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Otter Tail Corporation VP of Operations in Clearwater, Minnesota


Company Overview:

Experience matters. Since 1948, T.O. Plastics (TOP) has manufactured quality custom thermoformed parts and packaging for the horticultural and medical device packing markets. TOP employees take pride in providing exceptional products and services to customers around the world.

One of the top thermoforming companies in North America, TOP delivers value by focusing on its customers’ needs by offering a full range of services from initial product design-to-distribution program support. At TOP, we are dedicated to excellence and we leverage our experience and core competency to develop customized, cost-effective solutions for businesses in diverse markets. TOP has manufacturing facilities in both Clearwater and Otsego, Minnesota.

Position Summary:

Reporting to the President, the Vice President of Operations is a key member of the Executive Management team for a growth-oriented company with significant annual revenues and operations spanning two regionally located facilities (less than one-hour apart). The Vice President of Operations will assume a strategic role in the overall leadership, management and positioning of the company’s operations to support growth and drive continuous improvement and is responsible for all primary operational departments. The V.P. of Operations works to ensure strategic initiatives and goals are achieved on-time and within stated objectives while fostering a positively engaged performance-based working environment.

With safety being TOP’s top operating priority, the V.P. of Operations will need to lead the Company’s operations to achieve a “safety first” focused culture, while minimizing the frequency of total employee incidents and injuries. He/she will also need to maintain operations that are compliant with OSHA and other applicable safety and health regulations while maintaining compliance with corporate safety audits.

Essential Functions:

Strategy Development, Deployment and Execution:

  • Works closely with the Executive Team to set and execute strategies that support the company’s growth objectives and drive continuous improvement across the business.

  • Assist Executive Team in the development and formulation of short and long-range planning, policies, programs and objectives, including annual strategic deployment.

  • Develops the manufacturing plan and establishes procedures for maintaining high standards of manufacturing operations to ensure all manufactured goods conform to established customer and TOP quality standards.

  • Develops and implements an organizational plan that creates operational cohesiveness and drives sustained continuous improvement behaviors resulting in improved profitability for the business.

  • Manages operational budget and other financial measures.

Department Management – Manufacturing:

  • Management oversight for all areas of Manufacturing activities to ensure products are produced within a focused Quality, Cost and Delivery framework resulting in continuously improved customer satisfaction.

  • Support and execute enhanced SIOP (sales, inventory & operational planning) process that supports company growth objectives, optimizes labor utilization with goal of delighting customers every step of the way.

  • Instill root cause analysis methodology to ensure continuous improvement is sustained.

  • Work collaboratively and cross-departmentally to support new product development efforts and efficient production to ensure successful launches aligned with customer expectations.

  • Introduce new and enhance current performance metrics and tier-based lean manufacturing processes and communication to drive employee engagement, sustainable production savings and increased company profitability.

  • Initiate, own and lead major projects including; facility flow improvements, capital equipment investments, safety & environmental improvements and other key projects as determined from team collaboration exercises.

  • Continually evaluate manufacturing policies and programs to ensure TOP is improving its competitive positions and ability to achieve sustainable profitability from the operations.

Team Development/Leadership:

  • Be present, visible and available to your staff with a bias towards spending maximum time on the production floor.

  • Promote a positive culture of high-performance and continuous improvement where values of safety, continuous learning and a commitment to quality are visible and measurable.

  • Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach; assign accountabilities, set clear objectives, establish priorities, monitor and evaluate results frequently.

Education and/or Experience Requirements:

  • BA/BS in industrial, manufacturing or mechanical engineering with business administration studies.

  • 10+ years’ experience in a manufacturing management in a continuous process-oriented related technology that utilizes semi-automated equipment w/tooling in a volume production environment (note: prior experience in thermoforming process industry a plus but not required).

  • Experience working with manufacturing-based technology in some form of a regulated background – ISO certified (e.g., automotive, aerospace, medical), with a proven track record of driving sustained improvement in a process/value-stream focused operation.

  • Successful implementation of manufacturing Best Practices and Lean principles.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Ability to manage and lead staff to excellent performance in multi-site/shift operations with a highly-varied skill level workforce.

  • Proven track record of success in facilitating progressive organizational change and development within a growing organization. Ability to Mentor/Develop a Strong Supervisor Level Team.

  • Work effectively and relate well with others. Exhibit a professional manner in dealing with others, working to maintain constructive working relationships.

  • Direct and concise communication skills. Active listener.

  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to multi-task in a fast pace environment,

  • Superior written and oral communications skills with the ability to present at multiple levels in the organization in a way that focuses, inspires and engages others to deliver results.

  • Ability to effectively deploy ERP and machine information technology tools to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness. Ability to use Microsoft Office software at an intermediate level.


Flexibility to manage a multi-shift, multi-location business. Minimal travel is required for this position. Valid driver’s license is required.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Sedentary Work: Exerting up to 25 pounds of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required only occasionally and all other sedentary criteria are met.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Incumbents are typically in a controlled office work environment with few physical hazards.