Meet a Partner – FORCE America

FORCE America is one of the leading suppliers of motion and control systems in North America. For nearly 60 years, FORCE America has provided systems and components to the on and off highway mobile markets.

FORCE America began employee ownership in 1976. The ownership mentality has driven our skilled workforce ever since. Our dedication to customer service is unparalleled in our industry. With a steadfast focus on the customer, we’ve developed innovative products and established deep partnerships with suppliers to fuel FORCE America’s growth. Learn More

Meet a few of FORCE America’s employees

SCOTT GOEBEL
VariTech Assembly Lead
Alexandria, Minnesota

What is my  job like?

goebelAt VariTech, we build deicing equipment and sprayers that go into dump trucks to treat icy roads with a salt brine solution. We also build the systems that make the brine to put on roads. As an Assembly Lead, my role to ensure my team is getting work done on time. I also assist in making sure we have the tools and know how to complete each job.

The outgoing side of my personality helps with my job by making it easier to talk with other employees and understand what issues they are having. My work ethic helps a lot. Other people see me working hard and they want to follow my example. I enjoy coming to work and look forward to the challenges that I may come across each day. I also like seeing the people that I work with.

The most challenging thing that I get to do being the Lead Assembly Tech is getting to build a lot of the custom stuff that we don’t do very often. I get to work close with the salesmen to make sure that it meets what the customer needs.

Classes to take

My favorite classes in high school were Woods and Mechanics. I enjoyed them because they brought me a different type of challenge. I liked being able to figure out why an engine wasn’t working or how to build different things.

That hard work and dedication paid off. I realized that no matter what you do, as long as you are learning, it will benefit you in the long run. It does not matter if you make a couple of mistakes as long as you learn from them.

How I got here

  • High School Diploma from Luverne High School
  • Diploma from Alexandria Technical college for Marine and Small Engines

I went to a tech college to study marine and small engines. That has helped me out by increasing my mechanical aptitude. It helps me figure out how things work and how to trouble shoot products. I also played a lot of sports in high school and they taught me about leadership and hard work.


ANGELA SPEES
Plant Manager, Electrical Division
Waukesha, Wisconsin

What is my  job like?

speesAs the Plant Manager, I ensure that the team is providing our customers with a quality product that is defect free, ships to the customer on-time, and is built in an efficient manner so that we are cost competitive within the industry.  Additionally, I help prepare our division’s yearly budget, contribute to our future growth plans, strategize how to meet our growth goals, decide what capital expenditures should be made, and train and develop our employees.

Every morning, I attend a meeting where the daily goals and any concerns that could affect the schedule are discussed. After that, a variety of meetings and tasks could occur. Many times, one day is not like another. Some days, I will be leading meetings to discuss improving processes, documentation, or procedures for our products. Other days, I am tracking financial, quality, and production numbers for the division in Excel.  In between all of this, I train, coach, and guide employees on various situations that arise while building and/or maintaining relationships with them.

The personality traits that are significant to be successful in this role are loving to help people, and being detail oriented. Because of the amount of tasks that need to be completed daily, a Plant Manager needs to have good people skills so they can get the work done effectively through their team members.

Classes to take

My favorite subjects in school were Trigonometry, Physics, and Art Metals. I enjoyed solving problems so Trigonometry was the most fun. Physics was great because that class finally brought math and science together and showed how it all related to the real world.  It wasn’t just solving problems, it was figuring out why the world works the way it does and calculating the outcome of energy, motion, force, etc. Art Metals tapped into my creative side. I really enjoy building things and working with my hands, so for me, Art Metals was better than drawing or painting (and I was better at it too).

My advice would be to take a larger variety of classes to help gauge where your main interests are.

How I got here

  • High School diploma – Mukwonago High School
  • AAS Electronics Technology diploma – ITT Technical Institute
  • BSBA diploma – Cardinal Stritch University
  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certificate – Purdue University

First, I got my two year degree in Electronics while working for an electronic calibration company and was able to learn how to use different test equipment. After graduation, I got a job in an electronics department building data acquisition systems and harnessing for a dynamometer company. I had the variety I was looking for by allowing me to build and use my hands plus it gave me an outlet to be creative and taught me to build relationships with my team members. I became the lead for the department because of my organizational skills. I did well in this position, but as much as I enjoyed building, I was better at coordinating projects, keeping jobs on schedule, and training the team.

