Lori Davies fills big shoes as president of Clow Stamping
By Lynn Shelton
Enterprise Minnesota's Vice President of Marketing
(Lynn Shelton, vice president of marketing, Enterprise Minnesota)
Reggie Clow, the venerable patriarch of Clow Stamping in Merrifield, made an indelible first impression on Lori Davies when she attended her first staff meeting 10 years ago as the company’s newly named controller.
The meeting lasted just 15 minutes. “Is that the usual length of these meetings?” she asked a new colleague. “Oh no,” she was told, “that was kind of long.”
The lesson: Don’t let your culture get distracted by big proposals and long meetings, Davies says. “We don’t necessarily do those things here. I learned that from Reg. He is a get-it-done kind of guy, no messing around. He does not micromanage. He puts the right people in the right positions and lets them do their job.”
Davies apparently learned her lessons well, as, in early January, she was named the company’s first ever non-owner president.
Being the first non-owner president, will be “a bit of a challenge,” she told Jo Colvin, an Alexandria-based writer who is preparing a profile of Davies for the upcoming edition of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine. “I have some pretty big shoes to fill.” Replacing owner Reggie Clow, she will be just the third president in the company’s nearly 50-year history.
Clow Stamping was founded by Everett and Gladys Clow in 1970. When son Reggie took over, he used a focus on technology to transform the company into a regional powerhouse. Today, the company’s 440 employees occupy some 250,000 square feet in a plant that is situated some nine miles due north of Brainerd. They provide products to the likes of Kuboda, John Deere, Polaris, and Arctic Cat.
The company’s services include stampings, weldments, value-added operations, fabrication, assemblies and advanced IT. It provides these services for a variety of industries, including agriculture, light and heavy equipment, hydraulic, recreations, exercise equipment, commercial refrigeration and automotive.
Davies grew up near Ames, Iowa, spending her summers in the family cabin on Cedar Lake near Aitkin. Anticipating a career as a private accountant, she earned a BA in business administration at the University of North Dakota, with an accounting major and a computer science minor. She spent time in the hospitality and construction industries, most notably a 10-year stint as controller at Grand Casino.
Her job will be formidable. In 2017 the company earned $57 million; Reggie will remain CEO. The 2018 projections, the first under Davies, are at $61 million.
Her biggest challenge, she says, will be the lack of workforce in the face of retirements and low employment rates.
“We have to figure out how to capitalize on the labor we do have and maximize our output where we will see the most benefit,” she says. “We need to figure out how to become more efficient, how to do more with less.”
The workforce that currently makes Clow Stamping Company a success comprises several long-time employees, some having 20, 30 and 40 years with the company, a factor she considers integral in the success of her own work.
“We have good management and good people and good tenure,” she explains. “My job is to bring everyone together and headed in the right direction.”
Improving Your Continuous Improvement
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Wednesday, February 7, 2018
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Radisson Hotel Minneapolis/St. Paul North
2540 Cleveland Ave
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