We have another new member that we are excited to introduce in the Welcome to LW series. David Stetler joined our team in June 2019 as the VP of New Markets. This role is completely new to both David and Laminate Works. We created this role to find new opportunities and drive growth as we continue to invest in our capabilities. David brings significant entrepreneurial experience to LW, making him a great fit for a role such as this one.
David came to LW with no experience with laminated parts, machinery, or the panel processing industry in general. What he did have was a resume with a lot of other things. While some employers might have been nervous about seeing a resume with drastically different experiences in a wide variety of industries every year, this was the biggest draw to David filling the role because each one of his previous jobs revolved around developing new ideas and being a catalyst for growth. His first entrepreneurial venture began when he was just 8 years old starting a lawn mowing business. After that business took off, he handed it over and started working on the next idea. Since then he has continued the pattern by working to grow various corporate startups and non-profit organizations. David is a self-proclaimed “idea guy” and an entrepreneur by nature. He brings a new perspective into a brand new role and we are looking forward to having him on our team.
What does the VP of New Markets do anyway?
I am focused on the future of LW. I look for new opportunities that we should be running after. Every new idea at some point makes it to my desk. So, whether that's a new market, distribution channel, product, material or capability, my attention is focused on evaluating these ideas, developing them into real opportunities and setting a plan in motion to execute.
How do you feel your first 60 days have gone so far?
The first 60 days have gone wonderfully. Since I am new to this industry, I have had a steep learning curve in front of me. I spent the first 30 days out on the plant floor learning how we make stuff. It was incredibly valuable for me to not only learn about the machines and how they work, but to see and touch the product we are making. In addition to my time in the plant, I went to one trade show in Chicago and another in Las Vegas. Both of these experiences gave me a huge step forward in understanding the industries that we serve. These last 30 days have been spent defining and developing the process that we will be using to evaluate and develop these new opportunities.
What are your current priorities going forward?
Currently, I am focused on developing a small handful of new ideas to be ready to launch at the beginning of 2020. Most of these ideas will be using materials that are new for us while also heavily utilizing the advantages of our new PUR line and laser edgebander.
What kind of value do you plan to bring to LW?
LW has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a knack for creativity and innovation. My hope is to significantly contribute to these things in ways that cultivate new growth. I love to take a new idea, rally others around it and work together to turn it into a reality.
What does it look like to you to live out our mission?
I see my role as a service to the existing company and the people here, so if I do my job well it only benefits everyone else. I think it's all about using everything I've got to do the very best to make LW all that it can be. This can only be accomplished when we work as a team and when everyone's skills and abilities are fully utilized.
Do you have any values that motivate and drive you?
I'm not sure these fit in the category of values, but I get really excited when it comes to creativity, innovation and teamwork. I’m very community oriented, so I love getting to operate on a team. I love to find really interesting ways to solve complex problems while utilizing the many diverse talents on a team. There is nothing better than building something with a team that solves a real human problem by using a new and innovative idea. It’s motivating to be a part of a team and work together to grow. I believe everyone, no matter the role, is a valuable asset, and everybody should feel heard. I love to see others inspired by who they are and what they offer. And, I love inspiring people to be their best selves by calling out their strengths.
How do you spend your free time?
My wife, Holly, and I have five kids at home, so everything revolves around family and spending time together. We love traveling, anything outdoors, eating great food, and being active.
Do you feel like your past experience has helped prepare you for your current role at LW?
Even though I am new to woodworking and manufacturing, I am not new to entrepreneurial environments, startups and the development of new ideas. These kinds of things are right in my wheelhouse and the role itself continues to feel like a natural fit.
Exciting things are coming to LW. We are looking forward to having David on our team, the future of this new role, and the opportunities in store. And, don't forget to stay tuned for updates on all things new markets!
We're growing and looking for individuals to join our team!
If you think you'd be a good fit, visit our Careers page to learn more.