Tom Votel

Tom Votel
Tom's List


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


Chills // Wine and Conversation // Run Lola Run // 50 Ways to Love Your Anger // Tasty Jazz // Any Beethoven Composition // Trane and Miles


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


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


Marrying Boop // Birth of our marvelous girls // Seeing our company and people grow


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


Down 1 a.m.-ish and up 7 a.m.-ish


"Never, never, never give up." – Winston Churchill


Played drums in a band with Yanni

Tom Votel

President & CEO

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.