We make the workplace a better place.

Straight outta good ole St. Paul, Minnesota, we’ve spent the past 30 years developing hardworking gear and cool stuff that Make the Workplace a Betterplace™ for the folks in the trenches and on the front lines. Our Tenacious Work Gear® and safety supplies manage the elements, improve productivity and provide protection for workers all over the planet.

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We are intensely committed to the safety community and generating disproportionately positive results for workers, safety pros and sellers of our stuff. A passionate, fully committed and growing army of global representatives and authorized distributors are poised and ready to serve the millions of workers all over the 3rd rock who put our gear on every day and then brainwashing those who don’t… yet. We accomplish this through a unique combination of tenacious listening, focus and the pursuit of excellence.

Innovation & Excellence

Since the day we planted our flag and set up shop, we have been lucky to be awarded 91 global patents (with an additional 16 pending!) and 55 trademarks. Along the way, we have been recognized with multiple growth awards and several international innovation and design honors, including:

  • Two times on Inc. Magazine's list of the 500 Fastest Growing Small Companies in the U.S.;
  • Ernst & Young/Inc. Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year Award;
  • I.D. Magazine's Design Distinction Award and the Medical Design Excellence Award;
  • OHS Magazine's Product of the Year Award;
  • Minnesota Business's Best Companies Award; as well as
  • Twin Cities Business Journal's Best Places to Work and Healthiest Employer Awards.
Hey, we try harder. ☺

Crackerjack Team

We are fearlessly led by Tom Votel, president and chief executive officer; Sue Horvath, vice president of finance and operations and chief financial officer; Mark Lindstrom, senior vice president of sales and scores of other great folks completely obsessed with delivering safety excellence.

Intergalactic Headquarters

Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota (the center of the universe), our offices are located in the historic Bandana Square, a former Northern Pacific Railway repair shop originally constructed in 1885 by James J. Hill. Our space is pretty dang cool, including its brand-inspired floor plan, larger than life wall graphics and pulse-pumping iPod mixes. It’s a stimulating creative space where innovation is not just encouraged – it’s required.

Thomas Votel

Thomas Votel

President and CEO, Ergodyne

Tom's Bio

Sue Horvath

Sue Horvath

VP and CFO, Executive

Sue's Bio

Mark Lindstrom

Mark Lindstrom

Senior Vice President, Sales

Mark's Bio

Childhood Ambition: Be Tony Esposito // Then be John Bonham or Keith Moon // Then Yvon Chouinard

Favorite Mix(es) on my iPod: Chills // Wine and Conversation // Run Lola Run // 50 Ways to Love Your Anger // Tasty Jazz  // Any Beethoven Composition // Trane and Miles

Favorite Book(s): Call of the Wild // Huckleberry Finn // For Whom the Bell Tolls // A Confederacy of Dunces // The Things They Carried // The Moviegoer // Legends of the Fall

Favorite Movies: The Dirty Dozen // 2001 A Space Odyssey // Apocalypse Now // Alien // Unforgiven // Raging Bull // Immortal Beloved // The Shawshank Redemption

Proudest Moment(s): Marrying Boop // Birth of our marvelous girls // Seeing our company and people grow

Last Meal: Wedge with Blue Cheese // Filet with Sautéed Onions // Grilled Asparagus // Dollop of Béarnaise // Bottle of Caymus // Sharing it all with people I love!

Alarm clock Setting: Down 1 a.m.-ish and up 7 a.m.-ish

Favorite Quote: "Never, never, never give up." – Winston Churchill

Surprising Fact: Played drums in a band with Yanni

I became president and CEO of Minnesota-based Ergodyne in 1985 – just two years after becoming the company’s first full-time employee. This sounds like a big hoop-dee-doo. It was not. We were out of dough and everyone else had jumped ship. Well, all righty then!

I had a nice break (meeting the beloved J.E. Barnard), needed buckets of tenacity and got down to business. This meant a couple decades or so of living on planes, trains and automobiles. Elegant and glorious. We’ve had a myriad of challenges and changes since – including, countless product introductions and patents; some crazy growth; a couple appearances on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 Fastest Growing Small Companies in the U.S.; being kicked in the teeth by an elephantine government agency… then fighting them back; being trampled on by a corporate giant; a steep decline… then a long climb out; some solid sustainable growth and so much more – damn! We’ve had us some times.

When not selling, downloading music or pestering folks, I spend my time trying to figure out who we are and where we are going – or as W put it so brilliantly, “strategery” – all while focusing semi-insanely on building and protecting our venerable and badass brand. Thirty years in, I remain deeply committed to the safety community and hope our heartfelt daily quest to develop and market innovative, smartly-designed, high-quality solutions for the workers in the trenches and on the frontlines actually makes The Workplace a Betterplace™.

