Stropki lays out blueprint for success in business
Last year 2,200 job fairs advertised welding as an occupation ready and willing to hire hard workers. Among the employers was Lincoln Electric.
John Stropki, chairman, president and CEO of Lincoln Electric Holdings, visited the North Iowa Area Community Auditorium on February 24 to speak to a crowd of 50 plus attendees and discuss the future of industry and manufacturing in the economy.
Josh Byrnes, chairperson of the Ag and Industrial Departments at NIACC, spoke highly in his introduction of Stropki.
“When explaining to my wife how significant this was, I told her it was kind of like bringing Martha Stewart into a home ec classroom,” Byrnes said.
Founded in 1895 by John and James Lincoln, Lincoln paid workers based on their production rather than hourly wages, so that workers would work harder and stay motivated.
The strategy continues to work for everybody -- boss, consumer and employee alike.
Stropki explained to the audience the unique business traits Lincoln has that make it the world’s leading manufacturer today. “At Lincoln we have a profit sharing program,” Stropki said. “In 2008 this program allowed us to dish out $87 million in bonuses to 3,000 employees.” That’s an average of $29,000 per bonus.
Lincoln handles everything ranging from shipbuilding to automotives and has been doing so for the last 114 years with only six CEO job turnovers, which is unheard of in the business world considering Ford Motor Company has equaled that number in the last 29 years.
Born in Cleveland, Stropki didn’t inherit the responsibility of becoming a Lincoln Electric millionaire CEO; he worked for it.
His hard work when he was in college brought him into welding, automotives, infrastructure and pipeline construction. As an engineering student at Purdue, he brought in money to pay for school by working at a Cleveland facility during the summer.
Until 1998 he acquired degrees (including his MBA from Indiana University) and leadership roles (executive and vice president positions) until he became the head of Lincoln Electric in June 2004 when he was appointed CEO of the company.
Stropki’s success serves as a blueprint for companies that want to survive in the future and meet the current economic challenges faced today.