It was the summer of 1960, a few weeks after Martin graduated high school. And before he started studying mechanical drafting at vocational school, Doug Ogilvie wanted to put him to work.
Martin’s family had a history with Pierce, after all. His uncle was a machinist in the 30s, and his father welded for a solid 25 years. Martin himself spent his childhood racing through the third floor of the Pierce household, with Dudley (Eugene’s son) on his heels.
Martin Van Domelen
Two years of service (1960-1961)
He started off doing odd jobs for the company – everything from mixing paint to delivering vehicles to detailing Eugene Pierce’s ’32 Packard sedan. And even though he wasn’t building apparatus firsthand, he was very much a part of the culture.
He saw the painstaking detail inherent in all the gold leaf on the apparatus. He knew the care that went into each part and every turn of the ratchet. And he fully understood the caliber of people that he worked with when every single person from the company paid their respects at his father’s funeral.
So when he says something like, “Pierce means #1,” he means it – in more ways than one.
- #1 customers.
- #1 products.
- #1 people.
Mike Van Domelen
Associate Design Engineer
15 years of service
When Mike received firefighter training while he was in the Navy, he thought of home. Home is where his grandfather welded Pierce apparatus and his father ran Pierce deliveries. And Pierce is where he’d apply for a job as soon as he returned.
Mike spent his first 5 years with the company in manufacturing, got a degree in electronics, then moved over to multiplex programming. Because of his experience with the Navy, he’s never considered what he does as “just a job” or what Pierce does as “just manufacturing.” It’s turning everything the customer wants into everything an apparatus can be – to make the best products on the planet. When he imagines the future of the company, he sees more robotics and automation.
“But it’ll never fully replace the hand-building that makes a Pierce a Pierce.”
When he looks back at how much the company has grown and changed, he marvels how the culture has largely stayed the same. Pranks that took place at the city plant (caulked-shut toolboxes, expertly hidden bicycles) still happen today. Leadership of a 2,000+ team refers to individuals by name. People can make world-class products in a place that's held on to its small town heart.