Sirois Tool CEO Alan Ortner Featured on “Made in America” Podcast
In May, Sirois Tool CEO Alan Ortner was interviewed on the Made in America podcast with Ari Santiago. The interview lasted just over 41 minutes. During that time, Ortner shared his career background, his history with Sirois Tool, and the company’s successes, challenges, and acquisitions. He also discussed productivity, apprenticeships, and Sirois Tool’s effective approach to attracting, engaging, and retaining good employees.
Ortner, who holds degrees in accounting, business, and tax law, began working at Sirois Tool in 1978. Eight years later, he left the company to finish law school and explore different careers. He returned in 1992 when Dan Sirois offered him the opportunity to buy into the company. The company has steadily diversified and grown ever since.
“In 1992 we were still about 70 percent in the bearing industry, and today, the bearing industry is maybe 20 percent of the business,” Ortner says. Sirois Tool now also serves the aerospace, automotive, firearm, and medical industries, among others. Of these, Ortner says the medical industry was the most challenging to penetrate.
“They already had vendors,” he says. The company’s big break came when a customer who had been in the automotive industry made a career change into the medical industry. “When he needed tooling he called us,” Ortner says. He credits most of the company’s growth to similar word-of-mouth referrals.
When it comes to the company’s productivity, Ortner is quick to credit his employees. “We try to involve the employees, because when the ideas come from the shop floor up, they’re definitely better accepted by everybody, and people understand that we’re listening to what they have to say. Those are usually the best ideas that we get. The stuff that comes from the top down, not so much”, he says with a humble laugh.
As for his career success, Ortner credits his former mentor, Dan Sirois, and industry organizations like the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), where he now serves as chairman of the board.
“The connections I’ve made and the people I’ve become friends with through that have certainly helped me grow”, Ortner says. But personal growth isn’t the only reason he continues to volunteer. “I also am doing it because I want to give back to the industry that has done so much for me,” he says.
To watch the podcast on YouTube visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWxYzbrgdSI.