There is a pride that comes from being a manufacturer. You get to be creative and innovative. You solve problems. You provide families with a roof over their heads and food on the table. You get the chance to build up a business and the community that surrounds it.
As a child, Ronald E. Geisman watched his father take a risk, uproot his family, and start a business from the ground up. From pushing a broom to taking over as president and every step along the way, Geisman has taken pride in his work and has happily worked to pass that feeling on.
After 20 years at the helm of Lomar Machine and Tool Company, Geisman has seen increases in jobs, sales and safety standards. Because of his hard work and constant demand for improvement, Ronald E. Geisman was recognized with the 2016 John G. Thodis Michigan Manufacturer of the Year (Small Tier) Award.
“You have a greater respect for a business when you start out by sweeping its floors,” said Geisman. “I watched my dad and the pride he took in starting Lomar, the pride he still takes in every product we put out, and it makes me want to work all that much harder to see this business continue to grow generation after generation.”
To accomplish that, Geisman becomes super-focused in making sure every aspect of the business meets a standard — first his father’s standard and now his own. In order to stay on par in an industry as competitive as manufacturing, Geisman believes you must always strive to be a step ahead. The company has developed an ever-improving set of standards and continues to diversify whenever it discovers a logical next step for its products.
Geisman’s standard for excellence continues into the community. He has a great deal of respect from his peers through constant involvement in state and local policy issues relating to manufacturing. As a supporter of the Jackson Area Manufacturers Association, The Enterprise Group and MMA, he has proven to be a gifted collaborator. By working together on special initiatives, process opportunities and best practices, Geisman is ensuring the region’s manufacturing success will continue with future generations.
“Jackson County is really booming when it comes to education and training for manufacturing careers,” said Geisman. “Lomar has been able to hire a diverse class of experienced machinists who are, and this is important, excited about being manufacturers. They get up in the morning proud of what they do. That’s because they had the hands-on opportunities to see what it was really like to design, create and collaborate on a finished product early in their career. We need to be offering more of that.”
At the high school level, Geisman is especially excited about the next few years of manufacturing.
Lomar is a supporter of the area Skills USA-Precision Machining Competition and sponsors the JAC3 Early/Middle College, the Jackson Academy for Manufacturing Careers, and provides employment options for local co-op students preparing for future apprenticeship programs.
“I take pride in the fact that I am a manufacturer,” said Geisman. “We haven’t worked hard enough to make what we do become a source of pride in most communities. That has to change. I’m doing what my father did. My kids get to see what I do and, I hope, see the passion I have for it. We all need to be more open to showing the excitement that comes from innovation.”
This article appeared in the May 2016 issue of MiMfg Magazine.