All a Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp. employee has to do for motivation or inspiration is look up.
The company’s core values – which come from its founder and have sustained the company for 50 years – are posted on every wall.
“Our business is built around our mission statement, ‘to enable our customer’s success through value-added solutions, supported by superior service and quality products delivered with a sense of urgency,’” said Jerry Weidmann, president. “The attainment of our mission is a team effort that requires every employee to embrace the values that underlie our mission statement. The values expressed in the mission statement are further applied to the functions of the department, visible to our staff and our customers that may come into our facilities.
“It is our belief, if every employee fulfills these values that we will exceed our customers’ expectations, have a wonderful environment to work in and our business will be highly successful. Our goal is to fulfill our mission at all levels, every day.”
Otto Wolter, 73, chief executive officer, founded the Brookfield, Wis., company as a two-man, two garage operation.
“Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp. is a family company, founded by Otto Wolter, an entrepreneur with a vision 50 years ago. In this day and age of impersonal corporate decision making, the personal values of our founder underlie all of our decisions,” said Weidmann.
“Most of our employees have been together for most of their working lives. Within this ‘family', jobs become careers, and business relationships become personal relationships. Like all families, there are disagreements and challenges. But we work them out together. We know where we come from. It is like being a member of an extended family that lives in the same neighborhood. You see the same people almost every day and you work together to make the neighborhood better.”
Wisconsin Lift Truck has 325 employees with an average tenure of 16 years. Its primary market is Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but is expanding in northern Illinois and considering expansion in Minnesota. The fleet services division manages accounts in more than 10 states.
“We are a service business. Our success is built on the foundation of our highly skilled staff,” Weidmann said.
To celebrate the 50 year milestone, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker proclaimed March 2, Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp. Day. The company thanked its employees with appreciation parties, and will take long-term customers that have been part of the company’s history to a golf outing or to Milwaukee Brewers games.
Focusing on customers built the company, Weidmann said, and will define its future. While products and technology evolve, the focus on the customer has not changed in 50 years, he said.
“We exist to service the material handling requirements of our customers. As their businesses change and evolve, their material handling requirements change and evolve. If we are doing our part, we help them adapt their material handling support to meet their changing needs in the most timely and efficient manner,” he said.
The company has branches in Germantown, Green Bay, Janesville, Madison and Wausau, Wis. Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp. accounts for 75 percent of the sales of Wolter Group LLC. Other operations in the group are Wolter Power Systems, which specializes in new industrial engines and generator sales, service and parts and energy systems; Wolter Material Handling, which offers new and used sales, parts, service and rental of lift trucks and construction equipment in western Wisconsin; Contractor Equipment Services which offers new and used sales, service, parts and rentals of construction and aerial equipment, and sweepers and scrubbers; Illinois Material Handling, a full service material handling distributor with branches in Elk Grove Village and Rockford, Illinois; and Fleet Services, which offers ways to improve fleet performance to reduce the cost of materials handling.
At Wisconsin Lift Truck, “we provide products and services to support our customers’ success. We have continuously sought to expand our product line to make sure all of our customers’ material handling needs were met with best-in-class products and services. We have continuously innovated with special maintenance programs, special leasing programs, fleet services and solutions to meet the specific needs of our customers,” Weidmann said.
Mary Glindinning is a freelance writer who has worked at daily and weekly newspapers for more than 20 years. She lives in rural Shullsburg, Wis. You may contact her by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.