Wieland has been honored with the 2024 Community Outreach Award for its exceptional commitment to giving back to the community. Demonstrating a profound dedication to uplifting their local area, Wieland has consistently sponsored initiatives for schools, participated in community events, and supported their employees through various events held both at the plant and within the community. Their core values center around helping employees achieve success and fostering a positive work environment, which ultimately enhances the community’s well-being and ensures the company’s success. The Wieland Cultural Committee spearheads many of these initiatives, providing a coordinated effort towards community engagement. 
The organization’s philosophy of empathetic leadership lies at the core of what makes Wieland a popular workplace. “People are drawn to our company because of the palpable fulfillment and happiness they experience here. When we post job openings, they are quickly filled with qualified individuals eager to be part of our culture. I find something uniquely distinctive in our business operations, particularly in Pine Hall, where we strive to cultivate a transformative culture. We firmly believe that work is not just about earning a paycheck but also about feeling a sense of purpose and contribution to something greater. This ethos sets us apart from others,” stated Davide Varze, vice president of North American Tube Plants manufacturing and Pine Hall Wieland location president. 
The biggest challenge was breaking through the perception built over the years. Nothing materializes when new management brings promising change and improvement and doesn’t deliver; it breeds skepticism. “To overcome the doubt within the organization, we had to demonstrate through action that we were committed to our promises. It began with our internal employees seeing that our intentions were genuine and that we followed through on our commitments. As they witnessed this firsthand, they naturally began to spread the word within the community. We understood that if our employees weren’t happy, our efforts to impress the community would be in vain. Therefore, we prioritized honesty and integrity, ensuring our internal culture aligned with our external image,” proclaimed Markus Rusznyak, plant manager of the Pine Hall Wieland location. This approach required more time and effort but laid the foundation for long-term success rather than short-lived impressions. By staying true to their values and consistently delivering on their promises, they built a lasting positive reputation within their community.
At Wieland, various community-driven initiatives promote unity and inclusion among employees and their families. Events like Family Day and themed gatherings, such as trunk-or-treat Halloween celebrations, highlight the importance of community bonds. These activities, orchestrated by the Cultural Committee, allow every employee to contribute ideas, ensuring initiatives align with the community’s diverse needs. Regular food drives further demonstrate Wieland’s commitment to making a positive impact beyond the workplace. According to Rusznyak, the Cultural Committee provides an inclusive platform for all employees to participate in brainstorming sessions to enhance community engagement and positively impact those around them.
Since Wieland’s inception, they’ve maintained a steadfast collaboration with the town of Walnut Cove. This partnership extends to sponsoring community events, such as the Christmas tree lighting and parades. “When a new McDonald’s opened in the area, Mayor Nellie Brown extended invitations to several prominent figures, including a former NBA player and Marines from a nearby station. As the largest employer in the area, I was honored to be included in the grand opening and took the opportunity to underscore the significance of our business for the town’s prosperity,” said Varze. 
Wieland has also invested substantially in their local school system, from elementary to high schools. Many of these initiatives are facilitated through job fairs organized by high schools during the spring. “It’s truly inspiring to witness the next generation’s perspective on manufacturing shifts as they engage with us. During these interactions, students often express surprise at the versatility of copper, realizing it’s far from boring and is, in fact, ubiquitous in various products. Engaging with students in this manner is a form of community outreach, fostering awareness of the opportunities available in Pine Hall and at Wieland. By investing in the education and aspirations of young individuals, we’re contributing to their future and cultivating a skilled workforce for our community and company,” stated Varze. 
Wieland employs individuals from neighboring counties, fostering a healthy sense of competition among employees eager to host community events in their respective areas. When Wieland learned that one high school’s ice maker had broken down, they seized the opportunity to assist. “Given that our product is integral to ice maker functionality, we leveraged our customer relationships to secure a favorable deal and sponsored a replacement ice maker. This gesture benefited the school’s sports activities and underscored the practical applications of our products in daily life. Moving forward, we aim to address the needs of other high schools similarly, demonstrating our commitment to community-wide support. Additionally, we extend our outreach to local cancer foundations, ensuring our contributions benefit various causes and organizations,” said Rusznyak
Empowering employees is essential, and following through on commitments is crucial. “If you genuinely believe in your words, you shouldn’t hesitate to empower your team. Consistency in delivering on promises builds trust and credibility. Change doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a gradual process. People appreciate incremental progress rather than no progress at all.” Rusznyak continued, “Building trust takes time, but once earned, it fosters a collaborative environment where employees are willing to invest their efforts. While key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential, they don’t always reflect how people feel. It’s vital to prioritize the well-being and sentiments of your team members. Anecdotal evidence, like our success in recruiting hires, underscores the importance of creating a positive work environment. For instance, as we interview candidates for summer internships this week, it’s evident that our reputation for employee empowerment and trustworthiness precedes us, attracting top talent to our organization.”
Wieland’s cultural shift is felt across the organization. One of the Pine Hall facility’s long-time employees, who had been with the organization for over 15 years, approached Rusznyak and Varze with heartfelt gratitude. “He admitted that he had harbored doubts initially, but for the first time in his tenure, he felt genuine pride in his achievements at work. While he had experienced moments of pride in the past, this instance felt different. It occurred shortly after our school supplies giveaway initiative, where we collected supplies from our employees and supplemented them generously. His granddaughter approached him to express her gratitude, recounting how she had proudly shared with her classmates that her grandpa worked for the company that had provided the school supplies; this touching moment exemplified the impact of our community outreach efforts, leaving a lasting impression not only on our employees but also on their families and the wider community,” Rusznyak stated proudly. 
“Receiving the 2024 Community Outreach Leadership Award holds significant personal meaning for me, especially considering my journey with Wieland began when I was just 16. At that age, I was unsure of my path, but what drew me to Wieland was its employees’ evident pride and satisfaction. Working at Wieland wasn’t considered prestigious; it was quite the opposite. However, over time, I witnessed a transformation. We turned Pine Hall into a place to be proud of, and winning an award that reflects the efforts of our employees is even more gratifying. While we provided the platform for their contributions, the fact that the award recognizes their efforts is extraordinary. Our support signifies that our employees have made a tangible difference in our community, which is something to celebrate,” remarked Rusznyak.
“The recognition of the 2024 Community Outreach Leadership Award is a testament to the two years of dedicated effort we’ve invested in initiatives we wholeheartedly believe in. Seeing the genuine joy and warmth in the individuals we’ve been able to support brings immense satisfaction. Being acknowledged by a prestigious national organization like NCMEP as a leader in our community is truly a remarkable achievement for Wieland. It reaffirms the significance of our commitment to positively impacting the lives of those around us,” proclaimed Varze.
Over the years, their involvement in various events and initiatives underscores their unwavering commitment to making a meaningful impact. Wieland’s outreach efforts have been diverse and impactful, from hosting Family Day events and community presentations to sponsoring local fundraisers and providing school donations. Their continuous dedication to community involvement reflects their ethos of compassion, empathy, and a genuine desire to contribute positively to the lives of those around them. Wieland’s receipt of the 2024 Community Outreach Award is a testament to their exemplary efforts in fostering community growth, education, and unity.