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.
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.
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:
We are fearlessly led by Tom Votel, president and chief executive officer; Leon Hoffmann, senior 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.
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.
President and CEO, Ergodyne
Senior VP and CFO, Finance
Senior Vice President, Sales
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: Have fun // Try to stay out of trouble
Favorite Mix(es) on my iPod: Never owned an iPod and never will.
Favorite Book(s): Mystery or self-help – hee hee
Favorite Movie(s): Is there an unfavorite movie? I can't think of one
Proudest Moment(s): Haven't died yet so I don't know
Last Meal: Last night at 7:30 pm.
Alarm Clock Settings: Between 6 a.m. and noon.
Favorite Quote: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." – Gone with the Wind
Surprising Fact: Not much surprising about me, unless you're talking about...
I joined Ergodyne over 20 years ago in the early 90s when the company was at a peak and selling the hell out of back supports. I came from a 20 year history of working for public companies first as internal auditor of a multibillion dollar company traveling all over North America and then to a small company that grew more than tenfold over the twelve years while I served as CFO, took the company public and completed several acquisitions. Eventually I got the axe for insubordination (not agreeing to cook the books) which brought me here. Those early years were a blast but not nearly as much fun as I've had over the past 20 years on the tenacious planet.
I thought I was signing on at Ergodyne as CFO to help take the company public. We ran into a few roadblocks along the way that totally changed our plans. In the end, we learned a few lessons and changed those plans to a new direction – the rest is history and now stuff of legends. We've made this a fun, healthy place to work and a growing, successful company that really does make The Workplace a Betterplace™. My day is about doing everything I can to ensure we have the best employees ("ergodytes") making, selling and delivering the highest quality products and best service in the business at a fair price.
When I'm not plotting and scheming; balancing assets and liabilities; hiring and training our people; improving key business processes; and fixing computers, I like to work out, listen to music and spend time with family. I thought about taking up golf, but I'm not quite old enough yet.
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 laying around at ergodyne.
Can you help us with that?
Okay. We're lying. It's a great place to work and we would welcome your request to learn more about the opportunities to work here. See below for the latest list of available positions.
CURRENT POSITION OPENINGS
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!