Dan Sullivan joined Molded Dimensions Group as the General Manager of PCO Urethane in December 2022, with a goal to further the company’s reputation as a great place to work in Marshfield and the surrounding area. We recently sat down with Dan to talk about PCO’s strengths, his goals for the company, and his undying affinity for a legendary English rock band.
How are things going in your new role as General Manager?
As a GM, you are tasked with running the business and getting everyone here in Marshfield to work as a team. I’m here to set a vision about where we’re headed and what we need to do to get there. I organize people around the different pieces that need to be looked at and worked on. The thing that’s apparent is that PCO had a private owner before and now we are part of a group. There are different requirements than in the past. Helping to guide the way through that is necessary and a big part of my job.
How does your professional background play a role?
I was plant manager at a large manufacturing facility in Wisconsin Rapids. My responsibilities were similar to here, but on a much larger scale for a corporation with 20,000 workers worldwide in more than 30 countries. At PCO, we have more opportunities to shape the business and make decisions to change the way we do business.
My professional experiences are transferrable here. I’ve worked in logistics, managed a large budget and have experience with a number of projects. I’m a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, so I know how to define and approach a problem.
Describe a typical day at PCO Urethane
I try to spend a lot of time out on the floor. I start the day getting a handle on what’s happening. I talk to people and ask how they’re doing. I let them know I am open to suggestions and will make myself available to them. Being newer to the position, I spend a lot of time in meetings to piece together what we need to do or change to meet where Molded Dimensions Group wants us to go. I prepare myself before I ask questions. I want to anticipate the business needs here so I’m ready for them.
You were hired to lead urethane production here, furthering the reach of the Stoltz and Armadillo brands and establish Urethane Centers of Excellence. What does that involve?
In my observation, one major strength is that PCO is a specialty urethane shop that can do and make pretty much anything a customer wants to their specifications. Our other big strength is our machine casting segment. We have multiple machine lines that operate efficiently. The Urethane Centers of Excellence are on the machine side because of the production capabilities we have in house. We look at our operations here as a whole because at the end of the day, however best we maximize the opportunities, is the best for everyone involved.
We are at the beginning of a new year. What is a challenge that you think the industry is going to face in 2023?
The economy remains a question mark, so we need to prepare for what might be slower than anticipated for the year. It’s managing the business for what’s going on today, but not losing sight of where you want to be tomorrow. Those are tough things to put together at times. You don’t know when something might change. PCO Urethane and Molded Dimensions Group have their eyes on the ball and are aware of the current business levels. There’s a “what if” approach to make sure we have plans in place.
What are some of your business goals?
I believe in hiring the right people, and changing the policies and structure so we hold people accountable whether it’s attendance or production. We should also reward employees. Everyone wants to work where everyone is rolling in the same direction and putting forth their best work. It’s fun to all be moving in the same direction, but it takes time to do that. You have to respect your team, get to know them and make sure they feel valued.
Why do you like working at PCO Urethane/Molded Dimensions Group?
I feel needed here and that I bring value. I like that you are involved in a lot of aspects of the business. You are truly running the business versus that of a large corporation, where you are responsible for only certain things. I like the people I work with. They’re definitely committed to making this location as successful as possible.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
For the past 18 years, my wife, Lisa (an elementary school math interventionist) and I have owned Cravings Coffee Shop, a fun morning gathering spot in Wisconsin Rapids. A friend and I also own a warehouse distribution company that stores and ships products. I’m a lifelong runner, so I coach the cross-country team at Lincoln High School.
Do you have any secret talents?
I played guitar in a college band. I still play and have decent number of vintage guitars in my collection. I’m a huge Beatles fan, so our children are named Harrison and McCartney. Our dogs followed suit with Lennon, Jude, Ringo, Rigby, and George (Martin).
Anything else that you would like to share?
I grew up on a farm in Iowa, so I learned early on about work ethic from my parents. I started working for a veterinarian in the 6th grade for $2.50 an hour. I worked every summer and every weekend during the school year.
I never known a time where I wasn’t working or involved in several activities, so I’m never stressed out. I’m a fairly calm guy. There’s not too much you can throw at me that would bother me.