CEBA Bill Daniels Award: Walker Manufacturing
Throughout political campaigns, the American public hears a lot about “good Christian values,” evidently indicating the intrinsic morality of the candidates. However, unwavering “family style,” Christian-based principles provide the foundation for Walker Manufacturing’s 33-year operation.
“In a time of being ‘politically correct,’ Walker Manufacturing and its owners stand behind and promote good old-fashioned values, morals and ethics in all of their dealings and activities,” said Jenny Schultz, Walker’s commercial banker.
For the private, family-owned lawn mower manufacturing business, the primary objective is to produce multiplied opportunities, achieved with high performance expectations, business practices shaped by a code of conduct and financial incentives for productivity. While innovation has improved the technology and design of Walker mowers over the years, the loyalty and diligence of the current team of roughly 160 Coloradans has remained constant.
The Walker family and team based out of Fort Collins continually strives to produce mowers that fit customers’ needs, rather than expecting customers to adapt to the mowers available on the market.
Though demand for the 100 percent American-made machines spikes seasonally, by operating a Level Manufacturing process, the company maintains stability for its employees, culminating in 12 hand-produced mowers each day. This provides stability for the Walker team, despite increased costs of inventory during off-season months.
Walker’s driving philosophy seems simple: Give to get.
For instance, according to Marketing Manager Tim Cromley, though the company’s supervisor of the grinding department never acquired a high school diploma or received any formal vocational training, the Walker team went out on a limb and hired him based on familiarity with his family, his affable personality and hardworking character. Nine years later, he has emerged as a leader on the Walker team.
“We just need good people,” Cromley says. “That, for us, trumps whatever a certificate or diploma says.”