At all The Lawton Standard Co. foundries, we thrive on safety, reliability, collaboration, integrity, and innovation. We value and encourage a healthy family culture at every location. Gloria Webber is all those things and more.
Gloria Webber is one of our four general managers. She oversees our Temperform location located in Novi, Michigan. She has been with the company for over 24 years!
We wanted to take the time to recognize our general managers and get to know them a little more.
Gloria, what is the role of a general manager?
As general managers, we oversee the daily operations of our businesses. We ensure strategic goals are met by setting target goals and communicating those metrics to our employees. As we track and adjust to meet our goals, we also plan and maintain budgets. We manage employees and help to ensure that our team knows what to do and has everything they need to succeed.
The key part of my job is shaping the work culture. We communicate what needs to be done. That’s number one! We set everybody up with the tools they need to do their jobs such as equipment and skills training. We must support our people. We follow up… and follow up… and follow up. Then we get out of their way and let them do their jobs.
We develop our top employees by teaching, coaching, and mentoring them. We ask for more and set high standards.
What is your educational background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in business from Michigan State University, and I minored in accounting. My major was sales and marketing. After graduation, I went to technical classes for a machine shop and drafting chemistry. I’ve also had four metallurgy courses. I’ve attended an executive management session at the Wharton School of Business.
How long have you been in the casting business?
I’ve been in the casting industry for 24 years! I started as an inside salesperson and worked my way up to sales management than sales director. Since then, I’ve been the general manager at Temperform. Before that, I had 34 years total in the metalworking industry. I had worked in the forging industry before castings and metal steel service center.
What drew you into the casting industry?
I grew up on a farm and I’ve always gravitated toward businesses that make tangible products. I’ve always been fascinated with how things work. Castings are used in so many different industries. It’s really exciting to produce critical components for so many other industries.
It’s fun to me! We make custom casting, so no casting is the same. I mean, technically yes, you have repeat orders, but you always have new projects to work on, so it doesn’t get dull or boring.
What is your leadership style?
I am safety and people-focused. So as far as leadership styles go, I would consider myself a participative leader. I like to use and thrive on collaboration with the team. I embrace servant leadership, which I love the Lawton Standard group for. They help and train us on servant leadership. We always ask, what can I do to help you? And how can I help you succeed? How can I help you achieve your goals?
I find satisfaction in a job well done and of course, we’re doing this to make a profit.
What are your top 3 professional achievements?
My number one achievement is changing the culture at Temperform from some old-school ideas to building a safety-focused and team-oriented team. Servant leadership helps me engage in our workforce to be part of something bigger. I genuinely care about everybody at Temperform. We make sure they’re leaving in the same condition they showed up in. Some might be leaving tired, but everybody’s got all their fingers and toes. That’s job number one, making sure everybody’s safe.
Number two, surviving and thriving in a male-dominated industry, thanks to many mentors and people who have taken me under their wings throughout my career. I survived by being curious, asking questions, and listening, listening, listening!
My last accomplishment is setting the monthly sales record. In January of 2018, I booked $4.4 million dollars when I was the sales manager. That was a challenging time. We had to figure out, wow, we got all this business all of a sudden, but how are we going to make it? It was fun and challenging to plan and lay out how we will get that all made to meet customer demands.
Do you have any tips for those who would like to become a general manager someday?
Number one, I will give them a challenge. Do you enjoy challenges in rapid-fire? If you can stay calm under pressure and know how to ask for help when you need it… this is the job for you! Stay true to who you are by utilizing your strengths and working on your weaknesses. It’s also helpful to have a key teammate that is strong in your weakest area.
My GM playbook is to build a strong team. Develop your top people by teaching, coaching, and mentoring. That way, everyone has the tools they need to do their job. Communicate what needs to be done and empower your team. Follow up and ask for feedback, build on what’s working, fix what isn’t, set high standards, and ask for more.