Joe Pleshek, Terso Solutions Inc.

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Joe Pleshek, president and CEO, Terso Solutions Inc.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The most valuable asset Terso has as a company is our people, so talent management is one of the more important aspects of my job. Attracting, retaining, and developing a diverse group of individuals can be very rewarding and challenging at the same time. It has been extremely rewarding to watch people grow and take on new responsibilities within the company over the past 10 years. It is also gratifying to see Terso add new individuals to the team who each bring a diverse portfolio of experiences, views, and ideas.

The challenging part of growth is ensuring the company culture and core values remain strong and serve as a lever to enable each employee to achieve the success they are looking for. Transparent communication is a key factor in this and I feel continuously challenged to work on improving and building strong communication within the organization.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I have been very blessed to work with and for many amazing people whom I have learned a great deal from throughout my career. More recently, I have a growing appreciation of my dad’s personal influence. Through our family business, my dad taught me the value of hard work, the great importance of building strong relationships with customers, and the importance of profit and cash flow. Basic blocking and tackling, but incredibly valuable stuff!

What has been the high point of your career so far?

My high point is definitely my current role at Terso. Being a part of a startup, helping to land our first customer 10 years ago, and now watching the business enter high-growth mode has been an amazing experience. I have been exposed to so many new things and have developed some great relationships along the way.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

I am a big fan of Patrick Lencioni’s work around teams and how they work or don’t work. In his latest book he talks about the three virtues of the “ideal team player,” which are be humble, hungry, and smart. I wish I had this framework earlier in my career, especially the importance of being “smart” about people and how to interact with others in the most thoughtful and effective way.



What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

From a living standpoint I love all of the options that Dane County offers residents. From dining to sporting events to outdoor recreation, the diversity is amazing. Working here is great because of the numerous businesses that are open to helping each other and the community, as well as expanding career opportunities for those who live and work in the county.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I wouldn’t call it a talent but in addition to my day job I do some bartending on the weekends. I enjoy creating craft cocktails and having great conversations with dinner guests. I also love the intensity of a busy Saturday night behind the bar and have great admiration for restaurant/bar owners, operators, and employees.

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