Betsy Goltermann serves as the vice chairman of the board at Berkeley, Ill.-based KI Industries Inc. She has served as KI's chief financial officer, controller and staff accountant.
Founded in 1964 by Bob and Marcia Goltermann, KI Industries designs and manufactures decorative plastic molded and die cast components for the automotive and appliance industries.
"I joined the company as a second-generation member of the then-$5M family business and was part of a leadership team that grew the company profitably and developed management and ownership succession," she said in her Women Breaking the Mold survey.
Goltermann has a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
"Since our business was family-founded, I worked sorting parts or filing papers during school vacations. We were sometimes paid at piecework rates, all good experiences for a young person," she said. "I joined the business after working in public accounting at Deloitte and worked for my uncle. We had about 25 employees when I started."
KI Industries has been an employee-owned company since 2012.
Goltermann advises those considering a career in the plastics industry should "consider working for an ESOP-owned [employee stock ownership plan] enterprise," noting culture, sustainability and long-term view.
She credits her father, KI founder Bob Goltermann; uncle Carl Goltermann, who led the company for 20 years (1976-96); and cousin she worked with for 30 years (1989-19) as mentors.
To unwind, Betsy Goltermann cooks, exercises, reads and spends time with her family.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Goltermann: Keeping the long view of what the other side of COVID looks like and when it will occur.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Goltermann: How it has grown during my lifetime and its wide range of successful businesses.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Goltermann: Developing in-mold decorating (film and labels), aesthetic back lighting and gas-assist molded finishes.
Q: Greatest achievement?
Goltermann: Growing the business by taking strategic risks, pivoting with changes as our customers changed, being part of a best-in-class leadership team.
Q: Biggest failure and what it taught you?
Goltermann: We had some stumbles with our first acquisition integration, which we recovered from. Lesson learned: having the right people on the bus is paramount.