Challenge Accepted: Craig’s Story
Craig Jung is the Regional President of our STI territory at Hartwig, Inc. Craig is responsible for leading our sales and service teams for Hartwig customers across the St. Louis metropolitan area and the states of Illinois and Iowa. Craig’s story is a great example of how hard work, a dedication to learning, and leadership come together to create success for our team members at Hartwig.
Coming up in the industry
Craig attended the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and he also obtained a degree in tool and die programming from South County Technical School. He started his manufacturing career in the early 1980s at McDonnell Douglas, which was the predecessor to the global aerospace giant now known as Boeing. Craig’s role at McDonnell Douglas was working on the CNC machining team developing programs and tooling for the fabrication of aircraft components.
After several years at McDonnell Douglas, Craig and several members of his team were let go in a round of sweeping layoffs enacted by the company in response to the challenging economic climate of the early 1990s. He found work at a local machine shop in south St. Louis city, eventually working his way up to shop supervisor. Some of his duties included coaching and training operators, in addition to making purchasing decisions regarding new equipment for the shop. In this role, Craig was first introduced to Hartwig.
“I always knew that standing in front of a machine day in and day out wasn’t for me,” Jung remembered. He relished his leadership role, especially deriving fulfillment from teaching operators to improve and helping them sharpen their skills. However, after several years, he found himself looking for a new challenge. Then in 1998, Craig saw an advertisement from Hartwig for a CNC Trainer position.
Craig’s Hartwig career begins
Craig joined the Hartwig team as CNC Trainer, where he taught courses on machine tool operations and programming. Then, a position opened in Hartwig’s application engineering department, and Craig stepped in.
Craig began to leverage his personality and communication skills to team up with Hartwig salespeople on large projects. His technical expertise helped educate prospective customers in a way that gave them confidence in Hartwig’s ability to deliver solutions that worked. This success created a natural progression for Craig into sales and project management roles several years later.
Stepping up to lead
In 2012, Craig was in a project management role when he received a visitor at his desk.
“Gary Hartwig approached me and said he wanted me to take this assessment test,” Craig remembered. The assessment was for a newly opened “team leader” position in the organization, a role that is now known as Regional President. Craig passed the test and was promoted to his new leadership role.
“It was really flattering, but also nerve-wracking to be the first leader in the home office that wasn’t a Hartwig family member,” Craig said. “The Hartwigs placed a lot of trust in me to run the region.”
Now Regional President of Hartwig’s STI region, today, the engineering department and the St. Louis office sales team report to Craig. He kicks off every week with a Monday huddle where the team shares updates about new business, company metrics, and recent “wins.” Craig spends time coaching and developing his sales team to expand their knowledge and strengthen customer relationships, in addition to maintaining customer partnerships of his own. He is also responsible for key financial metrics of his region, making sure his departments are tracking toward targets.
Craig is a passionate leader who prefers to keep the spotlight on his team members. “My favorite part of my job is seeing people succeed,” Craig said. “I enjoy setting people up for success so they can move forward and help our customers move forward.”
Fostering a winning culture
Craig believes that the culture at Hartwig plays an important role in his success and the sustained growth of the company. The inner drive for continuous improvement is a trait that is shared among team members at all levels at Hartwig.
“We’re always up against our competitors for business, but most importantly, we’re always competing against who we were yesterday,” Craig said. “Our team members are Hartwig go above and beyond to make that happen.”
The spirit that Craig helps instill in his team makes us excited for the future at Hartwig. We are grateful for his leadership and passion and look forward to continued accomplishments from our STI region!
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