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MAKE THE WORKPLACE
A BETTERPLACE

Tom Votel

President and CEO, Ergodyne

Tom Votel Profile Image

I became president and CEO of Minnesota-based Ergodyne in 1985 – just two years after becoming the company’s first full-time employee. This sounds like a big hoop-dee-doo. It was not. We were out of dough and everyone else had jumped ship. Well, all righty then!

I had a nice break (meeting the beloved J.E. Barnard), needed buckets of tenacity and got down to business. This meant a couple decades or so of living on planes, trains and automobiles. Elegant and glorious. We’ve had a myriad of challenges and changes since – including, countless product introductions and patents; some crazy growth; a couple appearances on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 Fastest Growing Small Companies in the U.S.; being kicked in the teeth by an elephantine government agency… then fighting them back; being trampled on by a corporate giant; a steep decline… then a long climb out; some solid sustainable growth and so much more – damn! We’ve had us some times.

When not selling, downloading music or pestering folks, I spend my time trying to figure out who we are and where we are going – or as W put it so brilliantly, “strategery” – all while focusing semi-insanely on building and protecting our venerable and badass brand. Thirty years in, I remain deeply committed to the safety community and hope our heartfelt daily quest to develop and market innovative, smartly-designed, high-quality solutions for the workers in the trenches and on the frontlines actually makes The Workplace a Betterplace™.

Tom’s LIST

CHILDHOOD AMBITION

Be Tony Esposito // Then be John Bonham or Keith Moon // Then Yvon Chouinard

FAVORITE MIX(ES) ON MY IPOD

Chills // Wine and Conversation // Run Lola Run // 50 Ways to Love Your Anger // Tasty Jazz // Any Beethoven Composition // Trane and Miles

FAVORITE BOOK(S)

Call of the Wild // Huckleberry Finn // For Whom the Bell Tolls // A Confederacy of Dunces // The Things They Carried // The Moviegoer // Legends of the Fall

FAVORITE MOVIES

The Dirty Dozen // 2001 A Space Odyssey // Apocalypse Now // Alien // Unforgiven // Raging Bull // Immortal Beloved // The Shawshank Redemption

PROUDEST MOMENT(S)

Marrying Boop // Birth of our marvelous girls // Seeing our company and people grow

LAST MEAL

Wedge with Blue Cheese // Filet with Sautéed Onions // Grilled Asparagus // Dollop of Béarnaise // Bottle of Caymus // Sharing it all with people I love!

ALARM CLOCK SETTING

Down 1 a.m.-ish and up 7 a.m.-ish

FAVORITE QUOTE

"Never, never, never give up." – Winston Churchill

SURPRISING FACT

Played drums in a band with Yani

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