By Tim Heston
Drive on Interstate 41 past Lomira, Wis., and you’ll see an LED sign outside The Jor-Mac Co., a custom fabricator that’s one among
many in the region. But that sign sets it apart. It
displays job openings touting not your usual shi;
work. Want to work three 12-hour days? A weekend shi; and have most of your weekdays free? At
Jor-Mac, you have options.
The job opportunities hint at a di;erent kind of
metal fabricator, and it becomes immediately apparent when talking with Kelly Sayles, president and
general manager of the 140-employee operation.
Sayles doesn’t deny that finding good people re-
mains one of the company’s greatest challenges. But
she and her management team also have taken con-
crete steps to attract the best employees they can.
It’s apparently working. This year revenue will be
about 30 percent higher than it was last year, and
Sayles said she expects the fabricator to maintain
15 percent annual growth over the next three years.
“We’re firing on all cylinders,” said Mike Kwakkel,
director of operations. “We’re building a new facility
across the street that eventually will mirror what we
do now in our current facility. We’re opening up a
lot more capacity, which includes our second auto-powder-paint line and the company’s fourth fiber
laser with automation.”
If people leave it’s usually within the first few
weeks from the date of hire. “They usually leave
because they just aren’t committed to our culture,”
Sayles said, adding that a;er that initial period,
most choose to stay, and they do so because of the
What defines that culture, exactly? “If something
doesn’t serve the customer, it doesn’t have value,”
Sayles said. “It’s surprising that not everyone understands this concept.” But she added that if they
do, they tend to stay. One employee has been with
the company for more than five decades.
How does the company do it? Sources described
various techniques that could be grouped into two
areas, time and talent, and both are rooted in a solid
foundation of modern technology and revenue diversification.
People spend most of their waking hours at work,
and yet work is just one puzzle piece of life. Family
and community commitments matter, and that’s a
big reason that flexible work schedules are such a
selling point for many jobs. Some firms, especially
tech companies, don’t even institute formal work
hours. As long as people get their work done on
time, it doesn’t matter when or where they do it.
This makes sense for workers who stare at laptop
SHAPING A FABRICATOR TO
How recruiting talent drives decisions
at Wisconsin fabricator
The LED sign outside Jor-Mac’s facility shows multiple
job openings and, most significant, the various shi;s
that are available.