Manufacturing has always been Joel Strom’s first love. Since earning his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Case Institute of Technology, Joel Strom’s professional career has revolved around manufacturing. Within the industry, he has worked in large company environments, owned his own manufacturing company, advised other manufacturers, and now serves as the CEO of Interface, Inc. Strom’s passion is what enticed him to join a company that is now celebrating a 50-year legacy of manufacturing innovation.
“Manufacturing is going through a remarkable renaissance,” says Strom. “Across the country, there’s a new environment sparked by innovations of processes and function that is renewing what we know. I’ve always enjoyed being at the forefront of change, which I believe is essential for growth.”
Strom was also drawn to Interface because of its family-owned background and entrepreneurial history. In 1968, the company was founded by a Detroit-based engineer, Richard F. Caris. Caris had an idea for a better force measurement solution and kicked off that innovation in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company has grown significantly over 50 years, and still maintains its entrepreneurial spirit and close-knit, family atmosphere. Because of Strom’s experience in both large firms and startups, (which fueled his passion), he understood that the best fit for himself would be a smaller, technology-focused company like Interface.
The goal for Strom when he joined Interface was to determine a way to nurture the company’s creativity and innovation and turn that into growth. He has accomplished this by structuring the culture around four fundamental principles, “CBPI“, which stands for Customer, Brand, Partner, and Innovation:
- Customer – Focus on the needs of the customer in everything we do. This comes first.
- Brand – Ensure each employee’s effort and execution upholds the Interface brand – from customer support to product development.
- Partner – Build positive partnerships, both internally and externally.
- Innovation – Keep innovation top of mind, from product development to internal processes. This is the foundation for serving each of the other three principles.
These guiding principles drive the organization and are used to guide executive leadership and their teams. Each and every product or service the company offers is developed and executed with them in mind.
Strom will also use these principles for the “2nd 50,” the term Interface uses to describe its future. He plans to focus on innovation such as found in Interface’s revolutionary AxialTQ, the next generation of torque measurement devices, as the foundation for what the team can accomplish and leverage in order to drive momentum, revenue, and growth, for the second 50 years of business.
Thus far, Strom feels that he has had some of his most rewarding career experiences as the CEO of Interface, and he points to the people he works with every day as a significant reason for this. As the executive leader to more than 200 employees, he takes great pride in knowing that his management and guidance are major factors in people’s ability to serve their families and enjoy a fruitful life.
Strom also feels a great deal of satisfaction knowing that Interface’s innovation is used by some of the most prominent organizations across the world. Seeing positive customer feedback that reinforces the company’s commitment to excellence from these titans of industry are among his most treasured career moments.
Through his many years of experience, Strom is incredibly satisfied with where his journey has taken him. When asked to reflect on his career and think about what he would tell his 20-year-old self, Strom said, “Always focus on doing what you love in your career first, and financial gains second. This is something I’ve told my three sons as they embarked on their own professional paths. I have been fortunate to have, for the most part, put myself in positions in which I have a passion for the work I am doing.” He also added, “Always create a balance in your life between career and family.”
For more information on CEO Joel Strom and Interface’s history of innovation, visit www.interfaceforce.com.