Richard Wasielewski, Nortech Systems Inc.

Title: President and chief operating officer

Age: 61


Richard Wasielewski was recently named to the new position of president and chief operating officer at Nortech Systems Inc., an electronics manufacturing services company in Wayzata.

The new role feels familiar, Wasielewski said, because he has been the company’s chief financial officer since 2004 and because he has taken on broader responsibilities over time.

As CFO, Wasielewski has spearheaded acquisitions, led long-range strategic planning, and evaluated operations at Nortech’s facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Mexico.

Wasielewski credited Nortech CEO Mike Degen for supporting a collaborative management style that encourages taking on greater responsibilities.

Wasielewski worked with Degen previously at Toro Co., where Wasielewski held senior financial management positions from 1983 to 1995. Wasielewski also held management positions at Select Comfort Corp. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in accounting and a master’s of science degree in business administration from Indiana University.

Nortech’s customers include 40 large companies and hundreds of smaller ones. Beyond making parts such as cable assemblies and printed circuit board assemblies, Nortech employees often assemble components into complex subassemblies or finished products and the company’s engineers often work with customers to help accelerate product launches.

The publicly traded company has 700 employees at eight locations and reported 2012 net sales of almost $107 million. The markets it serves include industrial equipment, aerospace and defense and medical devices.


Q: How has moving up the “food chain” with customers benefited Nortech?

A: That is our future. You’re seeing more and more dependence on us, as we do more front-end work with concept and design.


Q: Have some customers brought work back to Nortech from overseas?

A: We’re seeing more of the products and services we lost to Asia and the lower-cost countries coming back. More and more of our customers are looking to source back into the United States or North America. We have a facility in Mexico that serves us well when those requirements of cost become an issue. But they’re requiring even Mexico to be a full-service offering as well.


Q: How will you drive business with new customers or expand work with existing ones?

A: We are a contract manufacturing services company, so it really is all about the people. It’s important that there’s a trust factor. The biggest thing that our customers learn from us over the years is that we provide real solutions to business issues.