Made in Missouri, Live from the 2024 Midwest Manufacturers Trade Show & Conference

This episode is all about ‘Made in Missouri’ and was recorded live at the 2024 Midwest Manufacturers Trade Show & Conference. It’s a special episode for host Chris Luecke, because not only did he grow up in Missouri, but also because he is a big fan of the Missouri Association of Manufacturers, which is a group that’s constantly advocating for manufacturing and building a great community of manufacturers in their area.

This episode is a compilation of three different interviews with three very interesting manufacturers from three different parts of Missouri, focusing on what it’s like to manufacture in the Midwest.

Chris speaks to Pavel Bosovik, founder and CEO of 27North, where they make expedition vans and adventure vehicles, Josh Shelton the owner of Etched Nameplate Company as well as Kevin Thompson, CFO turned Leadership Coach at Cambridge Air Solutions, who talks about how to create a culture that makes you the talk of the industry.

For loads of insights, invaluable advice, and an in-depth look at how to leverage others in your manufacturing ecosystem, don’t miss this episode.


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. When you document processes you have to be as specific and precise as you can be. The earlier you start documenting the detailed process, the quicker you can scale it.
  2. Kansas City does a good job of connecting with students and building out programs where manufacturing leaders can connect with students thinking about career paths.
  3. Missouri saw a big decline of large manufacturers in the 90s. Rising up in their place are privately held smaller companies. They are the backbone of the St. Louis manufacturing industry.

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “I wish there was a secret sauce or I could say, ‘hey, my bachelor’s degree helped’. It definitely accelerated the process. It helped me lay the foundation, and know the vocabulary. But in any new business or new product that you launch, the process is the hardest part.” Pavel
  • “If you want to scale your company from $20 million to $100 million, find $100 million companies. Forget Elon Musk. Find people that are the next step of where you want to be in your journey.” Pavel
  • “We don’t exist to make HVAC equipment. We exist to enrich lives. We happen to enrich lives by making, and distributing HVAC equipment.” Kevin

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing everyday? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn.

SwipeGuide is empowering frontline excellence through standard work and skills development. The clear-cut platform lets frontline teams coordinate instructions, checklists, and training to optimize processes. Hear how HEINEKEN is using SwipeGuide in Episode 167.

EPLAN provides software and service solutions in the fields of electrical engineering, automation, and mechatronics engineering. They’ve developed one of the world’s leading design software solutions for machine, plant, and panel builders, providing data-driven panel design capabilities to manufacturers. Click here to listen to our full interview with EPLAN’s International Solutions Architect Sean Mulherrin.

What We Discuss with Pavel, Josh, and Kevin

  • How Pavel industrialized the process of making adventure vans
  • His big recommendation for anyone launching a new product or company
  • The importance of real-time user feedback and how it sets 27North apart
  • The part of their vans that Pavel most loves to tell people about
  • Pavel’s vision and dream for the company when he was just starting out
  • Why it’s so important to surround yourself with the right people when building a business
  • How getting fired was the springboard Josh Shelton needed to start Etched
  • What characteristics make someone the right co-founder for your business
  • What it’s like being a part of the Midwest manufacturing community
  • Why Etched has acquired a new company every year since 2020
  • What it means when Cambridge Air Solutions says they’re in the business of enriching lives
  • How their morning meetings have made them the talk of the industry
  • How manufacturing ambassadors are working to build relationships and enrich the community
  • Transitioning from CFO to Leadership Coach and why the company was so ready for it
  • What the manufacturing scene is like in St. Louis currently

Recommended Resources

Connect with Pavel, Josh, and Kevin

Pavel Bosovik | Josh Shelton | Kevin Thompson | Missouri Association of Manufacturers