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Identifying Future Leaders

With the help of: Enterprise Minnesota


Pequot Tool & Manufacturing, based in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, is a machining and fabrication leader located in the heart of Minnesota's lakes region. They provide innovative solutions to their customers' diverse needs by producing high-quality component parts and complete assemblies. Their client base includes a wide variety of industries including aircraft, firearm components, medical, computing, industrial equipment, hydraulics and more. 

The Challenge

Pequot Tool & Manufacturing was looking ahead at the growing skills gap that is commonly affecting the manufacturing industry. They wanted to maintain their high quality production and growth trajectory while preparing the company's next generation of leaders.

The material was extremely relevant to what they’re dealing with. Learning how to motivate people, to work effectively with teams and how to best reach employees that you’re leading—these all came quite often in the reviews.
— Debby Hoel, Human Resources Manager

MEP's Role

Pequot Tool & Manufacturing approached Enterprise Minnesota, part of the MEP National Network™, to help define and grow their leadership and talent development processes. Among Pequot Tool's 170 employees, 30 were in leadership roles and the company wanted to expand management responsibilities to lower levels of the hierarchy. Their priority was to develop "cell" leads to help coordinate specialized groups of machines that complement each other to produce a part. They were focused on getting cells more developed and finding people to lead them. 

To help them achieve their goals, Abbey Hellickson, an Enterprise Minnesota growth consultant, facilitated a training program called "Learning to Lead." Pequot Tool identified cell leaders who were likely already the go-to person in their cell but had not been exposed to any level of leadership training. As part of the program, Abbey shared the social styles model, which helps people enhance their interpersonal work relationships by learning to understand their fellow employees' behavioral preferences. In addition to social styles, training also covered employee engagement, change leadership and accountability. The emphasis throughout the curriculum is to teach leadership fundamentals that help potential leaders understand the role and impact they have on employee engagement and performance.

Learning to Lead has been a proven success at Pequot Tool & Manufacturing. Of the 24 program participants, five have received promotions- three to cell leader and two to management positions. In addition, Human Resources Manager Debby Hoel noted that work quality and productivity have also increased and staff reviews of the program were outstanding. 

Created June 2, 2020, Updated July 16, 2022