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In the Fast Lane: Brad Dahl

Brad Dahl

Director of Operations, Altec Industries

This story is part of our July 2022 Young Professionals print issue. To subscribe, click here.


Nine years ago, Brad Dahl moved to Sacramento from Kentucky. It didn’t take him long to embrace the California lifestyle. “The weather here makes it easy to be outdoors often,” he says. The mechanical engineer, who grew up primarily in the Midwest, accepted a promotion at Altec Industries – a leading provider of products and services for the electrical, telecommunications, tree maintenance, lighting, signage and contractors – to oversee a final assembly plant near Dixon. Since moving, he has taken up running and hiking and never tires of the local cuisine. One of his favorite activities is riding bikes with his wife from their neighborhood of Elmhurst to nearby restaurants in East Sacramento. They also race with their 4-year-old son in tow.

Dahl, 40, who worked at Altec for his 17-year professional career, landed his first job with the company through a job fair at Iowa State University, where he graduated with a undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. He also holds degrees in physics from Augustana College and an MBA from Northwest Missouri State University. Dahl credits his father, a mining engineer, with his interest and passion for the industry.

The operations manager began his career at Altec as a quality engineer and was hired right out of college by current Altec purchasing manager Wade Wetlaufer. He says Wetlaufer was a lifelong mentor and pushed him out of his comfort zone, forcing him to learn about public speaking and meeting clients. They still collaborate regularly and are currently part of a team tackling the critical supply chain issue, one that started during the pandemic. “We’re built to deal with supply chain issues because it’s a reality in manufacturing,” he says. “They’re just a little bigger right now than they’ve ever been.”

Equipment and systems are both designed and built at the Dixon plant, where Altec designs bespoke truck bodies to meet specific customer needs. The manufacturer sells directly to PG&E, SoCal Edison, Nevada Energy and others. It mainly sources parts from its own internal suppliers to minimize production disruptions. “We keep the lights on and the internet,” laughs Dahl. His current responsibilities include visiting various Altec facilities to help streamline production and create opportunities for continuous improvement. In addition to the Dixon factory, Dahl has international responsibilities for the factories in Melbourne, Australia and Shanghai, China, giving him the opportunity to travel and ensure business continuity overseas. .

“For a kid who grew up mostly in the Midwest, this job gave me the chance to see many parts of the world.”

Brad Dahl, COO, Altec Industries

“For a kid who grew up mostly in the Midwest, this job gave me the chance to see many parts of the world,” he says. He hesitates when talking about his own success, repeatedly pointing to the team he works with, but admits he has a good work ethic, arriving at the factory at 6 a.m. to start his day.

Outside of work, Dahl was asked to be part of Travis Air Force Base’s honorary commander program, which pairs a community leader with a base commander to foster a connection between the base and the public. “It was an exceptional experience,” he says, “to really show the local community who the Air Force is.”

With his willingness to relocate and take on new responsibilities, Dahl has turned his interest in manufacturing into a career with unlimited growth potential, something he is passionate about sharing with others, especially students. “Making is unique in that it never ends,” he says. “At Altec, we can provide people with good jobs and a comfortable workplace. And I think we can develop skills that are really tangible in today’s work environment.

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