Holly Minne, chief financial officer at L&M Radiator, Inc., in Hibbing, is the most recent addition to Enterprise Minnesota’s board of directors. L&M is a global supplier of precision-engineered OEM cooling and heat transfer solutions. Its MESABI® Radiator has achieved worldwide popularity in the mining industry as an OEM and aftermarket product for mobile and heavy-duty stationary equipment. A graduate of accounting from the College of St. Scholastica, Minne has 20 years of manufacturing experience with public and privately held international companies. She has in-depth experience in financial reporting and forecasting, project leadership, cash management, financial projections, internal audit and controls, risk management, and standardized processes and procedures.
How has the manufacturing culture evolved on the Range over your two decades as an executive?
Holly: The biggest factor I’ve seen within L&M Radiator is how important it is to break down silos within the company and get everybody working together and on the same page. We have analytical tools to get the information quickly on all aspects of our customer and supplier needs. I try to ensure that all teams — all departments — are working well together. We need to understand that we all impact each other. I enjoy the opportunity of working together with people and trying to conquer these challenges together. I do enjoy coming to work every day. It’s always fun, and everyone’s ready to try something different to make us better. That is what makes it rewarding.
A manufacturer’s ability to attract and retain a viable workforce challenges everybody. What lessons have you learned that might help others adapt to this new enduring reality?
Holly: Our big push this year is automation. We’ve been talking about it for a long time. We can’t hire people so we need this to fill the gap in other ways. So, what can we do to get more product out the door that doesn’t need to be done by humans 100% of the time? It’s not just robots; it’s also in the office. We are looking at pre-production and how we can serve our internal customer, which is our shop floor.
Another challenge, less discussed, is cybersecurity. L&M has very publicly acknowledged its battles on that front. What’s the lesson?
Holly: Situations like that get you to the point where you just don’t trust anything or anyone. You’re getting information, and you’re not sure immediately whether it is coming from the correct person or if it wasn’t compromised as it was coming to you. The unfortunate thing is that you can give the tools and training to all the employees, and you can hire third-party businesses to protect you, but at the end of the day, you can still be vulnerable. If someone’s not paying attention, they click a button, and it’s game over. We’re all so busy doing two or three jobs, trying to get through the day, and accidents like that happen. Unfortunately, they are very costly.
What intrigued you about joining the board at Enterprise Minnesota?
Holly: I was looking for an opportunity to learn and grow. I seem to always be head down in my job that I don’t take the time to get involved in different groups. L&M has worked with Enterprise Minnesota for a number of years and has really helped us move forward in many areas of our business. I wanted to learn more about what they do and how I could help.