Bill Morgan President Johnsonville Sausage

Bill Morgan
Johnsonville Sausage

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Based in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, Johnsonville is a leading sausage brand that serves retailers and foodservice customers in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries. Founded in 1945 by the late Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, the company remains privately owned today and employs 1,400 employees, who are referred to as “members.”

Johnsonville Sausage performs at a very high safety level, operating
below 60% of the industry average for OSHA reportable incidents rate. Every member is personally accountable for understanding and operating in a safe manner, and coaching others to work safely. Members understand this is a safety culture, where each member has a role in providing a safe work environment and producing the safest and highest quality products.

Safety performance measurements are collected monthly and shared with members through a variety of communication methods. By sharing these results, each member is not only aware of the company’s safety performance against its goals, but also motivated to help the company achieve “zero.”

“The safety culture at Johnsonville Sausage is second to none,” says Bill Morgan, who joined Johnsonville in 1986 and is currently president. “And while we’re proud of the strong safety culture we’ve established, our challenge is not to be complacent with our safety results. We’ll continue
to challenge every aspect of the business to achieve zero injuries. We have a moral obligation to provide a safe work environment for all of our members and a cultural expectation that every member has personal accountability for quality and safety.”

Ralph Stayer, CEO and owner of Johnsonville Sausage, always states, “We use the business to build the people,” which creates an environment where each member is responsible for developing their God-given talents. This philosophy also holds the expectation that member safety and product quality are never compromised.



Don Zietlow
CEO & Owner
Kwik Trip, Inc.

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There’s nothing common about Don Zietlow, CEO and Owner of Kwik Trip, Inc.; a person who, by living the simple rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, has built a vertically integrated business visited by more than five million guests each week. Kwik Trip began with one store in 1965. Today, Kwik Trip has grown to more than 450 retail stores with office support operations, along with food production and distribution center facilities and construction and transportation departments. Kwik Trip currently employs more than 12,000 co-workers, and plans to add 30+ stores and nearly 1,000 co-workers each year for the foreseeable future.

For Don, the people who work for Kwik Trip are its most vital resource and the reason the chain strives for excellence in everything they do. He has said many times – “You’re only as good as the people who work with you. It’s the 12,000 dedicated co-workers at Kwik Trip who do the job every day that make it all happen.” Kwik Trip’s Safety Mission Statement is a direct reflection of the values and beliefs Don expresses each and every day: To encourage and support a safety culture at Kwik Trip which values input from all co-workers, provides the safest work environment possible for its co-workers and guests, and makes a difference in their lives…both at
work and at home.


Timothy J. Howald
Chairman & CEO
Tweet/Garot Mechanical, Inc.

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Tim Howald recently stepped down from his position as President of Tweet/Garot Mechanical, Inc., a role that he has held since 1984.

During his tenure as President, Tweet/Garot grew from an average annual employment of 50 construction workers to over 400 workers, and from a revenue position of $6 million dollars to over $80 million dollars in sales in 2012.

However, he is most proud of the growth and success of his management team, as well as all fabrication shop and field workers, at Tweet/Garot over that time frame. And, he is justified in proudly acknowledging the tremendous success of their safety program.

Tim’s first significant effort in the area of safety was hiring a full-time safety director in 1991, far ahead of most other contractors of similar size at that time. Next was the creation of a Zero Injury Environment, where all efforts were directed at prevention and all employees were challenged to keep themselves and their co-workers safe every minute of every day.

Tim credits the “relentless” safety dedication of Tweet/Garot employees in keeping each other, as well as their customers, safe. Initiating stretch and flex programs more than fifteen years ago (which are still utilized today), creating a Safety Advocate program to broaden the reach of their safety department, and constantly updating incentive/reward programs has been paramount to their success.

Tim is a staunch advocate of construction workers taking pride in their profession, being proud of their achievement and the vital roles that they play, and always includes personal safety and responsibility in that discussion.

Tweet/Garot has worked more than 10 years, since 2002, and 7 million manhours without a lost-time incident.


