Collaborative Strategies Inc.

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Plant Manager

Plant Manager

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Empire Comfort Systems

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empire comfort


Are you an operations leader interested in joining a fast-paced, entrepreneurial company with a great culture?


If so, then come join our team and help us grow!


Let us warm you up! From state-of-the art fireplaces to a full line of heaters and hearths, log sets, fireplace inserts and cast-iron stoves, Empire Comfort Systems (“ECS”) boasts success that spans over 85 years. Proud to be 95% American made, Empire upholds a tradition of listening to dealers and their customers and adapting to meet market requirements. Based in Belleville, Illinois, ECS has grown dramatically from its start as a small sheet metal shop. ECS was the first to market vent-free heaters equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (now standard on all vent-free products in the USA). Success continued in the 1980s as ECS became the first to market a gas-fired heater, achieving 80-percent efficiency, and again in 2006, with its first vented-gas fireplace, achieving 90-percent efficiency.


Now under experienced 4th generation family-owned leadership, ECS is growing market share by expanding its national market presence, building on its reputation for being “easy to do business with,” innovating new products, and embracing the “Empire Business System,” our customized approach to continuous improvement. ECS is focused on building a high-feedback culture, guided by core values, the most important of which is “Leading With Love.” For ECS, this means we will lead in ways that engage our employees and create a passion for our mission in a fun and family-oriented environment. Learn more about us at


Due to Empire’s recent and anticipated growth, we are now seeking a Plant Manager who can successfully lead in this environment, with the primary focus on growing our operational capacity and capability to meet our products’ high demand. Additionally, this key leader will be responsible for:


  • MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS – The Plant Manager is responsible for all aspects of the fabrication and assembly operation. He or she will champion continuous improvement activities and lean manufacturing techniques to improve quality and efficiency, and increase capacity and lower overall manufacturing cost. The Plant Manager will lead the effort to define new processes necessary to support quality improvement, on-time delivery, operational improvement and business growth
  • SAFETY COMPLIANCE – Partner with ECS’ Human Resources leader to ensure compliance with safety rules and promote safety awareness and good housekeeping practices. Exemplify the evolution of our safety culture, holding employees accountable and reducing work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • FULL P&L OWNERSHIP – Work with the Vice President of Manufacturing to create a strategic plan and annual operating budget. Maintain a strong relationship with the President through joint strategy development, effective communication of results and by working to resolve key issues as they occur.
  • MATERIALS MANAGEMENT – The Plant Manager is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the production schedule, overseeing the day to day scheduling between team leaders and resolving issues that might prevent schedule attainment. The Plant Manager will be expected to improve the production operations by implementing lean principles for improving material flow.
  • QUALITY ASSURANCE – Exceeding customer expectations is paramount. Enhance and manage our comprehensive Quality Control program.
  • WORKFORCE DEPLOYMENT – The Plant Manager will carefully monitor and adjust staffing resources and production planning to ensure we fulfill customer demands in a timely and cost-effective way.
  • ASSET STEWARDSHIP - Responsible for assuring that the facility is kept clean, orderly and well-maintained. Must be able to effectively utilize capacity and quickly understand and address equipment bottlenecks. Maintain proper controls and reporting for proactive risk management.
  • DEVELOPING INTERNAL TALENT – Champion our high-feedback culture that strives to maximize the strengths each employee brings to our company. Drive and develop processes for annual talent assessment, professional and leadership development. Enhance processes for monthly continuous improvement feedback and semi-annual performance evaluation.


Qualifications Include:

  • Minimum of 10+ years of progressive operational leadership experience, including successful management know-how in a sheet-metal fabrication environment.
  • Experience in union labor management.
  • Strong management skills with a successful track record of managing an hourly workforce, creating accountability and developing people.
  • Bachelor’s degree is required. Advanced degree in business (MBA, EMBA) is highly preferred.
  • Evidence of successful implementation of lean continuous improvement resulting in improved performance in quality, lead-time and productivity.
  • Demonstrated general management experience and track record in providing leadership for production, maintenance quality and shipping and receiving.
  • Strong financial acumen and demonstrated track record in successfully managing a P&L and Balance Sheet.


Other Skills & Experience:

    • Appreciate the dynamics of working in a family-owned business.
    • Fanatical about customer service, with a high level of integrity and character. Keep a clear head in stressful situations.
    • Exceptional interpersonal skills with a genuine love for people and the ability to relate and connect to employees at all levels of the organization. Professional and ethical behavior at all times is expected.
    • Strong attention to detail with the ability to effectively multi-task in a fast-paced environment. Ability to make quick decisions on the floor to resolve issues with minimal support.
    • Must demonstrate an ability to maintain confidentiality. Requires skills in problem solving, short and long-range strategic planning as well as conflict resolution.