Dave is Principal Partner, Owner, and Founder of PMG.
After finishing my university undergraduate studies, law school and an MBA, I went to work as a consultant with Deloitte Consulting. I was able to get a lot of diverse experience in different areas of business from sales to finance to manufacturing and supply chain. I started my consulting career in Atlanta and after 5 years or so I moved to Minneapolis for a different job and started PMG shortly thereafter. That was almost 20 years ago. We’ve been a Minnesota-based company serving the national manufacturing industry ever since.
What are your main responsibilities as an Owner/Principal Partner?
As is the case with a lot of entrepreneurs and founders, starting and growing the business was something I was well-suited for but, as time went on, I realized there were other people better suited to running day to day operations, managing, organizing, and building culture. We have a great leadership team at PMG and I try to stay out of the way and let them do their jobs. Having that team in place has allowed me to focus on what I’m better suited for, and more interested in, which is exploring opportunities to grow/expand/develop the general business and it’s worked out great. As a business owner, I believe it’s important to leverage the talents of the people around you. When you have those people, you can hand over the reins quickly and enthusiastically, rather than reluctantly.
How would you explain PMG to someone outside the company?
We bring a supply of highly skilled labor directly to meet our clients’ demands. I think we’re really good at finding, sourcing, and retaining talent without boundaries all across America. Sometimes I’m even surprised at how well, and how quickly, we find the right talent for our customers’ needs. And, it’s amazing how much the people that work with us want to keep working with us.
How did PMG come to be?
My dad was president of a transmission manufacturer and then went on to start his own company. Therefore, I was in and around shops since I was 10 or so doing whatever was needed whether it was running a lathe, welding, or just sweeping up. So, I kind of grew up in manufacturing and always knew I wanted to run my own company. When working with another company, I saw the need to be able to meet demand for skilled labor with unique means and innovative thinking. I chose Minneapolis as a base because that’s where I happened to be when we started, but that worked out well too because it’s proven to have a great talent pool for internal employees even though Minnesota is not traditionally thought of as a “manufacturing” state.
What do you like most about your job?
Still getting out and seeing a lot of different companies. Visiting, touring, meeting people, and learning from it all. That’s what I love doing. I also like getting to commit a lot of my energy and resources into ways to grow the company. That’s what excites me most about PMG is the growth opportunities, now that we have this fantastic team in place, and where we’re going to take it.
What are you most proud of, in regards to PMG?
Without a doubt, it’s the team. The company we’ve created, the team to run it, and the culture that’s resulted. It’s taken almost 20 years of hard work to get to having this team, and it didn’t come easy, but it was worth it. I’m also very pleased with how our hard efforts at process and procedure redesign have turned out successfully. When we started PMG, critics told us nobody would pay for our services and it wouldn’t work. They were wrong. We believed it would work and it certainly has.
What is the most important part of leadership?
A few things. Leading by example as opposed to telling. Defining roles clearly and setting clear and achievable goals. And not being afraid to make mistakes. Encouraging people to take risks and learn from mistakes, when they happen, to help them solve problems as opposed to judging/criticizing. As a leader you have to be a problem solver not a finger pointer. If there’s a problem it’s not important “who” got us into it, it’s how do “we” solve it as a team.
What is the most difficult part to leading?
When it’s time to part ways with someone on the team, for sure. Finding the right people and getting them on the team is the fun part, but when you have to move on from the wrong fit, you have to move on. It’s important and necessary but still hard to do. The other hard part is it’s 24/7. I don’t ever get to shut it off or say I’ll deal with it after the weekend is over.
Any thoughts on leading people through an eventful 2020?
To me it’s pretty clear that leaders should focus on what they can control and not what they can’t. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to prepare for what you can’t control, but you have to recognize you can’t control it. So, don’t waste time or energy or resources trying to. You have to try to create calm and certainty wherever you can. That’s what we can control; keeping people safe, still working and still being productive. Making sure they clearly understand what we are doing about things and why and how that affects them. We can’t control what COVID is or what the government is or isn’t doing or what other businesses are doing as a result of what is happening in the world, but we can do our best to try to keep doing the things we do best. Basically, I would say it’s our role as leaders to create as much certainty out of uncertain situations as we can.
What are some hobbies you do in your free time?
I like to work out. I’m into CrossFit and Peloton and obstacle courses. I’m passionate about health and wellness. I also like reading, boating, and golfing. I mostly read non-fiction. I usually have 2 or 3 books in the works. I like to learn when I read.
What celebrity/inspirational person do you admire the most?
I’m not really inspired by many celebrities, but a great business book is Good to Great by Jim Collins. It is the best business book out there, in my opinion, because it’s not just someone that hasn’t done it that’s just theorizing. Its theories are well backed by numbers, real data, etc. It was a real eye opener for me and I’ve been able to use a lot of its theories and findings in my own career.
Where is the best place you’ve traveled and why?
I’m not as traveled as I’d like to be but, based on my experience to date, it’s Greece. Santorini. The food, culture, weather, sight-seeing. I loved it.
What advice would you give to a recent new hire at PMG?
Open your ears and listen and learn from the amazing team around you. Don’t be afraid to take risks and make mistakes.
What’s your favorite restaurant and what must you order there?
Despite maintaining a mostly pescatarian/vegetarian diet, I still love a good steak. One of my favorites is Burch Restaurant and their A5 New York Block steak. Quite possibly the best meat I’ve ever tasted.