Every company has a culture, whether it’s intentional or not.
Bethany Andell talks with Laura Richardson, CEO of Frazer, about purpose. Laura talks about the unintentional culture of her grandfather's company and explains how they unleash the potential of every employee at Frazer.
Sometimes a company’s purpose has nothing to do with its business. Laura Richardson, CEO of Frazer, a manufacturer of emergency medical service vehicles, visits with Bethany Andell.
Bethany: Welcome to this edition Brandonomics, an inside look at purpose-led companies and their strategies. I’m Bethany Andell, President of Savage Brands, and today’s guest is Laura Richardson, CEO of Frazer. Frazer is a builder of emergency vehicles most known for their mobile stroke units and clinics as well as if you’ve ever seen a City of Houston ambulance running around this town they probably built it – they definitely build it.
Laura: Thanks for having me.
Bethany: I’m so glad you’re here.
Laura: Thank you.
Bethany: So we know each other.
Bethany: To be clear, so we’ve talked a lot about your company and your culture and your purpose. And I know that you literally build these emergency vehicles but our conversation always seems to turn internally about what the company is about. And I was hoping today in our first segment that you would share a little bit about Frazer’s purpose and what the company is about and really how you were able to come up with that purpose and what it means to you.
Laura: Certainly. So we’re a 62 year old company, my grandfather Charles Frazer started it. He was a welder in the Navy – he was a Seabee in the Navy and after the war he came back and started Frazer. He didn’t have a college degree or anything like that so the purpose or the drive behind it was if you had a good work ethic and critical thinking skills then you always had a place at Frazer. I took over about 5 years ago and every company has a culture whether it’s intentional or unintentional and ours was definitely unintentional at that point. So we embarked on a journey to come up with our core values and why it is that we exist; our mission, our purpose and all of those things. And I’m happy to say that we’re moving down that road today.
Bethany: So what is the purpose of Frazer?
Laura: It’s one of those things where you’d think it’s be super simple to determine what the purpose of your company is, right? You can go in a board room and 10 minutes later you’ll know what that is. I think it took us about 13 hours to come up with our purpose and it is to unleash our potential. We looked at letters that my grandfather had written. We had 9 members of our vision team; they interviewed – these were folks who’d been with the company short periods of time, long periods of time. This wasn’t just the C suite folks.
These were folks out on the shop floor with varied interests and backgrounds and what we’ve always seen at Frazer that no matter who you are we want to unleash your potential and our potential. So it’s our individual employees, it’s our company, it’s our industry and it’s even parallel industries. We have folks who it might be the first in their family to graduate high school or to graduate college or to do some of these things. And sometimes they come into work with a bit maybe of a defeatist attitude already so part of what we do at Frazer is build those folks up and let them know that they can unleash that potential and that we can take it to the industry at large and see what we’re capable of. I mean because together we can make really amazing things happen.
Bethany: I love the fact that your purpose isn’t actually about what you do for a living. I’ve watched Frazer define the future of mobile healthcare and that’s kind of your tagline and part of your mission, but I think it’s great that your purpose is really about all of the people that are involved.
Laura: Absolutely. I mean we did not start out in emergency vehicles, we started out in the oil field industry so the normal maybe purposes you might come up with – maybe our purpose is to save lives or to do these things – but we knew that’s not where we started and it may not ultimately be where the company goes. So we want to be able to have that ability to change and to unleash our potential really just says exactly what we’re about.
Bethany: I think that’s great and you’ve obviously pushed the boundaries on all of it.
Bethany: That concludes this edition of Brandonomics, I look forward to our next time. Thank you so much Laura for joining us.
Laura: Thank you.