John Axelberg - President
John is the third generation of the Axelberg family to own and operate General Stamping & Metalworks, succeeding his father, Jim, as president in 2005. After a brief and undistinguished career as a rock guitarist, John formally joined the family enterprise in 1984, learning the business through involvement in all aspects of the operation. John earned a B.A. in English literature from DePauw University and has been actively engaged in board and directorship positions within the South Bend community and the metal fabricating industry.
Taylor Lewis-Axelberg - VP & COO
As COO and with an extensive background in business development consulting, Taylor is responsible for overall operations as well as actively facilitating executive and managerial development, strategy formulation and organization development initiatives. She holds a Masters Degree in Management Science/Business Administration from the J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Business, Northwestern University, and a Doctor of Psychology in business psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
John Ryal - VP & CFO
As Chief Financial Officer since July 2011, John is responsible for human resources administration, information systems, and administrative services, in addition to finance and accounting oversight. As a member of the executive team, John also plays a significant role in the development of the company’s strategic initiatives.
He has extensive experience in public accounting as well as general business management.
John graduated in 1980 from Mount Saint Mary’s College with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. He passed the CPA exam in 1983, and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1996.
Art Harrison - VP of Business Development
A 16-year veteran of General Stamping & Metalworks, Art is responsible for all manufacturing operations at the company’s South Bend headquarters facility. Prior to assuming his role as Vice President of Manufacturing Operations in 2012, he headed the Materials Group with responsibility for procuring raw materials, scheduling, and all warehousing functions including shipping and receiving.
Art began his career with Excel Industries as a Material Analyst/Buyer in 1976. He was named Materials Manager in 1978, and stayed with Excel until 1980, when he joined Toro/Wheel Horse as a buyer. Promoted to Materials Manager in 1983, he went on to become Manufacturing Manager in 1986.
In 1990, Art joined K&M Manufacturing in Cassopolis, Michigan, a fabricator of metal parts for Caterpillar, Komatsu and Kawasaki. During his years there, Art served as Materials and Manufacturing Operations Manager until 1998, when he was recruited to join General Stamping & Metalworks.
Art served GSM as Plant Manager for ten years beginning with his arrival in 1998. He developed the value-added kitting program for GSM, which remains an important customer offering to this day, and has been instrumental in selecting the company’s ERP system, as well as a member of the implementation team. In addition, he has contributed significantly to GSM’s ISO Quality certification program. He became president of the company’s tool & die acquisition, AAA Tool & Die, and led the successful integration of that company into GSM, transitioning to his new role as Vice President of Business Development.
Art holds a BA in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh. He also attended the MBA Program at Indiana University South Bend, and Executive Leadership Training at University of Notre Dame. He is a member of the American Purchasing Society.
Kathy Crimmins - Director of Cultural Development
Appointed director of the GSM’s newly created Cultural Development function in 2012, Kathy is charged with implementing a radically different model for the traditional human resources function. The challenge of attracting, training and retaining high quality manufacturing employees made it imperative that the company find new and innovative ways to make the manufacturing environment one that offers opportunity and growth while elevating standards of employee care and cultivation.
Kathy began her career in 1985 in the accounting department of Wheel Horse, a division of The Toro Company. During her eight years with Toro, she gained experience in many aspects of the company’s accounting operations, including general and cost accounting, international accounting, and logistics accounting.
In 1993, Kathy joined General Stamping & Metalworks, where she helped the company expand their production of Toro parts from various other remote locations. Her responsibilities included purchasing, production planning, logistics, and inventory control.
Kathy took a hiatus from the company in 1997 to raise her family. During that time, she served as Chief Financial Officer for Land Grant Title Group, a property title company. Her responsibilities included accounting, financial planning, escrow management, and human resources management.
In 2004, she returned to General Stamping & Metalworks as Controller with oversight responsibility for the Information Technology and Human Resources functions. Her intense involvement in plant operations led to her appointment in 2011 as Director of Operations, giving her an opportunity to develop the production knowledge needed to ultimately head GSM’s more comprehensive initiative to integrate quality assurance, safety, continuous improvement, and employee selection and development.
Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Indiana University South Bend, Six Sigma Green Belt and Six-Sigma Black Belt training certifications from Purdue University, is a member of the Career Technical Education Advisory Board and has earned an Advanced Manufacturing Certificate from Purdue University.
Jeff Zelley - General Manager, Remote Operations
Jeff joined General Stamping & Metalworks in 2006, bringing with him eight years of experience in sheet metal design, metal fabricating and related activities including, product design and engineering prototyping. His background includes experience in the United States Air Force as a Staff Sargent in charge of electrical-mechanical activities for fighter jet weapon systems and components.
His career in manufacturing began in 1993 as an Assistant Production Line Lead at Cardinal Glass in Tomah, Wisconsin, a leading provider of superior quality insulated glass products. From there Jeff took a position as a product designer for American Standard-Trane in La Crosse, a Fortune 500 manufacturer and distributor of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and solutions.
In 2006 when company president John Axelberg made the decision to build a facility strategically located to support the company’s main customer, he hired Jeff to manage the new facility. In this role Jeff has developed extensive experience in leading remote facilities while touching on many different functional areas related to managing that operation well. Through close customer proximity, Jeff works with customers to understand their needs and help them develop solutions to everyday problems. Jeff’s successful leadership of GSM’s first remote facility led to his being asked to head the company’s inquiries into opportunities in other remote locations in behalf of customers, both nationally and internationally.
In addition to his military experience, Jeff holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management from the University of Wisconsin – Stout where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, and an Associate of Science degree in mechanical design from Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wisconsin.