Teamwork: It’s what drives not only Stevens Industries President Todd Wegman, but is the very essence of the employee-owned, multi-million dollar panel laminator, commercial casework and millwork manufacturer, and private label manufacturer.
Wegman helped spearhead the transition to an ESOP, initiated by then owner Chuck Stevens, to ensure the Teutopolis, Illinois-based company remained with local ownership. Having worked there in high school and college, Wegman left his Chicago-based financial consulting firm and “rejoined” Stevens in 1998, putting the ESOP plan in place. Working in purchasing and sales, he would later serve as vice president before becoming president.
“Knowing many different aspects of the business – the products and our efficiencies – has been one of my strengths,” he said. “New product designs, coupled with efficiencies in innovation, have been the driving force of our success.”
Another strength has been “having good people and letting them do their jobs.” Stevens Advantage Casework and Millwork is among the largest commercial casework and millwork operations in North America. The firm employs about 500 people and under Wegman’s leadership, continues to grow. Stevenswood Laminated Panels are used in office furniture, store fixtures, closet systems, education and healthcare environments.
“We’re helping push new products and innovation in efficiency,” he said. Using a strategy of being “a first follower,” Wegman added, “We may not be the company that dreams up the idea, but we are the one that refines it for the better.”
Refining ideas for the betterment of Stevens – and the industry – is a role that comes naturally to Wegman. “I want to continue to innovate with our products and grow all facets of the business: supply and casework,” he said.
Employee development also is critical, and, Stevens has started a Certified Training Operations Program (CTOP). It will soon host its first graduation.
Community service is important, too. In addition to the United Way, Stevens has given its talents to local projects. “We like to be able to use our skills and resources to create more value than just writing a check,” Wegman added.
It’s that passion that has helped drive Stevens’ – and Wegman’s – success. “Being honest in dealings and having true passion for what you do – those are two of the most important aspects of being successful.”
Outside of work, Wegman enjoys time spent with his wife, Carrie, and their four children, Mary Claire, Ava, Ellie, and Charlie, in a variety of activities.
Education: BS Economics, University of Illinois; MBA Wake Forest
Number of years at the company: 18 years
Number of years in the industry: 18 years
Words that describe you: Team player, with a passion for doing the right thing, for the right reason.
Best advice ever received: Be honest in your dealings and have a true passion for what you do.
Strategy: Put together a team with complementary skill sets to extend your strengths. Rather than micromanaging, hiring good, passionate people and trusting their abilities will lead to growth. Create a culture that drives entrepreneurialism. Entrepreneurialism can be a power tool at all levels of an organization. If we prepare to make decisions, make the decision and own the outcome, we can do great things.