Wind in their Sails

The Weekly Report – May 1, 2023
Landwehr Construction finds new opportunities in green energy and ISO certification.

If you’re like me, it seems that every road trip I take reveals how firmly wind farms are taking root across the country. In nearly every rural area, I see the massive blades swooshing through the air.

We’ve all seen those wind turbines that stretch endlessly across open fields, and probably most of us have wondered how companies manage to install them. In the next issue of the Enterprise Minnesota® magazine, writer Suzy Frisch gives readers a glimpse of the demands of moving and installing these behemoths in a profile of Landwehr Construction.

In her article Suzy shows how Landwehr has remained flexible throughout its 128-year history, adding new services to complement its offerings, and diversifying to ensure its long-term health.

One of Landwehr’s newer services is installing wind turbines, which it has done since 2017, primarily for Vestas, a Danish company that designs, manufactures, installs, and services wind turbines. Landwehr’s combined experience with cranes, transportation, heavy civil construction and utility work make it a great fit to work with Vestas.

What’s great about Suzy’s article is how it weaves Landwehr’s recent quest for ISO certification throughout the piece. It’s both fascinating and instructive.

Landwehr had been working with the wind turbine company for a few years when, in 2020, Vestas asked its vendors to obtain two ISO certifications. Vestas set late 2022 as the goal date for completion. Those of us who understand the ISO process know that’s a tough ask. Enterprise Minnesota is ISO certified to the 9001:2015 standard.

Landwehr said it was daunting to undertake two ISO certifications at the same time – especially during the pandemic. But they saw value in both the ISO 9001:2015 certification for quality management systems and the ISO 45001:2018 certification for occupational health and safety.

A team from Enterprise Minnesota, including operations consultants Keith Gadacz and Greg Hunsaker, helped guide the company through the certification process. They approached the dual certifications as one big continuous improvement initiative with safety at the core. Despite the difficulties, it was important work for Landwehr to complete that now gives it operational and competitive advantages, Hunsaker says.

Throughout its history, Landwehr leaders have emphasized safety. “We want all of our employees to go home as good or better than when they came to work,” says Nate Landwehr, the company’s president. Adding ISO certification was a natural next step.

Much of Landwehr’s ISO initiative involved formalizing processes the company already used to prevent safety incidents, train, document, and communicate about safety. Landwehr needed to build up its management systems for quality and safety, implement changes, and then use and audit the new systems.

Going through dual ISO certifications often bears fruit through cutting or avoiding costs, streamlining operations, retaining and boosting sales, and showing employees that safety is an integral part of the company’s DNA.

Like so many of the companies Enterprise Minnesota works with, Landwehr offers another example of the value of treating employees like family. The company’s leaders know that what’s good for employees is clearly good for business. Our consultants love working with companies like Landwehr, and we are delighted to share their stories.

Read more about Landwehr’s history and ISO journey in the upcoming issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine, due to publish in late May.

Read more about Landwehr Construction in the next issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine. Visit our website to subscribe.

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