FNA Group: Passionate About Their Undertakings

FNA Group: Passionate About Their Undertakings

Published February 2017

Photos courtesy of FNA Group

 

Forward. Could there be a more fitting motto for Wisconsin? Carved out of a region defined by industrious peoples—from the prehistoric mound builders to miners who called themselves badgers—the Badger State exemplifies the way that effort has a way of bringing results.

The most rewarding part of the work we do is feeling as if we are one large family. This is a family-owned business with morals and values that are deeply rooted within family. — William Alexander, E.V.P., Sales & Marketing

Fittingly enough, the FNA Group, which was established by Gus Alexander in 1988, makes its home in Pleasant Prairie, WI. Pleasant Prairie ranks fifth among the biggest manufacturing centers in the state.

A growing company with more than 450 employees, FNA Group contributes substantially to economic activity in Pleasant Prairie. Hiring talented individuals willing to fully commit to the team is an ongoing process at the company.

Members of the FNA Group team share a special vision of innovation, one that focuses on function. The aim of functional innovation is to provide customers with the machines and accessories they need to get results.

Founder Gus Alexander established FNA Group because he wanted to build the highest quality, highest-performing units possible. His immersion in the industry through previous endeavors at KEW and Kärcher North America enabled him to make an exacting assessment of what customers wanted.

Customers were looking for products that were innovative, technologically advanced, and efficient. Gus Alexander was certain he could deliver just that combination.

What’s fascinating is seeing the different applications that all the equipment we manufacture is used for. Rewarding is being able to work for a manufacturer and see the time and effort that goes in to creating and launching new and innovative products. For example, the collaboration it takes from product, marketing, engineering, sales, and quality just to design create and launch a new and innovative product… — Matt Wendt, National Accounts, Industrial & OEM Divisions

Today, teams and departments at FNA Group encompass corporate, research and development, engineering, product, marketing, sales, and customer service. To better serve customers, some team members are deployed from places well beyond Pleasant Prairie.

I love the interaction with customers and the ability to assist in resolving their issues so they have a positive experience with our products. …also the ability to train techs on our products and pass along the 25-plus years of knowledge I have to our service network. — Don Hattan, National Service Manager

Situated approximately midway between Chicago and Milwaukee, Pleasant Prairie, a village of 20,000 residents in Kenosha County, allows great access to all geographic regions and to a rich pool of talent. FNA Group employees have many opportunities to work hard and play hard, and they do.

“But it’s more than that,” says William Alexander, executive vice president, sales and marketing. “At FNA Group our philosophy is centered on our company culture. The leadership team encourages the employees to immerse themselves in our industry, our customers’ industries, and our partners’ industries.”

Having a close relationship with like-minded, hard-working, passionate people who believe in putting in a good day’s work [is very rewarding]. — Bill Fischer, Vice President of Sales

It’s important that employees have opportunities to grow professionally and personally, says Alexander. And at FNA Group, they have those opportunities. By interacting with customers, members of the team also get a close-up view of customers’ needs. A thorough understanding of customer requirements informs design and ultimately gets built into new equipment.

“One of the newest and most intriguing products is the Delco Eliminator,” says Alexander. The innovation of the Axialign™ Adjust-ment System allows the alignment and maintenance of the high pressure pump to be easily maintained with a single bolt adjustment system, slide down doors, and roll-out trays.

The Eliminator Series of stationary pressure washers offers versatility in fuel source (natural gas, liquefied petroleum, or diesel) for heating pressurized water. The hot water provides a significant boost to the process of removing grease, oil, and dirt. Choices in Eliminator models are many and encompass a span ranging from 2,000 psi and 4 gpm to 3,000 psi and 8 gpm.

Fundamentals

It is always the customer first at FNA Group. “It is of extreme importance to us to understand our customers, their needs, and their wants, which have specifically changed over the last decade,” says Alexander. “Members of FNA Group interact with end users of equipment through various methods, including visiting job sites, attending conferences, exhibiting at trade shows, guest speaking at events, and responding on social media. We have done a great job at interacting with our end users. We love it.”

By far the people I work with [are most fascinating]. I’m constantly surrounded by people with a vast amount of knowledge and talent. It is the perfect blend of having the freedom to share my knowledge and the opportunity to be creative.  While we are all working on different projects, we are one team being innovative in creating the new Delco. — Alan Greer, Manager of Product Engineering; Professional Products

One important trade show is the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association. “We are members of CETA and value the organization from a viewpoint of benchmarking,” says Alexander. “CETA has done a great job at unifying members within the organization and as a group.”

FNA Group and its customers have a unified perspective. “We feel we share many commonalities with our customers and their companies,” says Alexander. “They want to sell quality outdoor power equipment that is innovative, reliable, and durable to their customers.”

High industry standards benefit all industry members. It’s synergistic to do one’s best. “We ensure we use high quality materials and test our units prior to shipment to ensure reliability and durability,” says Alexander.

FNA Group strives to be exceptional, of course. And in that quest it has deployed some forward-looking strategies. “We are one of the most vertically integrated pressure washer manufacturers in North America,” says Alexander. “We are our own supply chain, which allows for more quality control, reduced end-user costs, and on-time delivery.”

The most rewarding part of the work I do at FNA Group is helping to make our customers’ lives easy by consumer education. Writing informative blogs—and how-to pieces—is always the most fun. I love getting hands-on with our Simpson line and showing our users just how easy and fun it is to restore their decks, siding, driveways, sidewalks, and much more. I learn something new about our product each time, and it helps me to understand just what our users need to know and how to give them the best possible cleaning experience. The reward is seeing people’s comments on how helpful my advice is and how much it has improved their cleaning experience. I also highly enjoy when people in the cleaning industry and end-users recognize our brand advertising and our bright/bold look. We already have machines that speak for themselves when it comes to cleaning power, so I just enhance their look and feel with some fun, engaging branding…— Kelsey Schulz, Creative Specialist

Since its inception, FNA Group has undergone some big changes. They include the expansion of its product portfolio, brand expansion, and market share growth along with expansion of its engineering and manufacturing capabilities.

“We are more than just a manufacturer,” says Alexander. “We care about the products we produce, how we produce our products, our customers, and the education needed to operate their piece of equipment.” Serving customers is the goal. “Most importantly, we have fun while doing it.”

To be sure, FNA Group reflects the industrious heritage of Wisconsin. It is part of a legacy of creative types that were active long, long before statehood in 1848.

Although we are not entirely certain what the mound builders were doing—pottery, burial grounds, and more no doubt—the remnants of their activity indicates that they, too, loved what they were doing.

And isn’t that the hallmark of industry? To have a passion for what one undertakes. The team at FNA Group does. (See the sidebars for some of their reflections.)