INDUSTRY: Field Logic founded on quality, promoted withinWalk the aisles of any Gander Mountain or Cabela’s store across America and you’re likely to come across archery targets and bow sights made by workers right here in Superior.
By: By Rebecca Osterlund/For the Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
Walk the aisles of any Gander Mountain or Cabela’s store across America and you’re likely to come across archery targets and bow sights made by workers right here in Superior.
Field Logic’s founder and owner, Larry Pulkrabek, got the idea for the innovative target line while playing darts. He envisioned a type of block target from which archers could easily retrieve arrows time after time without destroying the target. And thus the Field Logic BLOCK target was born. Using layers of foam piled on top of each other instead of one solid piece of foam allows arrows to slide easily in and out without taking chunks of the target with it.
Originally dubbed Northern Whitetail, the company was renamed when it moved to Superior. In the 15 years it’s been in operation, the company has grown from a garage-sized business to one that currently dominates the global archery market. The original block target line has now expanded and includes nine different lines of archery products.
“The growth has been unbelievable,” said Wanda Grew-Jasken, director of human resources and technology at Field Logic. “When we first moved in here, we never thought we’d fill this building up and within less than two years we were already trying to rent space. We bought a big warehouse that’s 10 times the size of this building and now we’re filling that up. So it’s been amazing the growth.”
The creation of these products is handled by a small army of production workers, each with their own respective jobs. From casting molds of life-sized foam deer targets, to painting faces on targets, to packaging the final product before shipment, there is never a dull moment in the day of the Field Logic production crew.
“So many things I thought machines would do, but we actually do,” said Lynda Steinhilb, a production worker who has been with the company for four weeks.
Steinhilb joined the company’s Apple X-Press bow press production line after leaving a position working in the mall food court and says the decision was a good one. “Everyone here’s trying to help you out. They don’t want you to fail. They all want you to succeed.”
Grew-Jasken says people who have the right attitude and drive are quickly promoted up the Field Logic ranks. Recently, the company held a supervisory training with eight out of nine of the prospective supervisors coming from the existing employee pool.
This type of advancement is something quite familiar to Mike Baumann, division manager. He started as an entry-level production worker with the company seven years ago and, through a series of promotions, now oversees the company’s trademark BLOCK division, along with a motivated crew of employees.
“I like a challenge,” Baumann says of the ever-increasing product lines at Field Logic. “It’s not repetitive and we’re always trying to do better.”
With nine product lines including bow sights used by Olympians, quality is something high on the list of priorities for the production workers. Grew-Jasken cited a recent exchange between a division manager and his crew.
“When we found out a world champion had used our sights, he put on a video and told them that one of them had put that (sight) together for him and if one part was wrong, it could have meant the demise of his Olympic championship.”
As a supervisor, Baumann says he’s always looking for quality in the products that come from his division. “If I wouldn’t buy it, I wouldn’t make it,” he said.
Baumann says the entry-level production positions have some perks. The company schedules in three- or four-day on-off rotations, giving workers at least a three day weekend every scheduling period.
Field Logic is currently hiring for entry-level production workers, among other positions. Grew-Jasken says they’ll be hiring on-and-off through the end of summer. Most production workers start between the ranges of $8 to $11 depending on the department they’re assigned, the nature of their work and experience. The positions do come with a caveat, though, as archery is a seasonal sport. Though some are employed year-round, there is a two-to-three month period during the winter when certain employees are laid off.
Though no formal education is required to land a production job, Grew-Jasken says a positive attitude is key to getting hired. “Obviously there’re certain skills that go with the job, but it’s the people that will want to learn and are motivated that are going to get there. It’s the people who are looking for the next thing to do that are going to get promoted.”