I started following Tim Bergstrom on Instagram last year, when gorgeous sports cars kept popping up under photos “liked” by mutual friends. It was fun to see this company executive posting selfies from car shows around the country. I just had to meet him.
When he said “hello,” from around a corner, his voice sounded so much like his father, John’s, that I did a double take. Smooth, measured and thoughtful, Tim speaks with the inherited graciousness of a man who has made an enormous impact in his hometown of Neenah, throughout the Fox Valley and Wisconsin.
Tim, whose “Uncle Dick” Bergstrom says he has “gasoline in his veins” like his dad, added president to his title as chief operating officer at Bergstrom Automotive in January after Dick left that role to serve as vice chairman.
Tim’s a car buff. You could also say he’s a social media butterfly, keeping in touch with team members (employees) and guests (customers) with all the most popular smart phone apps. Though he takes it quite seriously – sharing auto news, showering team members with atta-boys for a job well done and posting up-to-the-minute photos of the latest cars on the market – he has a ton of fun with it, too.
“I’m amazed with all the team members who I can now see,” and relate to, he says. “There’s this taboo about putting too much of your personal life out there, because I am looked on as an employer. Yet they chose to be my friend, and they choose to share things with me. It’s a wonderful tool for coaching our team. I’m more approachable to them.”
He’s all serious about the business but also very light-hearted. The morning he drove me to see the Bergstrom Quest Training Center, our first stop was the Dairy Queen in Neenah. It wasn’t open yet, but the owner came to the drive-up window and obliged Tim, who bought a bag of Dilly Bars. These he happily tossed to everyone he met as we toured the center, joking with them and asking about their weekend.
Tim has learned a lot about appealing to millennials in the company, spending time with a national expert on the issue, Jason Dorsey. Sometimes bringing in the perspective of someone from the outside can go a long way to inspire positive change.
Don’t miss THINC! on May 20
This is what we at Insight hope to do when we host our third annual THINC! event (Technology & Human Innovation Networking Conference) from 3 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20 at UW-Fox Valley’s James W. Perry Hall, Menasha.
Skyline Technologies CEO Mitch Weckop connected us with Efrem Z. Stringfellow, one of the top leaders of Microsoft, who will keynote our event. Stringfellow, Microsoft vice president for the U.S. Central Region, will talk about the importance of innovation in any business, and how technology can help us do business better. His talk is sponsored by TEC (The Executive Committee). Incidentally, I think you’ll be inspired by a student and teacher of innovation, Steve Tyink of Miron Construction, a former Bergstrom team member and one of our THINC! planning committee members, who is this month’s Face Time feature.
At THINC! we look forward to announcing the winners of our first Insight Innovation Awards. We’ll present awards in the categories People, Process, Product and Planet, plus a special award for an organization that has woven innovation into the fabric of everything it does.
I encourage you to register for the event. Tickets are $55.
Following the speaker and awards presentations, we’ll let our hair down and network. We expect the hall will be buzzing with conversation about how companies can share creative ways to fold innovation into their own operations. As always, I look forward to seeing you and many other Insight readers there!