MiMfg May 2021 - Page 12

12 MiMfg Magazine May 2021

Member Spotlight

Pete Westfall

President Nordic Hot Tubs Inc .
Member since March 2005 • Employs 115 Michigan workers • Learn more at nordichottubs . com
Nordic Hot Tubs Inc ., the long-time hot tub manufacturer based in Grand Rapids , was one of many companies forced to close operations as a result of the statewide shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic .
About 10 days into the shutdown , however , when it was clear that the stay-at-home order was likely to be extended for untold weeks , Nordic was struck by an unexpected challenge — a surge of orders .
“ We have seen an unprecedented volume of sales since the start of the first stay-at-home orders ,” says Pete Westfall , President of Nordic .
Nordic happened to fall into a business category that thrived as a result of more people spending more time at home . Things like home office supplies or home gyms were obvious beneficiaries of the pandemic shutdown but , as it turned out , so was home leisure .
“ People want to be safe and comfortable at home ,” says Westfall . “ We are a business that has been blessed throughout the pandemic .”
So , when Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave the all-clear for manufacturing to resume in May 2020 , Westfall and his team not only had to resume production , they needed to ramp it up while , at the same time , trying to implement changes needed to keep their staff safe .
For the first time ever , Nordic needed to add a second shift last summer , which involved staffing up and a lot of cross training . With social distancing , contact limiting and other COVID-19 related complications , this was especially challenging as there is very little machinery involved in hot tub manufacturing , and no stamping . Each hot tub is built from the ground up in an environment more akin to a craftsman ’ s workshop .
Westfall sees the company ’ s sales staying strong as he sees the “ stay-cation ” trend lasting for another two to three years .
Nordic was founded in 1995 by William A . Gibson as an affordable , therapeutic alternative
Nordic Hot Tubs ’ Thermoformer in the hot tub market . In 2013 , Maurizio Vozza , as majority owner , and Barbra Sisung purchased the company and changed Nordic ’ s direction to an affordable luxury brand that now competes head-to-head with top tier industry manufacturers .
Westfall grew up in the hot tub industry .
“ My parents were hot tub retailers and I enjoyed working with them growing up . I joined Nordic in 2011 as a regional sales manager covering the Midwest territory . I have known our owner and CEO , Maurizio Vozza , for over 25 years and he has been an incredible mentor to me ,” Westfall says .
As Westfall and the rest of the company are now looking past the pandemic , they are also looking back and are eternally grateful for the hard work and dedication their employees displayed during the toughest times through the pandemic .
Nordic believes in taking good care of their employees , says Westfall , and they also have a long history of giving back to the community by donating tubs to charities , including Water for a Warrior . And those efforts have only been magnified because of COVID-19 .
“ Community involvement is something that has become more important to us during the pandemic . We have recently gotten involved with Make-a- Wish Foundation , providing hot tubs to children who suffer from critical illness and can benefit from hot water therapy ,” Westfall says .

And that , he adds , is a very good feeling . 6