The Ralph Nye Lecture Series continued Thursday with a presentation from Sue Johnson, president of Futura Industries, a local aluminum manufacturer located in Clearfield, Utah. She spoke to a group of about 70 to 80 students on building a great company and great company culture.
“This year, we have our 111th Futura Industries Dependent Scholarship student going to college,” Johnson said. “I have so little extra time, but I enjoy coming to speak to college students.”
The Ralph Nye Lecture Series is a required class in most business degrees. It is a class designed to give students the opportunity to hear from real people who have been successful in their respective businesses. Students enrolled in the class are required to attend 12 of the 13 scheduled lectures to receive credit for the class.
“We get great reviews from the students who are a part of the class,” said John Hoffman, an MBA program faculty member at WSU.
Hoffman said the majority of the audience at these lectures is made up of students registered for the class. However, “we do get some outside students that show up and listen to the lectures, and many of them are students who have taken the class before.”
Nick Alsup, a junior at WSU, said he enjoys attending the lectures.
“I like the fact that these are people who have been successful and want to come share their knowledge and experience with us,” Alsup said. “All of the speakers are pretty interesting, and each of them represents different aspects of the business world.”
Alsup said that so far, he has enjoyed all of the lectures, but he really enjoys the speakers who bring some humor into their presentation. He said he particularly liked Pat Ford from Beehive Cheese, and that he would recommend this class to other students thinking about going into a business major.
Lany Watkins, a junior at WSU majoring in business management, said she loves attending the lecture series.
“I love hearing the success stories, especially the local ones who graduated from WSU,” Watkins said. “It gives me hope that I will find success after college.” She agreed with Alsup in that she enjoys the speakers who are funny and make the presentations fun by involving the students.
Both Alsup and Watkins said they really enjoyed the presentation by Johnson. Johnson spoke of many different business principles. She spoke about the culture of her company and then talked about bringing value to other businesses in order to earn their business.
“Reliable and responsive, that is what we have built our brand on,” Johnson said. “We will run around with our hats on fire to change an order or get an order out the door, even if it is for one of our small clients.”
According to Johnson, at Futura, they love the challenge of custom extrusion. She said they are willing to take on a custom project with very tight specifications, even when other major extrusion companies have turned down the job. She explained how they strive to provide the highest quality of materials at the lowest cost through continual development and innovation.
Johnson said Futura’s success has to do with its culture. “Companies don’t make profits,” Johnson said, “people do.”