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Journey to the Top: Exodus Machines

CEO discusses achieving success – even when things don’t
go as planned

Kevin Boreen’s journey to the top of the heavy equipment industry wasn’t the traditional one. Rather than growing up in the industry or turning a love of working with his hands into a career, Boreen found his way through an entirely different path.

After graduating college with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Boreen spent five years working as a certified public accountant for the tier-two accounting firm McGladrey & Pullen. From there, his career path took him to a company that manufactured industrial food equipment, where he started in the position of financial director before being promoted to vice president-chief operating officer. It was while in this role that he found his way into the heavy equipment industry, after being asked to serve on the board of directors for Exodus Machines – a Wisconsin-based manufacturer eyeing an alliance with Caterpillar.
 
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“I was serving on the board of directors at Exodus Machines when the opportunity to form an alliance with Caterpillar was first floated,” Boreen said. “I was drawn to the idea of partnering with a heavy equipment manufacturing giant such as CAT. Eventually, I moved into the role of chief executive officer of Exodus Machines, which is where I am today.”

That was seven years ago, and though the alliance with Caterpillar didn’t work out as planned, the company has taken great strides toward meeting its goals for growth and diversified business.
“My career path since joining Exodus has not exactly gone as planned,” Boreen said. “The ‘plan’ through our alliance with CAT was to grow this relatively young company (Exodus was formed in 2008) into a financially solid engineering and manufacturing powerhouse, that would allow us to venture out into other opportunities to grow and diversify the business. Unfortunately, the alliance with CAT did not work out the way either one of us was anticipating, and the relationship ended in 2017.”

The end of the alliance wasn’t a setback; it was an opportunity for Exodus Machines to bloom. While working with Caterpillar, the company formed four key divisions that now operate under the umbrella of Exodus Machines: BladeCore, which provides mobile and stationary shear replacement blades for the scrap industry; ShearCore, which designs, manufactures, sells and services mobile shear and concrete crackers for the scrap and demolition markets; Connect Work Tools, which supplies hydraulic breakers, compactors and rotating grapples for the utility, construction, demolition and rock quarry markets; and OilQuick usa, which is introducing Europe’s long-held premier standard automatic quick coupler systems to the American market.

“We are a family-owned small business that cares about our people and our customers,” Boreen said. “We will go to extreme measures to make sure a customer is satisfied with our products and, more importantly, our service.”

Despite the unexpected twists and turns in his career path, Boreen couldn’t be happier with the work he’s done with Exodus Machines.

“Starting four different divisions and seeing them grow from infancy to functioning, more mature entities is one of my favorite things about my role as CEO,” he said. “Not all have arrived yet, but all are on the path to successful futures! I also view my role as that of a servant leader. I want the employees that work at Exodus to feel they are empowered to make decisions, while at the same time not feeling like they are left out on their own without support. I want to provide leadership that encourages career growth and maturity for all.”

To people who may be considering a career in the heavy equipment industry, Boreen offered this advice for success: “Never compromise your integrity. Work hard. Relationships matter. And, most importantly: Service your customer, service your customer, service your customer!”

When he’s not busy with work, Boreen and his wife are foodies who enjoy spending time with their grandchildren, backpacking, hiking and working out. 

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