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Jeremy Mortl of Messersmith Mfg.

Jeremy Mortl credits PeerSpectives for helping him with a wide range of issues, ranging from HR strategies to different manufacturing technologies.

Based in Bark River, Michigan, Messersmith Manufacturing Inc. builds biomass boiler systems that help clients save money and decrease their use of fossil fuels. To further scale his second-stage company, president Jeremy Mortl joined a virtual PeerSpectives roundtable in 2018. “It’s been a terrific experience for me,” Mortl says. “The roundtable has helped me tremendously as a leader and given me greater confidence.”

Although Mortl has been involved in local in-person roundtables, he rates the virtual PeerSpectives program as a superior experience: “The process is far better structured, and our facilitator not only keeps us on track with the issues, but is adept at getting everyone to participate,” he says.

Another contrast is the unvarnished feedback he gets from PeerSpectives members. “At the local tables, people kept their issues more private,” he observes. “With PeerSpectives, there’s a higher level of discussion and disclosure, and I get much more out of it.”

Mortl credits PeerSpectives for helping him with a wide range of business issues, ranging from HR strategies to different manufacturing techniques and technologies. Some specific takeaways include: 

  • Personnel insights. Mortl has learned better ways to interact with and manage different personalities — along with new ideas for motivating employees.

  • Acquisition acumen. In the past the majority of Messersmith’s clients have come from the public sector. To diversify its customer base and add more private-sector accounts, Messersmith acquired another biomass-combustion system company with strong roots in the sawmill industry. Mortl’s roundtable members helped him with ideas on how to merge two entities into one, especially when it came to integrating sales and marketing processes.

  • Introduction to new tools. Many of Mortl’s PeerSpectives peers have gone through Gino Wickman’s Entrepreneurial Operation System (EOS), a framework for strengthening key components of an organization. Hearing about their experiences with EOS and its benefits motivated Mortl to sign up.

  • More confident decisions. “If I’m on the fence with something, I bring it up in the roundtable,” Mortl says. “Regardless of what their reactions may be, talking through possible outcomes with this group of peers really helps solidify my final decision.”

  • Accountability. This goes beyond getting things done and having a different mindset, Mortl explains. “I’m better about taking a step back to make sure that I’m not only doing the right things, but looking at issues or concerns in the right way.”

Mortl also appreciates the diversity in his PeerSpectives roundtable. “People come from very different industries and backgrounds — yet we share similar issues and can really relate,” he explains. “It’s amazing how much we learn from each other during the two-hour session.”