It’s a nickname her peers have affectionately given to her and with good reason.

Sandra Westlund-Deenihan has broken the mold when it comes to her business and shaping public policy. She rescued her father’s manufacturing company from the auction block shortly after his death and today Quality Float Works, Inc. is experiencing record revenue growth. And, her colleagues tapped her to serve in leadership positions with several major business associations from the National Association of Manufacturers to the US Chamber of Commerce utilizing her expertise in business and workforce development.

“Feisty Factories”

In the June issue of Fortune Small Business, the magazine’s cover story featured a handful of smaller manufacturers from across the country that are surging while larger manufacturers are declining. Quality Float Works, Inc. was tapped for this story and the article featured Sandy, and her son Jason, holding up a variety of the floats in all shapes and sizes. They take pride in their craftsmanship and it shows as the story explained how a float has not been returned in years. The reason for that is simple, quality isn’t just in the name but the products they make. Their company places a premium on service and that’s why they have a 100% inspection rate at every level of production.

“A pipeline of workers...”

Sandy’s top public policy initiative is to develop a real workforce development plan that creates a pipeline of workers for generations of manufacturers to come. She recently traveled to our nation’s capitol unveiling her vision for closing the skills gap to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The nation’s largest business organization has tapped Sandy to serve on the top education and workforce development committee that will outline their plans for Congress in the next year. In late June, she will serve on a panel on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers, the nation’s largest premier manufacturing association, to discuss her vision for employers and the skills gap to businesses in the Midwest. Sandy not only sits on the Board of Directors of NAM, but also has been designated one of their “Business Champion,” which is an elite task force of members who are committed to shaping public policy for their industry. Her grandfather started this business in his southwest side home in Chicago and Sandy believes her legacy is to leave a workforce for her son, Jason Speer, for generations to come.

And as you can see, there is a reason why they call her “Tiny, But Mighty.”

Ryan McLaughlin
VP/Group Director, Public Affairs