WEC Energy Group, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is one of America’s leading electric and natural gas holding companies, with $34 billion of assets and over 8,000 employees. Following WEC Energy’s distinguished CEO, Gale Klappa, being named as the 2019 CEO of the Year for the USA, we took a closer look at this true goliath of the industry to find out more.
Gale Klappa is one of those classic American stalwarts of the greater business landscape, succeeding through a peerless drive to evolve, to adapt, to improve and to guide industry standards into an altogether brighter future. Indeed, during his storied tenure, he has overseen WEC Energy as it transformed itself through innovation and no small amount of daring on its journey to become one of the Midwest’s premier businesses. Over the years, it has grown from strength to strength with a certainty that other businesses – of any or in any location – can only attempt to mimic.
Yet, throughout all of this, Gale has always set his sights on smaller goals, realizing that success requires a solid foundation. After all, there’s no point dreaming big if the basics are overlooked. “I believe that the core responsibility of a CEO is to define the company’s mission and to clearly articulate what success looks like – so that every employee understands their role in creating lasting value for the enterprise.
“Every successful leader has a set of core values. For me, that list of values starts with integrity, customer focus, a sense of urgency, financial discipline and taking personal responsibility for results.” Values, in Gale’s opinion, are the all essential building blocks for growth. It’s a refreshing outlook in a world that seems obsessed with ‘the big picture’ and the cutting-edge.
With this point in mind, it can be no surprise that Gale’s approach to leadership focuses very much on the front lines, looking at realworld results over intangible goals. “I make sure staff have clear goals, with open communication and teamwork. Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for results. Equally, we try not to take ourselves too seriously. We need to enjoy and celebrate the milestones along the way.”
Himself inspired by a strong work ethic, Gale inspires in turn. Perhaps, it is no surprise that he has forged an indelible reputation in the energy industry, marking himself as one of America’s true business leaders. Crucially, he also understands the importance of good old-fashioned hardwork, and its fundamental role in achieving enduring success in one of the world’s most competitive of sectors.