Portrait of a Better World: Ron Hefley

December 10, 2014
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller

Barry-Wehmiller’s “Portraits of a Better World” video series features team members from across the organization sharing how Truly Human Leadership is alive in their corner of our global organization. Whether describing their leadership at work, their contributions within their communities, or the indirect impact of our culture on their families, these short vignettes give voice to the many ways we are using the power of our business to build a better world.

When Ron Hefley joined Barry-Wehmiller’s Design Group as an intern in 1997, the firm consisted of about 50 professionals in an office in St. Louis, MO primarily focused on servicing Barry-Wehmiller’s existing beverage and brewing industry clients. Today, just 17 years later, the firm has grown to 900 professionals in 30 offices across the US, serving the world’s leading companies with engineering and technology services to the beverage, dairy, food, household/personal care, life sciences and industrial sectors.

The firm’s phenomenal growth, diversification and performance are a direct result of its commitment to its vision to build a prominent engineering consulting firm grounded in Truly Human Leadership. And that means making sure a people-first culture is fostered in every location they establish.

“Identifying a principled leader is an essential business prerequisite before we invest in a new office location,” explained Joe Wilhelm, Managing Partner. That leader must be a dedicated champion of Design Group’s ‘One Firm’ business model, which establishes that the success of the firm, the development of its professionals, and the ideals of its culture supersede the localized goals of a project, client or office. “While we expect that each Design Group office will have its own ‘personality’,” said Wilhelm, “all of our office leaders must reflect an unequivocal commitment to Truly Human Leadership.”

Ron recognized an opportunity to lend his leadership skills to Design Group’s Chicago office in 2008, and due to his ongoing commitment to people he was subsequently promoted to Partner. Today, Hefley helps to lead a team of about 40 professionals in the Chicago office. “Ron is passionate about sharing Design Group’s vision with his team, and empowering each of them to make an impact. He truly values and nurtures each individual, and enjoys coaching them as they grow in their professional experience,” Wilhelm explained.

Design Group has a goal to surpass 1,000 professionals in the firm within the next year.  Leaders like Ron are critical to the firm’s ongoing success.

“The way we conduct business is contagious,” Hefley said. “Whether leading the professionals in my office, working with our clients, or interacting with any of our stakeholders, I realize—and take very seriously- -the opportunity I have to impact their lives in a positive way.”

To see other Portraits of a Better World, click here.

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