How Park Industries® Stays on the Cutting Edge
St. Cloud is known as the Granite City—and much homage is paid to our area’s rich legacy of stone. From baseball teams to hometown celebrations and even restaurants bearing the name, Central Minnesota is known for stone. The first quarry opened in 1863; now there are over 30 granite quarries in the Greater St. Cloud Area alone. It’s a strong backbone of our community—just like Park Industries®, a 50-year+ company helping the rest of North America benefit from the beauty and strength of stone.
Central Minnesota Manufacturing
Established in 1953, Park Industries® began as a manufacturer of small stone splitters. It’s a third-generation, family-owned business based in St. Cloud offering High Definition Plasma Solutions, CNC Routers, CNC SawJets, Water System, and more equipment for the stone fabrication industry. Think of stone countertops. Park Industries® designs and manufactures the saws and routers for the people who fabricate those very countertops. To date, Park Industries® has over 11,000 machine installations across the U.S. and Canada.
Joan Schatz is co-President of Park Industries® alongside Mike Schlough, whose grandfather Leon Schlough founded the company. She’s shared the helm with Mike since 2012. “It’s a really fun business. The equipment has a lot of wow factor to it. We’re an engineer’s paradise in a lot of ways. We support big, impressive-looking equipment that’s not uncommon to weigh 25,000 pounds. It takes an entire semi-truck to ship. It’s also highly technological,” Schatz said.
Empowering its People the ParkWay
Park Industries employs nearly 300 associates—not employees. Schatz said, “A big component of our business is customer service. A lot of our customers are smaller operators, many of which are also family-owned. A sizable fabricator, for example, might have just 15 employees. It’s a small operation and our equipment is core to their business. If a piece of our equipment goes down, they can’t fabricate stone. If they can’t fabricate stone, they can’t make money. So, customer support is huge. We provide 24/7 phone support and training opportunities for our customers to use our equipment effectively.”
The ParkWay is the company’s internal culture program and is reflective of developing and instilling a strong company culture that treats associates and customers the right way, or as Park Industries® calls it, the ParkWay.
Schatz shared, “The hallmarks of ParkWay focus on trust, integrity, and respect—values and behaviors that each associate strives to live by each day. Associates use ParkWay to represent Park in every interaction, whether it be with a fellow associate, vendor, or helping a customer. Regardless of role, tenure, or experience level, the expectation is the same. Company culture spills over into company purpose—creating outstanding experiences by providing the most dependable, high-precision manufacturing solutions that enable customers, associates, and the community to thrive. This is truly definitional for us.”
Schatz continued, “You’ll notice we call our people associates, not employees. It’s related to respect. It’s esteem and highlights the value and emphasis we place on our team.”
Central to its Mission
“We are very community-minded. We’re very involved with the United Way of Central Minnesota (the company launched its first workplace campaign in 1977!) and we do a lot with Vex Robotics, which is very important here in Central Minnesota. We encourage our associates to be involved with different community groups and volunteering to help our region. The theory behind that is we think being a good corporate citizen goes beyond obeying the law and paying taxes. Actually helping and supporting the community in an active way means a strong community. A strong community means we have a great population from which to draw associates as well.
“If the community is strong, we can be strong.”
“It’s much easier to be a strong company for a long time that can do a great job for our customers and associates than it is to try to accomplish that in a community that’s struggling. That’s a big reason why we’re involved in community-based efforts like the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp.” Schatz said.
When asked about the opportunities that await Central Minnesota, Schatz shared, “Maintaining a vibrant downtown. We have such a remarkable resource in the Mississippi River and being able to take advantage of that with recreational activities while maintaining the environmental integrity of the river is crucial. Another opportunity is the educational institutions here. St. Cloud Technical and Community College which Park is heavily involved with, SCSU, and St. Ben’s/St. John’s. That’s a pretty remarkable lineup and to tap into those institutions I think is a cultural opportunity like none other. I think we sit in a sweet spot and should continue leveraging the diverse cultures that live here as a real strength in terms of our businesses. The more diverse thoughts and prospectus, the stronger we can be.”