Kim Wimer: Making People a Priority – Today and Tomorrow
April 20, 2018
A funny thing happened to Kim Wimer, our Human Resources Manager, on her way to a successful career in finance – she found Laser Precision! She was already working with a family-run finance/mortgage company when she graduated from Loyola University in 2002 with a degree in finance. There were plenty of challenges in the world of Wall Street and Kim wore a lot of hats over the next 14 years, moving her way up to the position of Vice President of HR and Finance. It was when the company went from a consultant to employee based business model that she learned the HR side of the business out of necessity. With employees instead of consultants, the need for HR management grew exponentially. She kept up by continuing her education, taking courses in HR, management and supervision.
In 2005 a private equity firm bought out the company, and she soon found herself working for a huge corporation. The move firmly embedded her on the HR side, traveling three weeks out of the month to different company locations and sitting through endless meetings with the board of directors. “It made it challenging to get things done,” she said.
Finding a Home
Kim began to miss the rewards of working for a family company and decided to look for a new HR position. Laser Precision fit the profile perfectly and she joined us in February of 2017.
Kim was quickly given responsibility for payroll, hiring, benefit decisions and anything related to employee relations. She spends a lot of time on the shop floor, getting to know everyone’s name and a little bit about each person. This personal contact was something she had missed in the large corporate structure. She also enjoys touching base with Jeff and Cameron on a daily basis and discussing issues without going through layers of management.
Keeping the Talent Pipeline Open
Kim prides herself on finding employees that make a good fit. She believes that a company’s greatest assets are the people who work for it, and the success of a company can be measured by the employees it retains.
With the company’s current growth, Kim foresees the need for a new wave of personnel. Her focus is on building a long-term pipeline of talent to fill positions as needed. In today’s climate, that involves thinking outside the box. She works closely with the Lake County Workforce Development Board and recently took part in a round table with other manufacturers in the area to increase enrollment at the Lake County High Schools Technology Campus. The campus offers juniors and seniors from area high schools an opportunity to receive hands on experience in IT, automotive, engineering, welding, etc.
Building Our Own Talent Pool
To grow our own talent in-house, Kim developed our first ground-up training program for the press brake machine. Last summer, in conjunction with the University of Dayton, we initiated our first three-month intern program. Combining design experience hands-on time with the press break, the project was such a success that the intern was offered a job in December.
“The days when employees stayed with a company for 30 years seem to be a thing of the past,” Kim said. “We’re trying to re-build a culture of loyalty where people are valued and retained for the long term.”
Off the Clock
Kim enjoys skiing with friends, especially when she can get away to Colorado. For a complete change in climate, her favorite travel location is Ixtapa, on the west coast of Mexico, which she finds quieter and more relaxed than the typical tourist spots.
Attending music concerts is another passion, with a range of styles that stretches from Willie Nelson to Metallica. “Whatever the type of music, I appreciate the showmanship.” Two acts she wishes she could have been in the audience for? How about Elvis and Janet Joplin!