Therefore, I went back to school for my bachelors degree in Business Administration and found my Production Manager job at FORCE America. After two years as Production Manager, I applied for the Plant Manager role and have held that position for the last two and a half years.

All of my experience has taught me what my strengths and weaknesses are which helped me prepare for my current role. Even though my position uses a lot of my strengths , I surround myself with people that can “fill in” for my weaknesses. Because I have been there, I understand the challenges that occur on the shop floor  making me better at guiding my team on how to reduce our inefficiencies, strengthen our quality, and ensure on-time delivery.


TRENT HINRICHS
OEM Support, FORCE America
Burnsville, Minnesota

hinrichsWhat is my job like?

I’m responsible for supporting Sales Territory Managers. This involves creating bills of material, sizing components that will get the job done, requesting special pricing on parts, and helping customers with any other needs. I discuss any new ideas and review customer information/products with the Sales Territory Managers. A typical day at my job involves emailing and talking to customers and vendors, going through hydraulic formulas to find out what product is capable of doing the job they require, working with our Engineering team on new product designs, and documenting material for future builds.

I’ve really enjoyed my path so far through the Fluid Power Industry. To get where I’m at today took hard work, dedication, and the desire to learn. I’m always open to learning more about Fluid Power and the different products that are out there. When a Sales Territory Manager or a customer has an issue with a hydraulic system, I want to be there helping them out along the way.

Previous role

Assembly Technician, FORCE America
Burnsville, Minnesota

In this role, I built and tested hydraulic pumps, valves, motors, power take offs, power units, etc. Along with building new product, I also did repairs on older used product that customers had brought back.

The products I built were dependent on what the salesmen have sold to our customers. If I had a gear pump or motor to build, we had to machine ports into the housings. Every motor and valve we built needed to be tested to be sure all functions were working correctly. There is also Will Call at my local Sales/Service Center where we got multiple walk-ins with something different every day. I am determined, focused, and passionate, and they all play a significant part in my job.

The most challenging part of this role was troubleshooting. When I tested a product that wasn’t performing like it should, I had to think outside of the box to figure what went wrong.

Classes to take

A couple of my favorite classes were Small Engines, Shop, and Math. In Small Engines class I enjoyed getting my hands dirty and turning wrenches, while understanding how an engine worked. Shop class involved running tools and learning how to weld, which helped me when I was an Assembly Technician. Math class has helped me a lot because of all the different types of formulas I use daily on sizing hydraulic systems.

I highly recommend doing Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) your senior year to save time, money, and mostly to get ahead of the game. Never give up and always try your best, find a profession that you really enjoy!

How I got here

  • High School Diploma from Lakeville South High School
  • AAS (Associate of Applied Science Degree) from Hennepin Technical College
  • Certified Fluid Power Specialist while going to school at Hennepin Tech and interning at FORCE America.
  • While I was going to Fluid Power schooling, I interned with FORCE America for two years. Doing that helped me understand more material in class and for when I went full time.

 


BOB BRAOVAC
Sr. Sales Territory Manager
Waukesha, Wisconsin

What is my  job like?

braovacMy role is to take care of customers in need of hydraulics and controls within the southeastern part of Wisconsin. These customers include both municipal accounts (dealing with counties, cities, and villages) and OEM (original equipment manufacturers) accounts spreading across a very large market of mobile hydraulic users. Our department at FORCE America makes sure that we provide quality products to meet customers requirements for machines like construction equipment, snow plow equipment, cranes, digging machines, sewer equipment, railroad equipment, and farming equipment just to highlight a few areas. We are the first point of contact that a customer has with our company.

My job is centered around customer care and consulting. As a salesman, I spend most of my time talking to customers to find solutions to their problems or challenges around machine hydraulics and controls. Being in outside sales, I travel to different accounts daily. My job is a high mix, high variety, of time spent in and out of office with customers and then again at the local FORCE America Sales/Service Center coordinating sales efforts and preparing sales quotes for customers. The high mix comes in when I am involved in opportunity identification, design, sales and service parts. High variety applies when traveling and dealing with the endless opportunities in different markets and customer bases.

A personality that is outgoing, high energy, persistent, caring, and competitive is required for my job. All these attributes help generate sales for FORCE America and serve the customer to the highest level.  Engineering and mechanical aptitude help in my role as well.

