When the economy is sour, some companies go into bomb shelter mode, cutting staff and expenses to squeak by. But for CNC machine maker C.R. Onsrud, the recession was an opportunity to invest in itself by increasing its workforce and developing higher-precision equipment to serve new markets.
At the start of the recession in 2007, the North Carolina company had 80 workers. Today it has 130, a testament to its bold approach to the lean economy of the past decade. “It has us ready to go if the economy turns around,” CEO Tom Onsrud says of the hiring surge. “If you lay off all your workers, who is going to build the product when the economy turns around?” Those additional workers helped C.R. Onsrud increase its output by 50 percent from before the economic downturn.