D. Ann Shiffler at American Cranes & Transport recently sat down to interview DICA CEO, Kris Koberg. The interview appears on page 31 and 32 of the May 2014 issue and includes topics covering DICA company history and how we started with outrigger pads, the dynamics of working in a family business, the launch of our new FiberMax Crane Pads and thoughts on the industry going forward.
Below are some of the article highlights. Thank you to D. Ann and the entire American Cranes & Transport team for including DICA so prominently in their May 2014 issue!
Is it ever difficult to work with your brothers and family members? How do you deal with issues if and when they arise?
Yes. The good news is that we are all wired differently. The bad news is that we are all wired differently. We try to address issues that arise openly and honestly, which will always be a work in progress. Currently, we are working together through a study called The Ascent of a Leader (by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol and Ken McElrath) that is assisting us in gaining a deeper understanding of what character-centered leadership is and what steps we can take to engage in it. Some of the early benefits are simply gaining a deeper understanding of each other, while also developing better communication skills. We have come a long way from highly competitive boys playing tackle football in the family room to having to learn how to respect each other, trust each other and run a business together. As you might imagine, this is a constant learning process but one we are committed to.
What is your company’s most successful product?
Engineered thermoplastic Safety Tech® outrigger pads. This is the product that put DICA on the map and is generally synonymous with what someone thinks about when they hear or see DICA.
At ConExpo, DICA introduced the new FiberMax mats. What distinguishes this product?
The FiberMax product is made up of three distinct lines or “duty’s” that each serve different types of equipment. The Heavy Duty line performs very similar to our Heavy Duty Safety Tech line. It is a different material with different properties that some customers may prefer to our Safety Tech engineered thermoplastic material. The Super Duty line provides a nice option for equipment and soil combinations that requires an extra rigid base between 9 and 16 square feet. The Mega Duty line, available in standard thicknesses from 4” to 10” allows us to fit every crane currently manufactured. This product can be constructed to be strong and rigid like steel at 50 percent of the weight and will not rot, delaminate, rust or break down like wood or steel. It is an engineered material where the material properties are not affected by the elements or prolonged use. Designing mat solutions for low soil bearing capacities and high loads is no longer a problem.
What is it you like about working in this industry?
Outstanding people, who care deeply and who are committed to each other. The industry is driven by ideas, innovation and execution. Exciting developments happen daily. Construction and manufacturing are the backbone of great economies. This is where things are built.
What is your business philosophy?
Our Uncle Leo, who ran a successful GM dealership for decades, used the principle that “People do business with people they like” as a cornerstone of his success. My Dad and DICA founder Dick Koberg has always been focused on making sure we have a “win-win-win” philosophy in whatever we’re doing. Both of those ideas are central to what we do at DICA every day. In addition to those, I believe culture and communication are the cornerstones to long-term success. Ideas are easy — execution is hard. Our greatest power is our power to choose. To be successful, we must use it wisely.