Entries by Ron Kitchens

A conversation with BILL FLUHARTY

WHAT DOES A DIRECTOR OF DESIGN DO?
At a high level, my job is to build and maintain the competencies of design within the Medical division of Stryker. By developing talents of our people and leveraging design methods and tools, I assure that the disciplines of design add value to our company. Design is key to getting the most out of our product development efforts, creating meaningful experiences for our customers and differentiating Stryker from our competition. It’s my job to make sure we leverage design for the fullest benefit to Stryker.

WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
My day is a mix of strategic and tactical discussions with our R&D leadership team, project teams, and design professionals. Projects are mostly focused on defining our future products and services or making sure the products we are currently developing are going to meet the needs of our customers for the next few decades.

LEADER2LEADER: Lori Green

Define leadership.
If you don’t have self-awareness, you can’t lead other people.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
I’ve learned great things from the many leaders who I’ve encountered. I’ve worked for Kraft and Newell Brands, and I had a short stint at the Kellogg Company. While I was able to take things from great leaders at each of those places, I’ve learned that I want to manage in my own way which may be different.

What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?
One of the things that I do for business development marketing is to help teams and other executives craft how we’re going to market back to somebody whether it’s a proposal, qualification packet, or whatever. I decide where my team is going to spend their time and that dictates where the whole group is going to be directing their energies.

LEADER2LEADER: Josh Iocca

Define leadership.
Leading multiple people to a desired vision.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
I pull from anybody that I come in contact with, even my kids on the baseball field. I watch how kids interact, and usually there’s a leader that steps out of the crowd. It’s always interesting to see what causes that. And, I do that in working life. Everyone I come in contact with, I learn something from. If I had to give you two people, the ones that stick out the most (are) definitely my wife, a remarkable person (who) gives me honest feedback, (and) professionally, Mark Welch, director of global systems at Flowserve, (who) is pushing me to look past my limiting beliefs that I’ve placed on myself and is causing me to think beyond myself.

What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?
Every decision I make is important, and (each one is) the most important at the time.

Just Like Dad

The Cekola’s are not what you’d call a typical family. And they know it.

“Everyone looks at us like we’re weird,” laughs Bill Cekola.

If you’re from Kalamazoo, you likely know, or know of, the family. In the off chance that you don’t know them, perhaps you’re familiar with their businesses? They include include Imperial Beverage, Jac’s Cekola’s Pizza, and Chocolatea. You see, what makes the Cekolas atypical is their veritable business empire.

Wear It Well

COMPANY
Edwards Garment

WORLD HEADQUARTERS
4900 S 9th Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

WEBSITE
edwardsgarment.com

EXECUTIVE
Gary Schultz, President and CEO

Rev Up Your Team’s Engine

For many, the thought of team building exercises conjures youthful images of camp counselors leading campers down to the lake or human resources managers struggling to stir up excitement with clichéd activities like the trust fall, Two Truths and a Lie, or game of capture the flag.

More sophisticated options have cropped up, even going as far as “extreme team building” in the form of simulated plane crashes or wilderness survival challenges. However, if you’re looking for something more accessible—and less terrifying—you may find what you need right around the corner.

A Conversation with Dan Martin

AS A VIDEOGRAPHER WHO FOUNDED HIS OWN COMPANY, HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOUR ROLE?
I’m like a rainmaker in training. I’ve shifted from doing things to making things happen. I still am actively involved in almost every key project in some way, but sometimes it’s oversight.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO DO THIS?
Coming up on Christmas time during eighth grade, my parents asked, “What do you want for Christmas?” I said, “I really want a video camera.” They said, “That’s it’s way too expensive.” The one I was looking at was $750. My mom made a deal. She said, “We will do this, if this is your present for your birthday and for Christmas.” My Aunt Ellen, always a very close family member to our family, went in half with them.

LEADER2LEADER: Deborah Jackson

Define leadership.
Teachers, individually or collectively, influencing others to improve teaching and learning for students.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
Linda Comer, my child’s elementary principal. Her focus was on building relationships with all the students.

What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?
Being a teacher-leader, you have to first facilitate the increase of student learning and achievement. As an individual teacher, you have to be willing to take some risks.