Tammy Bernier - Duperon Corporation - 2019 MFG Lifetime Achievement
Wherever Tammy Bernier is, leadership is present and a legacy of excellence is being built. Her good deeds have fostered growth, self-expression, and empowerment to those around her while her company’s culture is full of people who together dare to make a difference — the perfect embodiment of Bernier’s servant heart.
As the CEO of Duperon Corporation, she brings more than 35 years of management and family business experience to the table.
“I love making things and I love having the things that we make live out in the world,” said Bernier. “My whole life in manufacturing has been about taking pride in being able to say ‘we made that’ — there’s such satisfaction that comes from knowing the work we do here in Saginaw is helping people all around the world.”
The Duperon team has seen the business thrive under Bernier’s leadership, one that started out as a consultant for her father, Terry L. Duperon, and quickly became a partnership that Duperon points to as having saved the business and brought balance to chaos.
“I had a cycle before Tammy came aboard,” Duperon recalled. “I’d have an idea and create business, then I’d have another idea and things would start to fall apart. I have a lot of good skills but there were some I didn’t have and that led to this pattern of up and down, up and down. When Tammy came in we just started to take off. She’s got the skills I don’t have and she really righted the ship. Without her, we wouldn’t exist.”
Bernier is a true dynamo, someone with endless energy and capable of pulling together people from across manufacturing to create true change in the world. Her passion for manufacturing has inspired fellow leaders to do more, give more and, on some level, care more for the products they make, the community they serve and the people their decisions affect.
Bernier has served as the chairman of the national Water & Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) and a board member for Mid-Michigan Women in Leadership, the Child Abuse & Neglect Council for the Great Lakes Bay Region, the Saginaw Community Foundation and the Saginaw County Business Education Partnership, among others. She was the creator of Great Lakes Bay Regional Council of Women In Leadership/Inforum “Brave Conversations” series and a member of the Saginaw BIG DREAM TEAM. Her every waking moment is spent searching for more people who share her entrepreneurial spirit.
“I cannot tell you how I feel when I’m around people who are up to something. The people in this community have such an amazing generosity; you can’t help but want to spend your time with them — dreaming up the next way that we can help people and leave a better world than we were given,” Bernier said. “When good people come together to share their gifts, great change is possible and that feeds my soul.”
The influence Bernier has is not limited to large-scale community efforts; it’s shown in her everyday interactions with her team.
“We want to be a force for good here. Our team inspires me to always be better,” Bernier stated. “I think it can be easy to be who you are at home and who you are at work and have a separation between the two. When you allow your people to bring their whole selves to work, to be authentic, that’s powerful. Together, you become unstoppable.”
As a team leader, she has made her business a symbol of what a world-class organization can be with people committed to making a global difference. Walking the halls of Duperon Corporation is like walking through a world of water and inspiration. Much like a roaring river carving out a canyon, Bernier’s team believes that what they do can help carve out a better world. It just takes time, determination and heart.
Bernier has taken another passion of hers, a love for water, and turned it into a driving force for others in manufacturing to be good stewards of one of the world’s most precious resources. She inspires others to be their best selves and has left a legacy few others can touch. Without her, the world would be a less warm place and, certainly, a less effective one.
“I love people and I love anything to do with growing human potential. I love the stories where people have tough times and overcome and I love providing pathways for people to be everything they can be,” said Bernier. “I’m really grateful for what we’ve accomplished and I’m even more excited to see what we’ll do next — because our story isn’t over.”
The MFG Lifetime Achievement honors an individual who has excelled in the industry and inspires their peers, emerging leaders, lawmakers and educators to strive to make significant contributions to their company, industry and community. The award is presented at the annual MFG Excellence Awards in November.