October’s BN360 Spotlight Professional – Bernie Switzer

Bernie SwitzerThe Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to introduce you to this year’s BN360 Spotlight Professionals.

Each year, BN360 highlights a select few individuals, nominated by member companies, within the Buffalo Niagara region who exemplify today’s definition of a young rising leader. Check back each month to read about these young professionals and how they are making a positive impact on the Buffalo Niagara region.

Bernie Switzer

Bernie Switzer started working in the family business – Switzer, a manufacturer of precision crafted metal parts –  sweeping floors in middle school when his father would go into work over the weekends. He worked summers in the office and then in production. In between, he bussed tables at a local restaurant, worked the register in a retail store as well as a movie rental store. After college, Bernie worked a couple years as a Purchasing Associate, then spent 5 years as the Production Manager at Switzer. It was over those 5 years that he really focused more on how to be a leader, and on what strategies would help the business grow and succeed. It was those ideas that Bernie went to his father with in his proposal to make himself an Executive VP and after his father stepped away from the business, he took over as president.

First Job Out of School

Sales Associate at Precision Photo-Fab, Inc. (Now Switzer)

Career Highlights

Bernie points to many career highlights including improving Switzer’s on-time delivery to above 95% and heavily reducing scrap as a Production Manager. He also developed a uniting vision for the business in the initial years as EVP and president. Building an excellent leadership and management team that is really making huge strides in developing and implementing successful business strategies, and re-branding the company as Switzer are among other highlights.

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Career

Don’t cheat yourself. And, do the right thing. (From his high school football coach, Jerry Smith.)

Volunteer Activities

  • Camp Good Days and Special Times – Board Member, benefactor and counselor
  • Francis High School – Vice president of Alumni Board and volunteer
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Buffalo News Kids Day

On Buffalo Niagara

“It’s a unique hidden gem. I believe the economy in the area is on the rise in industries covering the entire spectrum, despite all the taxes and regulations forced upon businesses in this state. I believe the area is becoming more technically driven when it comes to the manufacturing industry my company lives in.  And, as everyone says, you can’t beat the people in this area.”

Greatest Benefit of Working in Buffalo Niagara

“As I said before, it’s all about the people. From the employees that I work with to the other business owners and executives that I have worked with and learned from over the years, it’s the hearts and minds of the people in this area that bring the biggest benefit.”

Greatest hope for the future of the Buffalo Niagara business community

“Just to keep moving forward in a sustainable manner, providing an environment in which more and more people within our community can become successful.”

About Being a Spotlight Professional

“To be honest, I am not very comfortable with these sort of things. I don’t do well with recognition for doing things that I just want to do and work hard at. But, if it shines some level of attention on the business and may be beneficial to our employees’ success, then I guess it’s worth it.”

Bernie’s 5 Favorites

  • Favorite Restaurant: Tempo
  • Favorite Business Book: Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
  • Best Buffalo Hidden Gem: Any historical tours through Buffalo. You will see lots of hidden gems on these tours that you never knew existed.
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Anywhere Caribbean
  • Best Place for Wings: Gabriel’s Gate