Norm Forest, 54
CEO, Dymotek Corp., Ellington, Conn.
Q: Describe your company, what it does, and its culture.
Forest: Dymotek was founded by two brothers that invented a proprietary product for the ADA in the plumbing industry. The owners sold the product lines and patent life in 2004 while contracting to continue to supply the product. Post-sale, Dymotek invested heavily in robotics and automation as a way to keep jobs in the United States with an abundance of world class engineering. We specialize in multi-material molding featuring silicone and thermoplastic two-shot of which we have extreme expertise
Q: What's the most interesting or unusual job you've ever had?
Forest: For many years I managed a lab environment at Mold Systems Ltd. that, over the years, became the Hanson Group LLC. I loved the processes and had the opportunity to work with exotic materials and processes like gas assist. It was ever-changing, challenging and expanding on outside-of-the-box approaches and deliverables.
Q: What was your first job in plastics?
Forest: I started as an operator at Milton Bradley in East Longmeadow, Mass. I quickly moved up to mold setter and then process tech and started to understand the detail of processing injection molding. Next I moved into hydraulics and then mold repair, which cemented the foundation for the process. Each was a leg of the stool that taught me the basics on how things worked in concert to get the quality product.
Q: Tell us about a mentor you've had in your career.
Forest: There have been many and I am forever blessed and grateful for them all: Mold Systems/Hanson Group owner Glenn Hanson taught me the importance of reaching out for consulting and development to make ourselves better stewards of the industry.
Executive coach Harry Gilligan taught me “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This has been pivotal for me in maintaining a strong positive culture.
Jeffrey Goodman, a previous Jack Welch associate, taught me the passion for making the numbers. Understanding how to use key performance indicators to drive to make numbers versus having numbers happen was paradigm-changing for me.
Q: When did you become CEO, and what was your first goal?
Forest: I became CEO in 2014 and really felt like the CEO beforehand. I always ran the business as though I was in control and the stockholders of the company have always given me full latitude to bring success. My first goal and regular initiative is: how can I bring the company to the next level? It often requires change, which can be painful, but must be promoted to meet optimum corporation health.
Q: What's the best career advice you've received?
Forest: As I demand development from others I also push myself to further grow and mature. An article that was shared through a roundtable with Clear Vision Alliance said a CEO loses objective thinking at four and a half years of employment. After a few years, relationships, complacency and progress start to cloud a CEO's actions. So, as I have been with the company for almost 20 years, it really hit home.
Q: What advice would you give to someone starting at your company tomorrow?
Forest: I expect what I strive for to be the most respectful, the most open communication and the most challenging environment to make and keep the company special while creating world-class experiences for our customers.
Q: What do you want your legacy to be as CEO?
Forest: I hope and strive to have my legacy be that success can be defined as an entire corporation prospering from ethical, moral and high-road decisions, providing opportunities for all associates. I am responsible for the livelihood of 120 families. My strongest ambition is to give to others as those mentors in my past that have given and developed me. One of my associates exceeding in or outside of my company is the most rewarding return on that promise for me.