Every so often (starting now), CIRAS intends to take a moment and tell you a little bit about the people who make Iowa businesses better:
Joe Meier started out as a sea-savvy machinist and worked his way to becoming vice president of operations for fast-growing Geater Machining & Manufacturing Co. in Independence. Below you’ll find his secret to success and what he’d improve about Iowa industry if he could.
Explain your job. What you do there?
I am responsible for Operations, Engineering, Maintenance and Quality. I handle capital purchases, setting rates, projections, business strategies, budgeting and labor projections. I sit on the board of directors at Geater, as well as the Management and Senior Leadership teams.
How did you get started in Iowa industry?
By way of the Naval Reserves. I joined in 1986 and went to boot camp between my junior and senior year at Wapsie Valley High School. After graduation, I attended Builder Sea Bee Training in California, then picked up a machinist degree at the Hawkeye Institute of Technology. I started working as a machinist for Doerfer Engineering in 1994 and took night classes at Upper Iowa University until I received a bachelor’s degree in business. I joined Geater as machining manager in 2005, became plant manager in 2007, then vice president of operations in 2011. The company has more than tripled in size since I’ve been here.
How has the industry changed since then?
The most significant changes have been in technology – not only creating parts using CNC equipment but technologies involved with MRP and ERP. Computers have given us a lot more data. We make decisions much faster today than we did 30 years ago.
Boil it down to one rule. What’s the key to success for somebody in your job?
Hire great people that you trust, stay out of their way, and let them do their job.
If you could change one thing about business in Iowa, what would it be?
I would get more machines into junior and senior high schools. Set them up with CNC equipment, robotics, etc., so they can learn about the opportunities that exist in advance manufacturing – and the advanced education it requires.
Know someone worthy of being recognition as a Face of Iowa Industry? Email CIRAS at firstname.lastname@example.org.