(A.S. Management, ’97; B.S. Management, ’99; M.B.A., ’05)
As partner and vice president/COO for Waukesha Metal
Products (WMP), Michael Steger oversees operations
for one of Wisconsin’s fastest-growing companies. A manufacturer of high-quality
precision tooling, metal stampings, sheet metal fabrications and assembled
products, WMP received local, state and national recognition, including
Wisconsin’s “Manufacturer of the Year” in the Small Business category for 2011.
With continued growth and a diversified customer base, the
company more than doubled its staff size since Steger and his partners
purchased the company in 2005.
“I’m the guy behind the scenes,” said Steger of his role
with WMP. “My job is to support and direct the overall operation to assure
attainment of established business goals and objectives. How can we further
diversify and grow and promote the organization’s products and services? What
can we do to continually strengthen the company for continued success?”
With a technical degree, Steger started in the manufacturing
business as a tool and die designer. He eventually became deeply involved on
the management side of operations, working for smaller companies. Within a
short time, he became an operations manager.
“I reached a point where I was involved in the business
plans and budgeting, and felt I needed to have a degree and the educational
background when it came to making those types of decisions,” Steger said. “I
was getting the experience but I needed the application.”
He ultimately chose Stritch for its cohort model and small
class sizes. However, trying to manage all
aspects of his personal and professional life proved difficult at first.
“Three months into my
associate program, I was ready to quit,” Steger said. “It was a challenge
trying to juggle work and home responsibilities.”
He said the combination of support from classmates, professors
,and the real-world application of course material kept him motivated, not only
to finish his associate degree but to return to Stritch to earn a bachelor’s degree
and an M.B.A.
Steger used his capstone project, a strategic plan for a
manufacturing business, and presented it to the organization he was working for
at the time.
Now that he’s helping to lead his own company, the
challenges and opportunities are what continue to motivate him. And through it
all, he thoroughly enjoys his job.
“What is really fun is when I’m out and I see components
that our company manufactured. That’s always such a proud moment knowing that a
number of stampings and fabrications on audio systems and automobiles of all
types were manufactured by WMP.”
This article appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of Stritch Magazine.