They say you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family. That is, unless you work at Parker. When beginning the Parker Appliance Company 100 years ago, Art Parker understood that it’s the strength of individuals growing together and working toward a common goal that would build and sustain the Parker "family" of employees.
This principle is one the founder’s son, Pat Parker continued throughout his 52-year career with the corporation—and a legacy that continues today for Parker’s team members, according to Chief Financial Officer Jon Marten, who began his career with Parker over 29 years ago.
"Parker has always been a company that values people who make the right decisions and rewards those that embody the values we treat very seriously as a company; integrity, fair play and treating people with respect. Most of the leaders that I’ve interacted with have been humble, good people who care about their fellow employees like a family.
With over 100 operational divisions throughout the world, Parker's family may seem like distant cousins. But, each of these divisions represent a team fueled by entrepreneurial spirit dedicated to improving the corporation’s overall business of motion and control technologies.
"We have a very long, tenured, worldwide culture of people accepting each other. Whether they're in Utah, California or Italy, that division's family is slugging it out every day—that's the special thing about the company. Taking care of your own family and being a good teammate helps the division focus on a particular technology or market, and excel to become market leaders."
Pat Parker took steps to create his business family when developing the strategy of entrepreneurial, technology focused divisions. Whether the concentration is on tube fittings or O-rings, each division is driven by Parker's RONA (Return on Net Assets) incentive plan.
"Each RONA plan is based on the individual performance of the division. This encourages everyone to work together. That's what the RONA plan supports."
While RONA has been a guidepost for building Parker's business through a decentralized philosophy of general managers guiding each unique family's performance, Marten credits the corporation’s sustained success to the talent it fosters—past, present and future.
"One secret to our success has always been our engineer-to-engineer relationships—our ability to design solutions for our customers and own the aftermarket."
From his first role as a financial analyst, Marten admits getting to his current position happened due to "luck, timing, and a little bit of perseverance and grit."
"That’s the beautiful thing about Parker's culture. We can be ourselves and really try to put all of our people in a position to be successful."
This post is the second in a series of leadership interviews to commemorate Parker's centennial anniversary. To learn more about Parker's history, visit www.parker.com/centennial.