Congratulations to James Ober, senior project manager at Hydro-Thermal Corporation, on being named one of our 2019 Emerging Leaders of Waukesha County!
These awards celebrate young professionals who live or work in Waukesha County and who have shown personal initiative, determination and commitment to their careers and their community. The eight winners will receive their awards during YPWeek at the Emerging Leaders of Waukesha County awards luncheon on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at Embassy Suites in Brookfield. Register for the program here.
James Ober is a natural-born leader who is already nurturing the next generation of leaders. For the past two years, James has worked as a senior project manager at Hydro-Thermal Corporation, and has already made a permanent impact on the company. James has tackled several challenging projects including reviewing Hydro-Thermal’s entire production process and helping to organize and refocus the company’s mid-level management team. He is constantly striving for personal growth and development. James is also using his talents to expand opportunities for youth throughout Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. James is the vice president of on ice operations and the high school head coach for the Milwaukee Blaze Hockey program and has also organized fundraising opportunities to give local, low-income children a chance to play hockey.
Get to know James:
Hometown: New Berlin
Favorite part of your job: Working on different projects involving so many different people keeps me in a constant state of growth. Every day I learn something new from all the Hydro-Thermal employees I get to interact with. This doesn’t include the vendors, customers and academics completing research work with us at UW-Madison.
If you could tell someone why it’s important to be involved in the community in one sentence, what would you say? You live here, you work here, you eat here, you sleep here, so get involved here to keep it that way–and, if not for you, then for someone else.
Favorite thing about living/working in Waukesha County/southeast Wisconsin: The diverse work industry still boggles my mind. I traveled for four years and had no idea what I had sitting in my own back yard until I came home to work for Hydro-Thermal. I love that for nearly any business issue we have someone in Waukesha County and/or southeastern Wisconsin with a solution. Also, and I may be attacked by an angry mob this time of year, but the weather is amazing. Being able to experience all four seasons is something most don’t get to do.
Favorite movie or book: There’s so many! I’m a sucker for the movie Miracle; I’ve played and coached hockey for a long time but that’s not the only reason this movie gets me. Yes, it’s another “overcoming great odds” story line, but it’s a true story. Unless you really know the sport and the history behind the USA and Russian teams, you really don’t understand the magnitude of the odds team USA overcame to win that game. It’s the purest form of how great teams will always achieve the goals they set.
Favorite food: Any lemon-based dessert!
Something unique about you: I love to work on cars. My dad worked on cars all the time and I learned quite a bit from him.
One thing you couldn’t live without: Hockey. Nothing else comes close (maybe my family but it’s close).
What was your first job? My parents owned a lawn care business and put me to work when I was 13! Summer was brutal at times but I made good money at a young age.
If you could do another job for just one day: If the day is Sunday then Nascar driver, if not then the Head Coach for the St. Louis Blues.
Three best words to describe you: I asked someone else for these. Ambitious, personable, humble
In your opinion, what makes a great leader? Someone who can make those around him or her and the organizations they are a part of better than they were the day before.
What drives you to succeed? I love to help people. Giving to others has always been so gratifying. I think because of this trait, many see me as a resource, and that fuels my fire.
What is the most pressing issue facing our area and why? Lack of skilled trades labor. Every company in the area is permanently hiring for these positions. I believe lack of training (on and off the job) to get these jobs is the main reason. Some of the best hires you could have won’t be hired because they don’t have the experience and training needed for that job.
What is your favorite saying or word? “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” -Wayne Gretzky
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