A look back at 2020, Blog Post
WCCO Belting started the year like any other. The strategic plan was in place and employees were anxiously waiting at the starting line to see what the new year would bring. As a result of the pandemic, however, the business was forced to shift and adapt in ways many didn’t know were possible. The team came together (several virtually), continued to innovate, celebrated project milestones, earned awards, and became stronger through it all.
As 2020 comes to a close, WCCO Belting’s leadership is exceedingly proud of the accomplishments over the year considering the unprecedented hurdles that were overcome to achieve them.
- In January, with support and feedback from WCCO Belting’s employees, the company launched an Employee Value Proposition which states: “While we're proud of what we’ve built here, we're even more proud we created a company around people who love to work, collaborate, and grow together. You sense it on day one. This is a place that celebrates family values, a healthy work-life balance, and being an active neighbor in the community. This is where your work ethic and creativity are rewarded — all powered by unmatched WCCO Belting teamwork that pushes you to perfect your skills and grow your career. Each day, we prove that loving where you work begins with the people you work with.” CEO/President, Tom Shorma, wrote an article for Chief Executive Magazine about how the company’s EVP guided them through the pandemic.
- In March, WCCO Belting announced its patent-pending Direct X belting design for crushing, grinding, sorting, screening, and piling operations for aggregate and recycling industries. The announcement was made at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. The patent-pending Direct X cleat profile increases conveyor capacity more than 25% by capturing more material across the belt width than standard industry patterns. These benefits, in addition to its low-profile, high strength belt construction, create a high value solution that increases performance, longevity and efficiency. The announcement was also shared by Modern Quarrying, Aggregate Research, Pit & Quarry, and Rock Products.
- With a passion for helping expose high school students to careers in manufacturing, CEO/President Tom Shorma spoke with area students at two events:
- January – Tom sat on a panel for Breckenridge, Minnesota High School’s Student Showcase Roundtable speaking with students regarding the criteria manufacturers seek when hiring interns and employees. Tom shared job skills needed for the 21st century and beyond.
- October – Tom and other local business leaders spoke with Milnor, North Dakota High School students at a Jamestown University event for National Manufacturing Day about careers available in manufacturing.
- In April, WCCO Belting was interviewed for an article in AgriTech Tomorrow about its belting solution for the hemp harvesting industry. In June, North America Farm Equipment Magazine also shared WCCO Belting’s success in hemp harvesting applications. The article highlighted the benefits of working together with equipment manufacturers, engineering team to engineering team, to determine operating requirements can substantially shorten the time-to-market for new models.
- In July, WCCO Belting’s Vice President of Business Development, Jean Voorhees, was interviewed by Rubber & Plastics News and quoted alongside other industry representatives on Women Changing the Look of Rubber Industry.
- One of the company’s highest honors was achieved in August when it was awarded the “Manufacturing Leadership Award for Operational Excellence” from The Manufacturing Leadership Council, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers. WCCO Belting’s operations, facilities, and maintenance teams were recognized for outstanding achievement for a project that created and implemented solutions to drive efficiency in product setups and material handling at the facility in Wahpeton, N.D., USA.
- In September, Prairie Business Magazine named WCCO Belting one of 2020’s 50 Best Places to Work. This is the company’s fourth year in a row to have earned the recognition. WCCO Belting remains the only company in Wahpeton, N.D. to be named to the coveted recipient list.
- Also in September, CEO/President Tom Shorma was one of seven people honored by the North Dakota State College of Science Alumni Foundation as a 2020 Homecoming Honoree. He received the award for his support of the college personally and through WCCO Belting.
- In October, CEO/President Tom Shorma was a member of a town hall panel that included Kimberly Reed, the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). The objective of the panel was to promote the benefits available to U.S. businesses. Following the event, U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer, John Hoeven and Chairman Reed toured WCCO Belting. In addition, WCCO Belting was featured on the bank’s website to share the company’s success using EXIM Bank support to export to more than 20 countries, and in December an article ran in The Hill about WCCO Belting’s successes with EXIM.
- In honor of National Manufacturing Day on October 2, WCCO Belting partnered with two global manufacturers based in the area, Spectrum Aeromed and Falcon Plastics, on an article featuring companies in middle America that are innovating industries – and lives – with their products. The article was published in Industry Today.
- With the announcement of a new patent-pending design of its Direct X conveyor belting for aggregate and recycling applications, WCCO Belting’s conveyor system expertise was covered in a number of industry publications throughout the year including:
- March - Aggregates Business, The Importance of Conveyor Belting Basics
- June - Pit & Quarry, Comparing Belt Requirements for Stationary vs Mobile Crushers
- November – Construction & Demolition Recycling, Seven Conveyor Belt Considerations for Stationary vs Mobile Crushers
- November – Pit & Quarry, Increase Conveyor Belt Life While Reducing Costs
WCCO Belting is proud of its customers, suppliers, partners, and loyal, dedicated employees for helping to make this year one to remember not only for its challenges, but for its successes during unprecedented hardship. We look forward to what successes 2021 will bring.