Childhood Ambition: My strongest memory of an ambition was to be the first Female President of the United States. I changed my mind pretty quickly after volunteering on several different (unsuccessful and not to be named here) campaigns.

Favorite Mix(es) on my iPod: Eric Clapton // Bonnie Raitt // Café Accordion Orchestra // Chantal Chamberland and the Beatles

Favorite Book(s): Classics by Hemmingway and Austin and newer novels by Stephan King and James Lee Burke and Louise Penny // Gift from the Sea // All the Tolkien books // The Disciplines of Market Leaders

Favorite Movie(s): Peter Jackson did a really great job of bringing the Tolkien book's to life in the Lord of the Rings films

Proudest Moment(s): Being a mother/ step mother – of four adult children // My happiest moment was when I married David // Being selected to join the Tenacious team as their new CFO

Last Meal: Rueben Sandwich with lots of Sauerkraut

Alarm Clock Settings: 5:45 am which gives me time for a short walk, a little earlier on the days I go to the gym

Favorite Quote: “The only place the Success comes before Work is in the Dictionary” – no idea who said it first but I live it

Surprising Fact: : Went Back Country camping with bears, mosquitos and David in Denali National Park – was there for the summer solstice reading without a flashlight at 2 am.

I am thrilled and proud to be joining Tenacious Holdings as VP and CFO. I know (after just 30 days) that I have joined an organization that has been well managed through exceptional growth and a finance team that is strong, professional and smart – all a credit to my fabulous predecessor Leon Hoffman who has retired after 22 years with the Company.

I have over thirty years of Accounting and Finance experience; in the last ten years I have also had experience as a general manager for an international business and have led Operations, Quality and HR for a number of smaller organizations. I have had both public and private company experience, and started my career as a CPA in public accounting.

I work best as a strategic, financial partner for growth with a smart, dynamic cross functional leadership team committed to strong brands and good people. I believe that is exactly the sort of team and company that I have found here at Ergodyne!

Childhood Ambition: To be the fastest man in the world // Please my Mom and Dad

Favorite Mix(es) on my iPod: Recently Purchased // My Mood // J's Plays

Favorite Book(s): The Power of One // Flowers for Algernon

Favorite Movie(s): Alien // Braveheart // Last of the Mohicans // The Shawshank Redemption // Silence of the Lambs

Proudest Moment(s): Witnessing Andrea's resolve. Ongoing!

Last Meal: Pork chop…please is there anything better?

Alarm clock Settings: My brain is an alarm clock. Can awake at any designated time in any time zone. Bet on it.

Favorite Quote: "I can replace all of you with chimps!" - Tom Votel

Surprising Fact: I fear being devoured by an animal some day and I really love to paint.

Originally from Massachusetts, I literally fought my way through a family of five brothers (explains this annoying little facial twitch). Graduated from Boston University and began my "working" life as a physical therapist and then a variety of safety sales positions before embarking on my journey from darkness to light (light being the start of my career at Ergodyne in 1998 of course). Extending the metaphor, it was also a move from cloudy Pittsburgh to sunny St. Paul; figure that was mostly a push weather-wise.

I started as vice president of sales in the industrial division charged with growing a business that was struggling, more than a bit, to regain a solid footing in the industrial and safety channels. We strapped on a pair and together got new and varied distribution in place; consolidated out a good deal of our competition; and eventually made significant headway with important end user market segments. Today, as the senior vice president of sales, I have an impressive and growing team that manages a robust global business comprised of many of the top distributors in the world. Times are not as tough as they were back then, but I can assure you we are no less hungry to grow our business and expand our brand into every corner of the globe.

A kind of metamorphosis takes place for many here at Ergodyne and that has certainly been the case for me. We not only make, market and sell innovative products – we dwell in an inspired environment where we can and are encouraged to express ourselves in unique and productive ways. That freedom has truly helped me more deeply enjoy my creative side. I share that side with my sweetheart Jodi, my daughter Andrea, son Ross, friends and family here and back east.


We are constantly trying to replace all the dead weight here at Ergodyne. Can you help us with that?

Okay. We're lying. It's a great place to work (some might even call us a “best place to work”) and we would welcome your request to learn more about the opportunities to join us here at the Orange Planet.

See below for the latest list of available positions.


  • No current openings, please check back soon!
work here

Dr. Pepper was not a real person, but there is indeed a real Dr. Tom Votel, and we owe much to him. In the early eighties, Dr. V. had a vision to start a side venture developing safety products for workers that helped reduce the associated costs of worker injury. Humbly starting some experiments at his thriving occupational medicine practice, he found that workers liked his version of an “industrial back support” and thus the first Ergodyne product was born. The rest is now history. So we all want to say – thanks, Doc, for getting us going. We sure hope you are proud of where we are today and where we can still go!


Copyright © 2000 - 2012 Ergodyne, A Division of Tenacious Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All Wrongs Reversed.

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