One on one with Mike Steiner of Latrobe Foundry Machine & Supply
Danielle Galian: What is your background? (education, experience, etc.) Mike Steiner: I grew up in Latrobe, Pa, a small town southeast of Pittsburgh, most famously known as the hometown of Arnold Palmer and Mr. Rogers. I graduated from Elizabethtown College with a major in Business Administration, concentrating in Management.
DG: How did you get your start in this industry?
MS: I first started working in our plant when I was 18, the summer before my freshman year, and continued helping out when I was home for winter and summer breaks. Our plant manager still jokes that those summers were a great motivator to stay in school. After college I started as a Credit Trainee for Ferguson Enterprises in their Philadelphia market. I spent a little over four years there before returning home to assume a management role at Latrobe Foundry.
DG: Have you always had an interest in the business?
MS: I wish I could tell you a story about a boy growing up wanting to one day take over the family manufacturing business, but that wasn’t always my dream. The only thing I really knew about the business itself was my great-grandfather founded the company in 1933 and from then on it has been run by my grandfather, aunt, and my father. However, once I started working in the industry I knew this is where I wanted to end up.
DG: How do you keep creativity alive and flowing for you and your team?
MS: I encourage all of my employees to come to me if they have any ideas/questions about how or why we do something a certain way. If someone has an idea that hasn’t been tried, we look into it. If it doesn’t work, we move on. I am of the belief that failing should be encouraged; at least you’re thinking of a solution.
DG: How do you cultivate relationships in a relationship industry?
MS: With customers all over the US and Canada it’s obviously hard to get face time with everyone. My goal is to make the experience of dealing with Latrobe Foundry memorable. I was told by my grandfather to always be honest with your employees, vendors, and especially your customers. By responding promptly, delivering on promises, and treating everyone with respect, we hope to continue to build upon the founding principles.
DG: What’s your favorite part about working with people/companies in this industry?
MS: Everyone is unique and has found their own way into the industry. I can honestly say that throughout my career I have never met an owner, salesman, order picker, or customer without at least one great story to tell.
DG: Do you have a favorite motivational motto or phrase?
MS: Andrew Carnegie once said, “There is little success where there is little laughter.” It’s important to not take yourself too seriously.
DG: What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
MS: I enjoy spending time with my family — my wife and three year old son. I also love to golf (poorly), play tennis, and cheer on the Steelers.
DG: What can millennials bring to this industry that they can\can’t to others?
MS: Manufacturing, specifically, is an old industry and the fundamental process has not really changed. Millennials bring a fresh look at processes with no preconceived notions and don’t take “because we’ve always done it that way” as an answer.
DG: Top tip for ultimate success in the industry?
MS: You’ve got to be a hustler. If you continue to work hard and never settle for good enough, you’ll be just fine.