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September 07 Businessexcellence 35 to depress train tracks that run through the downtown section of the city. Nolte initiated that project; it saw that the community had a need and brought it to the attention of local public offi cials, as well as infl uential people in the private sector. It did the preliminary engineering and environmental documents and ended up doing a substantial part of the design work as well. Nolte is the primary civil engineering fi rm on Daybreak, a 5,000 acre, 14,000 homes project just south of Salt Lake City, Utah, being developed by Kennecott Land, the non-mining branch of Kennecott Utah Copper, owned by Australian conglomerate Rio Tinto (the secondlargest resource extraction company in the world), which has adopted a sustainability policy that extends to its sub-contractor base. The current housing slump in the US market doesn’t affect fi rms like Nolte, since its developer clients plan their projects four to eight years ahead. Besides, after riding the cyclical nature of the economy since 1949, it’s well prepared to deal with the market. A more critical challenge is attracting and keeping skilled, qualifi ed people. “We approach our staff in a holistic way,” Nolte summarizes. “We defi ne our growth as a refl ection of the abilities of our staff, tying ourselves to their professional career development, as opposed to having an expansion-oriented, volume of work goal.” “In civil design engineering, as in any business, you have to be accomplished in three areas: your core abilities, your capability to make a profi t (very simply, your revenue has to exceed your costs), and client focus. Our dominant focus is client service. We’ve defi ned our success relative to our clients’ success, and we’ve written that into our value statement; we’re values-driven.” Nolte Associates

Businessexcellence September 07 36 When revenue streams dried up, Mayville Engineering Company (MEC) embraced continuous improvement, as Keith Regan learns from company executives Mayville Engineering Company Inc. (MEC) serves world leaders in a variety of industries including agriculture, construction, military, computer and marine. Founded in 1945, tool making was an important segment of its business, but the company soon diversified into other branches of metalworking services, with contract manufacturing being the company’s primary business focus. It also branched out into two OEM product lines, shot shell reloaders and aerial work platforms. A key turning point for the company came in 2000, however, when MEC decided to sell off one of the OEM product lines, the aerial Growingsmart