Rethink, Reinvent, Recover: Business execs weigh in on COVID-19

Lending a hand to our community business leaders working to adapt to the uncertainty and disruption so many of us are now facing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Business has launched a suite of free short-courses on it’s online Mosaic platform with the goal of helping people manage change.

To support the free Rethink, Reinvent and Recover COVID-19 short-course series, College of Business Dean Beth Walker connected with industry leaders to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they’ve responded to the crisis, complimenting what our community members are learning in the classroom.

  • Steve Fechheimer, CEO of New Belgium Brewing
  • Jim Parke, President and CEO of Otter Products
  • Heidi Hostetter, CEO and Founder of H2 Manufacturing, Solutions & VP of Fauston Tool
  • John Hoxmeier, Co-Founder of Gilded Goat Brewing Company and Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems at CSU’s College of Business

Steve Fechheimer, CEO at New Belgium Brewing

Fechheimer has leaned into the company’s core values and beliefs – especially balancing the needs of the business, employees and their families – in order to navigate a business landscape upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

*Update* In the weeks following Fechheimer’s original interview, New Belgium Brewing has reopened its patios in Fort Collins and Asheville, N.C.

“You just realize the amount of amazing work the team can get done when it’s really critical to the business.”

“After we closed a lot of others closed pretty quickly following our lead.”

“[The most relevant core value has been] balancing the myriad needs of our business, our coworkers, and their families.”

“Be honest, none of us really know what’s going to happen in the future … and don’t be afraid to make decisions”

“There may be a huge change to what consumers want.”

Jim Parke, Otter Products President and CEO

With countless challenges on his mind as the leader of a global business, Parke has kept a strong focus on the people who are dedicated to business and finding innovative ways to help those in need.

“The truth is, in 20 years nobody is going to remember what their business’s revenue was this month. What they are going to remember are the acts of kindness they performed, one for another,” Parke said.

“The need for optimism is as great as it’s ever been.”

“[Our distribution centers] were allowed to stay open because we provide so much product to first responders.”

“We’ve had to rethink communication across the board.”

“One of the things that’s just been reaffirming to me is … just the goodness of human nature.”

“As a global company we’re subject to government restrictions and orders across the globe.”

“I think we’re going to see more of our economy shift to online and delivery.”

Heidi Hostetter, CEO and Founder of H2 Manufacturing

Hostetter has been a champion of ‘heroic ambition’ and a fierce advocate for her employees throughout the COVID-19 crisis, while helping fill gaps in the PPE market and rethinking how manufacturing moves forward.

“We realized pretty quickly there was a PPE concern … and we came up with this idea where we could design face respirators.”

“Don’t ever lose sight of your ethics or your compassion.”

“It’s going to force us as business leaders to look at how to run a manufacturing facility far differently than we ever have.”

“You have to have heroic ambition.”

“This isn’t just economics, this is people’s lives.”

John Hoxmeier, Co-Founder of Gilded Goat Brewing Company

Gilded Goat Brewing Company lost 90 percent of its sales overnight when the state issued stay-at-home orders. A quick pivot to packaged beers and a loyal customer base has helped keep the brewery afloat.

Hoxmeier is also an associate professor of computer information systems at CSU’s College of Business.

*Update* In the weeks following Hoxmeier’s original interview, Gilded Goat Brewing has opened its taproom with social distancing and mask protocols in place.

“It happened instantly. The day that we had to shut the taproom down … we lost 90% of our sales.”

“Trust, communication … I’ve tried to be as honest as possible with [all the employees] about what was happening.”

“Cash flow management is huge … and you don’t really understand that until you’re forced to be down.”

“You have to continue to stay good at what you’re good at and see whether or not you can weather the storm.”

“You need to prepare for these types of things and think through them.”

“My data analytics course and database course, we’re talking an awful lot about this data.”