Winner: Mark Haller, Owner/President | Tri-Tec Manufacturing, Kent
Ask manufacturers their most pressing concern and the almost universal response is, “Where can I find good workers?” One of the most active business executives working to answer that question, not just for himself but for the industry, is Mark Haller, whose Kent-based company makes valves and actuators used in the marine and defense industries.
To sustain the performance that has seen sales more than double during the past five years, Haller wants employees who can work together and are willing to learn. Hiring means finding a long-term employee who is building a career, not just filling a vacancy of the moment. To find those employees means working with students in the critical years when they’re figuring out what they want to be or can be. Haller not only got the Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound (CAMPS) into the FIRST robotics competition, he also sponsored a team at his alma mater, Kent Meridian High School. When CAMPS set up a high school student internship program, Haller took on an intern at Tri-Tec and wound up hiring him part time while the student enrolled in a college engineering program. Tri-Tec took on a second student to work alongside regular employees to learn about manufacturing.