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 Rexa’s investment in workforce development was crucial in implementing lean manufacturing and continuous improvement.

By Tim O’Connor

In Sam Lalos’ eyes, one of the biggest mistakes a company can make is filling an open position with someone from outside the company. “Good skilled labor is tight everywhere,” says Lalos, the president and CEO of Rexa, a manufacturer of electro-hydraulic actuators. “That’s why we believe in bringing people on and seeing a future with the company.”

It’s straightforward to invest in product development, new machine tools and faster processes. The real distinction, Lalos says, is Rexa’s people. “It’s easy to look at the payback by investing in machines, but I think human capital is critical to our future,” he continues. “I would like to get back to the days where people are hired for lifetime employment.”

The company strives to promote and retain its workforce. “The worst thing we can do is to hire somebody, develop them for a one-to-two-year period and have them move on,” he explains.