Dave Strand, CEO, Welding Together a Championship Culture – Episode 71

Dave Strand is a private investor and previous Owner & CEO of Wisconsin Oven Corporation, an East Troy, WI based manufacturer of large heat treat and other specialty thermal ovens for industry. When Wisconsin Oven was sold to Thermal Product Solutions, Dave became its CEO, responsible for 4 oven manufacturing companies located throughout the United States. He’s also the author of an outstanding book called “Building a Championship Culture”

Dave developed his entrepreneurial mindset as a young kid, selling candy bars and becoming the commissioner of a neighborhood baseball league he created. He liked the feeling of having money in his pocket. He began his working career straight out of high school, starting on the shop floor of a company making large containers for the garbage industry. Dave understood that every overtime hour he worked was basically a 50% raise so he would raise his hand and say yes to any opportunity to learn something new or work more hours. That willingness led to him learning how to paint, weld and fabricate. Essentially, he became an engineer and inventor on the job. After moving to Wisconsin Oven, Dave progressed rapidly through the ranks, eventually becoming an owner, a board member and ultimately, the CEO. 

Mike and Dave cover a ton of great stuff in this episode, including how his algebra teacher kept him eligible for sports in high school when he had trouble staying interested, how a fist fight with his dad changed his path, the impact of Bruce Champion and other mentors who taught him to think about the future, surviving during the business downturn of the Great Recession, and how & why he approached culture after taking control of Wisconsin Oven. Dave is one of the “real deal” people that you realize right away has a special something you want to be around.

And now here’s Dave Strand.

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