Movers & Shakers: Linda Lawrence, Uponor North America

  • Article by: TODD NELSON , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2013 - 1:12 PM

A look at the people behind the numbers in area business.

Linda Lawrence

Linda Lawrence, Uponor north america

Title: Senior director of learning and ­organizational development

Age: 60

Linda Lawrence is working to support growth strategy through employee engagement and other efforts as the new senior director of learning and organizational ­development at Uponor North America in Apple Valley.

Lawrence brings expertise in talent management strategy, leadership and team effectiveness to Uponor, a global supplier of plumbing, fire sprinkler and radiant heating and cooling ­systems for residential and commercial properties.

“The business has clearly been well managed through a downturn in the economy and it’s growing again,” Lawrence said. “There’s an understanding of how culture plays into growth. Those are things someone in my field would look for.”

In some areas, Lawrence will partner with her Uponor ­counterparts in Europe. The company, then known as Wirsbo, was founded in 1620 in Sweden and now is headquartered in Finland. The publicly traded company has more than 3,200 employees and more than $1 billion in revenue.

Another focus, Lawrence said, is supporting the company’s innovation strategy, which got a boost in September when the company launched Uponor Innovations LLC, a subsidiary that promotes new technology and products from external sources.

The company’s North American office here has nearly 500 employees, a state-of-the-art training center and manufacturing facilities that produce tubing for its products. The company was a 2013 Star Tribune Top 100 Workplace and the Manufacturers Alliance 2013 Manufacturer of the Year.

Lawrence, who has a degree in psychology from St. Olaf ­College, previously worked as the director of organizational effectiveness at MOM Brands.

 

Q: What did you like about this opportunity at Uponor?

A: I like small to midsize companies that have a clear growth strategy and that have a commitment to growth and development as part of that. Uponor was very clearly positioned that way. The leadership team has a strong belief in the connection between learning and development and the growth strategy.

Q: How would you describe your role?

A: My role is to make sure that our core processes and practices, like performance management and leadership and employee development and engagement, are effective in supporting the growth of the business.

Q: What is happening with innovation at Uponor?

A: Innovation is going to be integrated into everything we do in our business. We look at it from the standpoint of sustainability, the way most of us would talk about it but also the ­sustainability of our business. So I’ll be putting a lot of focus on what that means for our people practices.

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