Kelly Pearson
Director, Operations
The Toro Company

“Manufacturing is the perfect harmonization of people, process and technology. I feel fortunate to walk the production floor where highly skilled manufacturing professionals turn innovative designs into high quality products. For over a century, manufacturing remains a good paying, viable career option for many.”

While directing The Toro Company’s production facility in Shakopee, Minnesota, Kelly led a crucial project to replace aging laser machines. As a nearly $10 million investment, it is the company’s single largest capital project approved for the facility. By leading a multi-disciplinary team to explore new findings, automation and possibilities for additional work, the effort proved to be a key investment in the future of the facility. Also an advocate for employee safety, Kelly implemented a consistent behavior-based observation program to create more interactions between salaried employees and hourly employees related to safety improvement opportunities. Recognizing a lack of corporate leadership in safety, Kelly stepped in to fill that void and further Toro’s safety programs. In her current role as Director, Operations within the Windom, Minnesota production facility, Kelly maintains active leadership in safety today, serving as a role model for others throughout Toro.

Kelly’s mentorship has positively impacted others within the organization. For example, Kelly coached and mentored a team member in the Shakopee facility helping him advance from engineer to engineering manager. To broaden his skillset, Kelly gave him the opportunity to lead the materials group. These experiences, coupled with Kelly’s guidance, have positioned him to eventually pursue the role of plant director. Kelly has also supported a local technical school, Hennepin Tech, where she has served as a board member for more than five years. She encourages partnerships between private companies and local technical schools to show more young adults the possibilities of promising careers in the manufacturing.

Kelly has been active in serving her community. As a strong supporter of the United Way, she has encouraged the plants she has led to interact with and contribute to the organization. Additionally, while her daughter was growing up, Kelly served as a Site Council member at Chaska Middle School, and led many Girls Scouts of Minneapolis projects.   

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