Knowledge Center

Client Success Story – Holland 1916

Growth and diversification powered by continuous improvement, accountability — and capital from Country Club Bank

North Kansas City, Mo.-based Holland 1916 has built a diverse portfolio of companies in industrial nameplates, membrane switches and touchscreens and RFID-enabled inspection management software. It’s done this by adhering to its core principles of continuous improvement, accountability, openness and giving back. Holland 1916 CEO Mike Stradinger shares the company’s growth story, commitment to performance management and history of working with Country Club Bank.

Holland 1916 logoMike Stradinger’s leadership philosophy is driven by the recognition of one universal weakness found in all leaders — and all employees for that matter: we’re all terrible mind readers.

“I’m a bad mind reader, most people are, it just doesn’t work,” Stradinger said. “Which means we have to be very clear about goals, objectives and definitions of success, so our people know what good looks like, and they know when we’ve achieved it.”

Simple, direct, and matter-of-fact, that’s Stradinger. A West Point graduate, with a law degree as well, he’s been methodically solving manufacturing challenges at Holland 1916 since he bought the company in 1996. Daily meetings, dashboards and green light/red light rating systems keep Stradinger and his 72 employees focused on productivity and quality.

Accountability and performance are emphasized using objective metrics that are constantly reviewed, which according to Stradinger fosters clarity and continuous improvement.

“There’s no question as to whether we’re winning or falling short,” Stradinger said. “We can see our performance, make adjustments when necessary and do better going forward.”

The history of Holland 1916 dates back to 1916 when it was founded by Lou Holland as a metal engraving business and became the largest of its kind west of the Mississippi. During World War II, the company began manufacturing industrial metal nameplates that display a manufacturer's name, brand and model number.

Since taking over in 1996, Stradinger has diversified the capabilities of Holland 1916 by moving into membrane switches and touchscreens, and RFID tagging and inspection software. Holland 1916's product portfolio now encompasses a wide range of applications across various industries, including agriculture, automotive, aerospace and more.

New markets also mean the need for new capital. For manufacturing and automation equipment purchases over the years, Stradinger has turned to Country Club Bank for loans, credit lines and a variety of depository solutions.

“You won’t find a more conscientious or nicer group of professionals than Joe Close, Joe James and the Thompson family,” Stradinger said. “They know our business, anticipate our needs and always provide great advice and service.”

Giving back to the community, especially in the area of K-12 educational opportunities, has also become a passion of Stradinger’s and the Holland 1916 team. Students from across the greater Kansas City metropolitan area have the opportunity to tour Holland 1916 manufacturing facilities, learn about automation and lean manufacturing and discover the joy and satisfaction that comes from doing good work that matters.

“We want our young people to see up close what it means to strive for excellence, be successful in what you do, and be happy in your job,” Stradinger said. “Work can be interesting and rewarding in the right environment, and we want to show them and model it so they can create it in their own careers.”