HBS-NEO Harvard Business School Club of Northeastern Ohio HBS-NEO

Membership: Member Interviews

Don Mottinger

(Interview continued from e-mail newsletter.)

Q. Does China affect your business?
A. Absolutely. I just came back from a month there. It affects us in two ways. First, we are buying base products used in manufacturing from China. (But, we're not replacing the things we do here with Chinese manufacturing, because we can out-compete them here on what we do.) Secondly, we're developing a sales strategy in China, and we're currently even introducing products in Southeast Asia.
Q. You are a bit of a mentor to a variety of area HBS grads. Did you fall into this, or did you actively seek out this type of role?

I have an absolutely fanatical commitment to education. We're paying for two MBAs inside Superior, which is a very small company. We had five interns this summer from Miami of Ohio, Dartmouth, Ohio State and others. I'm on the board of education in Chagrin Falls, and on the advisory board for Max Hayes high school. I'm very, very committed to developing talent for the future. I will stop everything I'm doing to help someone, whether a machinist or an MBA graduate, get excited about manufacturing. We have to improve our employees or we cannot be competitive.

Q. If you could go back to HBS today to take one class, what would it be?
A. Logistics. I don't think they tied it all together well when I was there. Logistics was kind of a non-important issue, or perhaps it didn't even exist at that point. However, it's what customers want more than anything else right now.
Q. What's the best part of being a member of HBS-NEO?

It offers great contacts to talented people. The key to running a small business is to have great contacts and advisors on the outside because you can't have them inside the company.

Q. What would you like to see the HBS Club of Northeast Ohio do differently, or better, over the next five years?
A. Focus on the programs, especially in the Patron's breakfasts. I'd like to see them continue to focus on a theme and pursue that theme throughout the course of the year.

See other Member Interviews.