is designed to help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders while meeting statutory and regulatory requirements related to a product or service.
The ISO 9001:2015 Certification helps assure our current and prospective customers that we are serious about the quality of our products. This certification addresses risk and opportunities throughout the company and shows our commitment in leadership. With ISO recognizing HM for its quality systems and processes, our customers know that they can trust us to manage their products and projects, in the same careful way they would themselves.
Friday, August 24th, our president and CEO Nicole Wolter, represented HM Manufacturing at the ribbon cutting ceremony for McHenry High School’s new INCubatoredu program that was funded solely on donations to the school. Nicole Wolter resides on both the manufacturing board and is an active mentor for their program, which is an entrepreneurial class.
HM is a proud contributor of the new $50,000 program that will enable students to come up with solutions to today's problems with original products and technology. Through teamwork, students will develop business plans and learn about the marketing, financial aspects and product design for their unique solution. The innovative classroom consists of computers and meeting spaces designed to aid students to the creation of their products and give them an idea of what real-world opportunities and jobs could look like in their futures.
“It's important to give these dedicated students the ability to generate and manufacture their ideas.” Wolter stated, “It's very possible that a design a student makes through this course could become a legitimate business, which is what motivated HM to donate. We believe in supporting the future generations and work to cultivate the young minds into the entrepreneurial way of life.”
Congratulations to Camille Stewart, who has been with HM Manufacturing for 5 years and continues to be an essential asset to our company.
Camille started at HM working part time, helping in the finance department. Six months later she became a fulltime employee and took the initiative to work on organizing the company and create an aspect of consistent customer service. Since she has been at HM, she has worked all around the office and has become HM’s very own, jack of all trades. Whether it is communicating with customers, over seeing office operations, scheduling the shop, handling purchase orders and following up on leads with potential customers, Camille has done it all.
She has said it’s her favorite thing to be able to communicate with customers, help answer questions, give them peace of mind and ensure them that their orders are operating smoothly. Camille currently leads the customer service department and mentions how important the company culture is and how it can impact the entire team. Camille knows first hand how focus and consistency with organization and team work has made HM Manufacturing a pleasant and cooperative place to work.
As the head of the department, Camille knows about leadership and what it takes to be successful, “communication, consistency and follow up” she said, “along with a balance of sense of humor and a positive attitude is what makes HM unique to our customers.” She notes that to get a good outcome, one must have good input. “It’s equally important, to take pride in what you do,” states Stewart. At the end of the day, a paycheck is nice, but for her it doesn’t equate to the positive feedback she receives after a job well done. While everyday is different and new obstacles arise, she enjoys figuring out the best solution with her natural problem solving instinct.
The team spirit of HM Manufacturing shines through when Camille mentions how President and CEO, Nicole Wolter, has affected her life for the better. “I wouldn’t be where I am without her. The support she has given means a lot and it has allowed me to move up and take on more responsibility. Nicole is always patient and empowers everyone to be the best they can, and she helps along the whole way,” says Stewart. In a time of celebration for her last five years spent at HM, Camille remains humble and notes that you have to stay grateful for everything life gives you, good or bad because without it, you wouldn't be where you are now.
Job Creators Network, the country’s premier advocacy and educational resource for small business, released a video featuring HM Manufacturing’s President and CEO Nicole Wolter. The video has been sent to Capitol Hill to show Congress that the Tax Cuts Work. Wolter reinvested her tax savings in higher wages for employees and new capital equipment. “Because of the tax cuts, we were able to provide all of our employees with bonuses, raises, and 100 percent paid health care,” said Wolter.
For more stories like HM Manufacturing’s visit https://taxcutswork.com/stories/
On April 30th, 2018, HM Manufacturing hosted the Job Creators Network’s “Tax Cuts Work” tour at our facilities in Wauconda, IL. Lead by Alfredo Ortiz, the JCN’s “Tax Cuts Work” tour is stopping in cities around the country to share the stories of businesses and Americans positively impacted by the recent tax cuts. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has helped millions of Americans and small businesses by relieving their tax burdens and allowing companies to invest in themselves and their workers. Congressman Randy Hultgren, joined by fellow-Congressman Peter Roskam, highlighted why they voted for the tax bill, and how they have already seen it positively impact their constituents.
State Senator McConchie was also in attendance to show his support for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
In addition to hosting the event, our President and CEO Nicole Wolter introduced Congressman Hultgren and detailed how HM has been benefitted from the tax cuts. Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, HM Manufacturing will be purchasing two pieces of equipment at IMTS, valued at over $500,000. We were able to send multiple employees for extra training to enhance not only their skill-set, but also increase their pay scale. Current employees have received pay raises, bonuses, and increased benefits along with new rewards and incentives programs. For instance, we are still able to provide employees with 100% paid health care. With the corporate tax rate reduced, we are able to grow and add to our workforce and machinery. HM Manufacturing recently updated our CAD/CAM software and machinery and opened a sales office in Santa Barbara, CA.
Austin Rabine, General Manager of Rabine Paving America and Kathy Gilmore, President of VIA, also provided their thoughts and insights on the new tax bill. Immediately following the event, Nicole Wolter gave Congressman Hultgren and other rally attendees a tour of HM Manufacturing’s facilities.