Photo of Mike SwensonVideo of Mike Swenson

Mike Swenson
Former President/CEO
Northern States Power Company-Wisconsin; Xcel Energy, Inc.


Michael Swenson is the recently-retired President and CEO of Northern States Power Company-Wisconsin, an Xcel Energy Company, with responsibility for Wisconsin and Michigan operations.

Previously he served as state Vice President for North Dakota and South Dakota, following the 2000 merger between New Century Energies and Northern States Power Co. (NSP) to form Xcel Energy. During his tenure as President and CEO, Mike was instrumental in leading NSP-Xcel Energy in its efforts to transform their safety culture to be among the best in the Midwest, if not the nation.

Under Mike’s direction, all company personnel share equally the responsibility and accountability for their own safety and that of their co-workers. It is their passion. Xcel Energy has gone a step further by becoming leaders in the communities they serve by offering various safety programs that help educate the general public and school children on safety. His philosophy, which is a standard within Xcel Energy, is to develop the necessary safety leadership skills among all employees, then partner together to change the culture so everyone has the courage to take personal responsibility for their own safety and of those around them.


photo of Jim Leef

Jim Leef
ITU, Inc.

Jim Leef is the eldest of the third generation of the Leef family to serve as president of Industrial Towel and Uniform of New Berlin, Wisconsin, following his grandfather, George Herman Leef, and father George Lucas Leef. Jim began working on delivery routes while in college in 1974 and went to work at ITU full time in 1978 after graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in Finance. His first assignment was in route and sales management for ITU in the Chicago area, until 1986 when he became the company’s General Manager and moved back to the Milwaukee area. Jim became president of ITU upon his father’s retirement in 1993. From the start of the business in the Milwaukee area in 1930, the company has grown to include processing operations in Neenah, WI, South Bend, IN, Titusville, PA, and Piedmont, SC. The route service network covers the eastern half of the United States, employing about 400 people.


Curtis L. Hoppestad
Global Director, Riding Lawn Equipment
John Deere Horicon Works

Curt joined John Deere in 1978 at the Dubuque Works factory. He has held positions of increasing responsibility in manufacturing, maintenance, plant engineering, supply management, production control, engineering and factory management at facilities which include Davenport Works, Deere & Company, Deere-Hitachi, Harvester Works – East Moline, Consumer Products – Charlotte and Vehicle Group – Williamsburg.  His most recent assignments include factory manager in Horicon, and as of June, 2009, Global Director, Riding Lawn Equipment.


Jerry G. Ryder
InSinkErator Division, Emerson Appliance Solutions

Jerry Ryder’s leadership in safety is evidenced through his company’s exemplary safety record. Jerry’s 33 year Emerson career began in 1976 at the Weed Eater Division. During his tenure at the Division he held the positions of Product Manager, Director of Marketing, and Vice President of Marketing. In 1986 he transferred to the Skil Power Tool Division as Vice President of Marketing. In 1990 he was promoted to Vice President/General Manager of the Dremel Power Tool business unit, and in 1995, he became President of InSinkErator. Jerry currently serves as Board Chair of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). Additionally, he serves on the Board of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), and is a past Director of the Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC).


Mark Glendenning
President and CEO
Inland Label and Marketing Services

Inland Label and Marketing Services has been family owned and operated since 1944. Inland’s label division prints labels primarily for the beverage industry (beer, water, juice and dairy), while their Marketing Services division provides assembly, fulfillment, packaging and distribution services. Mark has been with Inland for 19 years and received a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Robert Cervenka
Founder, Chairman and CEO
Phillips Plastics Corporation


Dale R. Schuh
Chairman, CEO and President
Sentry Insurance


photo of John Bauman

John Baumann
Colony Brands, Inc.


Brad Rosenwald
Vulcan Chemicals


Thomas J. Boldt
The Boldt Company


Erroll B. Davis, Jr.
Retired Chairman, President & CEO Alliant Energy/Wisconsin Power & Light