PLYMOUTH, Minn.—Vicki Holt's team at Proto Labs Inc. has taken prototype manufacturing and shipping to the extreme.
Want that prototype in two weeks? Done. Tomorrow? No problem.
“We take months out of the product development lifecycle, which is really important to manufacturing companies to be vibrant, to be able to innovate and bring things to market quick and cost effectively,” said Holt, who joined Proto Labs as CEO 18 months ago.
Speed sells at Proto Labs—an injection molder that processes thermoplastics and liquid silicone rubber, among other materials. In fact, the company is growing so fast Holt hired its first senior vice president of human resources to help the publicly traded firm manage its scale and growth.
In February 2014, Proto Labs employed 750. Today, it's 1,200. In 2014, sales hit $209 million. By the end of 2015, Holt projects $250 million in sales.
“Growth is fun. Growth is hard work. It doesn't happen on its own. We have to make it happen with people, processes, energy, strategy and critical thinking. But it's fun work. I've been on the other side where you have to shrink first to grow. That's gut-wrenching work,” said Holt, 57, who previously held leadership positions at Spartech Corp. and PPG Industries and sits on the board at Waste Management Inc.