Everyday is different and has a new opportunity waiting for me. Challenges and customer interactions take place everyday. I like helping people figure out problems and selling them FORCE America products which makes it a great fit for a career.

Classes to take

Math/Geometry – These subjects contain very logical processes that made sense to me. Science Labs/ Physics – I felt achievement from conducting experiments and logging results to come up with answers. Physical education/ GYM – I loved the challenge of sport and being with people on a team facing challenges. I especially liked when I would win at a sport or challenge.

I would allow myself to try a lot of different areas of interest and when I found an area of high interest, that challenged me, but was fun, I would concentrate that field of study. I would be open to opportunities that were not just going with the flow of all the other kids and friends. Being different by having interests that don’t align with typical career paths of being a doctor, engineer, lawyer, dentist, of just businessman IS GOOD. Having a skill set that is unique and sought after, can be very rewarding professionally and provide a good paying job.

How I got here

  • High School Diploma from Marquette University High School 1990
  • BSMET (Mechanical Engineering Technologies) from Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) 1994
  • Certified Fluid Power Specialist in 1997 while working at FORCE America, Inc.

I worked as an engineering intern for Harley-Davidson throughout college in design, manufacturing and quality departments. For me, the day in and day out part of that job did not feed my need for new and different opportunities. I was also limited to just the field of motorcycles. My senior design project before graduating was based around fluid power and really drew my attention. Soon after that project ended, I took a job opportunity at FORCE America. Hydraulics opened my eyes to a field of endless opportunities and markets.

The most challenging part of my role is making sure that all my customers are taken care of.  The work load can be heavy and require longer days… However that also can translate into making more money.


HARMON QUESENBERRY
Regional Sales Manager
Burnsville, Minnesota

What is my  job like?

quesenberyOur department is responsible for generating revenue. We grow sales by gaining market share with existing customers and continually prospecting for new customers to gain their business.

My ability to listen to what the customer’s needs are and to listen to the needs of my own salesmen are important at helping me do well as a Regional Sales Manager. I listen to input from both sides and take that into consideration when I make my decisions.

I enjoy being part of a team that provides solutions to our customers that exceed their expectations and provide improvements for their equipment. Our customer base at FORCE America is so diverse that we are always working on something different.

Classes to take

My favorite classes in high school were Math related. They were easier for me to understand and figure out the formulas required to solve the problems.  I also enjoyed Architectural Design trying to figure out the design process and what makes the most sense for floor plans. Lastly, in the Woodworking classes, I really enjoyed building projects and I still use what I have learned in these classes both in my work and personal life.

My advice to students would be to ask questions! Do not be afraid to ask questions to learn as much as you can about a topic. Then be patient and persistent working to achieve your goals.

How I got here

  • High School Diploma from Springfield Public High School
  • Diploma from Minnesota West Technical College in Granite Falls, MN – Fluid Power
  • Certified Fluid Power Specialist obtained while at Minnesota West and maintained while working at FORCE America
  • Certifications in: Commercial Valves, Filtration Products, Piston Pumps, Weatherhead Products, Motors, Threaded Cartridge Valves

I went to school at Southwest Technical College in Granite Falls, MN for Fluid Power.  This course provided me the background and basic principals of the fluid power industry.  It gave me the tools that I needed to be able to learn about products and systems once I started working. Fortunately, my first job out of school was at FORCE America. I started in the shop and this is where the learning really began. I was now building/assembling the products and systems that our sales team was selling. I knew the basic principals of hydraulics and now I was starting to see it all come together in what I was building.

I then moved from an Assembly Technician to Inside Sales.  Here I started supporting our Sales Territory Managers learning about our customer’s equipment and hydraulic systems. I would provide customer service by entering their orders, selecting the components that were required to build their systems, and helping them troubleshoot the hydraulics when something wasn’t working.

When I transferred into my role as a Sales Territory Manager,  I was responsible for making sales calls and growing sales within my territory. I would work with Engineers and our Inside Sales team to provide systems to our customers.

My current role is Regional Sales Manager, where I lead a team of Sales Territory Managers. The most challenging part of this position is managing resources – what our salesmen want vs. what we actually need to achieve our goals. Our needs can vary from one location to another and/or one salesman to another. My job helps to balance and share resources which in turn helps elevate everyone’s performance and ensure their voice is heard.