Starting from the Ground Up with Nicole Wolter


In today’s episode of Women and Manufacturing, Frances Brunelle speaks with Nicole Wolter from HM Manufacturing, a leading manufacturer of turnkey power transmission components for a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, medical, marine, packaging, and more! Since starting at HM Manufacturing in 2009, when she left her successful finance career to join the family business, Nicole has overseen a complete renovation of the company’s technology and manufacturing processes. In addition to the redesign of HM’s manufacturing strategies, the company has added several new technologies, including a new ERP system. Nicole has also been instrumental in expanding HM’s marketing and social media presence in an effort to broaden its reach, increase sales, and instill a team mentality amongst employees. Within six years, Nicole’s efforts increased sales from $80,000 to more than $3 million and, today, she leads HM Manufacturing as President and CEO. Tuning in, you’ll learn how Nicole started from the ground up, gaining extensive machining experience before stepping into a leadership position, and how she is nurturing young talent and closing the skills gap by developing manufacturing programs at the high school level. We also touch on using social media to attract new talent and how Nicole’s dad went viral on TikTok, plus so much more, so make sure to tune in today!

Meet Our Guest, Nicole Wolter

Founded in 1979, HM Manufacturing is a leading manufacturer of turn-key power transmission components for the aerospace, automotive, medical, marine, packaging and food and beverage processing industries.

Nicole Wolter joined HM in 2009, working from the ground up in a variety of positions. She has a background in chemical engineering and finance, has extensive training on manual lathes and milling machines, and is certified in CAD and 3D Modeling. Under her vision and leadership, HM has implemented new technologies and processes – machinery, ERP system, employee training, and marketing. This has enabled HM to expand its product lines and attract more and larger customers. Nicole also received her NIMS CNC Mill Operations Certification to increase HM Manufacturing’s production standards and efficiency.

Nicole is dedicated to promoting manufacturing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing leaders. She serves on the Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) Executive Board and the TMA Education Foundation Board, coordinating grants to area high schools with manufacturing programs. As a McHenry High School Advisory Board member, she helps to improve their manufacturing program, offers internships, and mentors students about careers in manufacturing. In December of 2018, Nicole was named a Member of the Board of Directors to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. As a Member of the Board of Directors, Wolter helps promote legislation and public policies designed to stimulate economic growth and increase Illinois’s business climate.

In 2016, the Daily Herald Business Ledger awarded Nicole and HM Manufacturing their Annual Award for Business Excellence in Manufacturing. The ABBEs highlight successful businesses and organizations and honor the people who make them successful. In 2017, Nicole was honored with the Influential Women in Business Award by the Daily Herald Business Ledger. The IWIB awards highlight outstanding women leaders who excel in business, civic and personal arenas. The 2019 STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Awards selected Nicole as an Honoree.

Nicole is a valuable “go-to” source for business and manufacturing media to promote manufacturing in the U.S.  She has been on panel discussions and podcasts, a keynote speaker, featured as an op-ed writer for the Chicago Tribune, and interviewed for publications including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Crain’s Chicago Business, Daily Herald Business Ledger, SME Manufacturing Engineering, Manufacturing Talk Radio, and more.

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