Customer-Centric Culture: New Promotions and Growth

If there’s one thing that stands out among material conversion experts Mueller and Sur-Seal, it’s each organization’s steadfast commitment to remaining people focused. This approach has served them well over the years, and as one of their core tenets, was a non-negotiable factor in choosing a strategic partner. 

So how does the new coming together of these key organizations benefit the employees? 

Innovation and Expertise

Pete Futia, former VP of Mueller and now COO of the aligned organization, has had the pleasure of witnessing the amazing synergy between companies in both Cincinnati and Dover. 

“The people I have personally interacted with… have been outstanding. High-quality individuals, and very experienced in a variety of industries. They are all customer focused and people centric, which is something we very carefully screen for when bringing new members into the team,” Pete concludes. 

The benefit of the collaborative efforts among highly skilled employees in all three locations has already driven the umbrella organization forward, and quite quickly. 

We are seeing promotions in both locations. Leadership is intermixing well together, weaving throughout to give us the advantage, making us stronger in terms of how we work together. 

“The acceleration you get from partnering with two other companies with a similar mindset is a certain kind of magic,” Pete adds.  

And that kind of culture and synergy starts with leadership. Managers have to be aligned in their core values. It requires authenticity and a passionate commitment to serve customers well.

Forming A Strong Cultural Identity 

“We can teach somebody how to do a job, but we can’t teach someone who innately wants to be a problem solver, a solutions provider, somebody that can be counted on by a customer. That’s really what we’re looking for, and if you want to be a part of that team and if that’s your mindset, we have a place for you,” Pete advocates. 

John Grisdale, Chief Growth Officer in Sales and Marketing, adds that a Mueller or Sur-Seal teammate has to have the ideal combination of humility and curiosity. 

“You have to be curious and humble. Humble enough to know there’s a better way of doing things. Curious enough to know, to listen, to find ways we can do things better,” adds John. “And then by getting better, we can better serve our customers and better serve our employees.” 

With a strong cultural identity that has been rooted and communicated throughout both organizations, teammates with the right character and values fit have been brought onto fortify the organization’s commitment to customer service excellence. Teammates that have aligned have simply been allowed to move on in order to keep the strong company culture intact. 

Now, employees at both companies are benefiting from the exponential strength, energy and diversity of so many like-minded individuals pursuing a cause greater than themselves, and the company history proves it. 

Not one manager has turned over in 17 years at Mueller. 

Adds Pete, “Your attitude is going to be your altitude no matter what you do. We can work with a good attitude. We can train people and be productive, but we can’t train character and values. One of the ways we keep our culture strong is through referral bonuses. We get to pick our own teammates, and that makes it a lot easier. 

Strength Through Leading by Example 

While the challenges of navigating through COVID were difficult and scary, Pete says they really allowed the company to build a tighter bond through adversity. 

“The one thing I would tell you is when the chips are down, you can count on our team. I can’t tell you how proud I am of every person in every corner of that building in every site that we have. Those are the true heroes. They were going under very tough conditions… something completely different. They were scared, and we were right there with them. You can’t just show up on the good days. I believe that through this we got tighter.” 

“I want to say that every person at all three of these sites should know how important they are, and if they didn’t before, I want them to after reading this, because it truly is a team effort,” John proudly reflects.

There’s no doubt that leadership sets the tone throughout an organization, and employees catch on quickly as to whether the managers and leaders are authentic. 

The employee retention and staying power at both Mueller and Sur-Seal speaks to their authentic commitment to serve their employees well. 

Collaboration Leads to Growth and Employee Opportunities 

With like-minded individuals all bringing a humble commitment and equal sharing of ideas and expertise to the table, collaboration has happened at seemingly breakneck speed. 

Many opportunities for employees to grow and move up have come about since the two companies aligned just one month ago. Leadership opportunities are emerging, and new roles are being created. 

CEO Dana Waterman confirms this. “The integration is a true partnership. There have been no layoffs. In fact, there have been several promotions – at both locations.” 

John contends that there are no plans to slow down in that respect. “We will continue to invest in our organizations and our facilities, with plenty of opportunities for growth and leadership.” 

Just Being Good People 

It’s such a simple concept that many organizations overlook, but with a basic cultural identity founded on a deep commitment to people, Mueller and Sur-Seal have seen great success in employee recruitment and retainment, company growth, and new opportunities for promotions and leadership. 

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