Industryweek 7267 Rosenbauer

Leadership & Strategy: Fostering a Flame-Resistant Culture

Aug. 12, 2014
Who better to craft the fire trucks being used in every city than the ones who use them every day, the ones putting their lives on the line?

When the alarm sounds, the firefighters drop everything and rush out the door to answer the call.

But in Lyons, SD they aren't leaving the fire station. They're leaving the shop floor.

At Rosenbauer America, a fire fighting vehicle plant just outside of Sioux Falls, a scanner crackles in the front office, alerting those listening to local emergencies. As calls come in, they are announced over the loud speaker and the appropriate employees respond.

The reason President Harold Boer promotes this mass exodus of the factory?

"It's the right thing to do."

At any given time, anywhere from 20 to 30 of the 280-person operation are volunteer firefighters, including Boer, who is the local fire chief.

And it makes sense: who better to craft the machines being used in every city than the ones who use them every day, the ones putting their lives on the line?  

And the commonplace fire calls ringing through the factory serve as daily reminders of what those trucks are made to do, what purpose is being served by their manufacture.

Boer fosters this culture of service, of commitment through his leadership at Rosenbauer.

He walks the floors and knows employees by name.

He even takes service calls from customers at night at home, even as the business continues to grow and expand into new markets, with the company exporting 50% of its products to places like Colombia, Chile and Saudi Arabia.

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