Meet Our Machinery
June 16, 2021
It takes the best stuff on earth to craft the Best Rods on Earth®. The premium raw materials and components that go into any of St. Croix’s nearly 800 distinct rod models come from diverse sources and locations, so it takes a skilled expert to make sure all of it arrives exactly when and where it’s needed.
Who’s better at these kinds of logistics than Mom? “Well, that probably helps!” says St. Croix Supply Chain Manager and mother of two grown sons, Laurie Behreandt, with a smile. “Successfully running a busy household definitely requires skills that pay dividends in this kind of work.”
Behreandt, a Park Falls, Wisconsin native, gained experience in logistics and supply-chain management while working for Phillips Plastics for a number of years before coming to work at St. Croix Rod in October of 2009. “I work most closely with Jason Brunner (St. Croix Vice President of Operations) in Operations, but also with Engineering, Marketing, Sales, Accounting, the warehouses… almost everyone,” she says, “in addition to all our vendors and suppliers. My job entails a lot… basically anything required to make sure our people at both of our facilities have everything they need to craft the rods our anglers demand.”
A passionate, lifelong angler herself, Behreandt says she’s been inspired to hear about and watch so many new people coming into the sport and enjoying fishing as a result of COVID-19. “Everybody wants to go fishing now, and we’re really busy as a result! That’s definitely been the silver lining to this pandemic,” says Behreandt, who also points to the darker supply-chain disruptions that have caused manufacturing and delivery challenges during a period of unprecedented demand in the industry. “It’s definitely an issue,” she says. “While we’ve been up and running for many months since the shutdown and we’re making more and better rods than ever before, there are still a lot of people elsewhere who aren’t working.”
Behreandt says St. Croix made some very smart decisions last year for the benefit of its anglers. “Our CEO, Scott Foristall, is constantly proving he has great insight. Last year, he predicted very early in the pandemic that it was going to become a challenge getting materials and components, so he allowed us to purchase a significant stockpile before things got really bad. We ordered a lot of product early, which allowed us to get up and running immediately when we re-opened after the shutdown.”
When asked her opinion on the best part of working at St. Croix, Behreandt doesn’t hesitate. “It’s making the Best Rods on Earth® for anglers!” the self-described smallmouth bass fanatic exclaims. “But the family atmosphere here is a huge bonus, too,” she says. “I’ve been here 12 years now, but before that I worked in a big corporate environment where ownership and top management rarely communicated with middle management, especially face to face. Here at St. Croix, it’s a family and everyone communicates freely. if I need to talk with someone… anyone… I just go do it. And our ownership and Leadership Team do the same thing. They’ll pop into my office and ask what I think about something and they’ll do the same thing with our team members out on the floor. It’s the culture we have here, and it’s because everyone at St. Croix embraces the same mission; everyone knows and understands we’re here doing what we do for our anglers.”
Away from the office, Behreandt stays busy with a variety of interests and activities. “In addition to my dad and my sons who still live in the area, I have two adorable granddaughters that I love spending time with,” says Behreandt, who also has three black labs and enjoys gardening, four-wheeling, and fishing, of course.
“I started fishing with my dad as soon as I was big enough to hold a rod,” says Behreandt, who loves targeting anything that puts a bend in her favorite Legend Xtreme XFS70MF rod but prefers smallmouth bass above the other plentiful species in her area. “We have some great fishing around Park Falls, but I love to get out after work in the evenings and get after the smallmouth,” she says. “They’re my favorite.”
Behreandt recalls a special smallmouth her dad caught a couple years ago. It was one of the last times she fished with him before he had to finally give up the sport he so loved. “Dad hooked the biggest bass of his life on a bobber. It kept diving under the boat and we were all hootin’ and hollering. I remember secretly thinking he was going to lose it because I knew the line on his reel was like 40 years old, but he somehow closed the deal,” she brightly recalls. “It was big – maybe 22 inches – and we were all so happy for him. It was just one of so many great memories I’ll always have from fishing with dad.”
When asked what she would want anglers to understand about her or her position at St. Croix, Behreandt took a wider tack. “I love working at St. Croix, but this company is greater than any one person who works here. It really is a family environments and because of that – and because of everything else our brand stands for – literally everyone in the company cares a great deal about what they are doing, and that’s true all the time. If that exists anywhere else, I haven’t seen it. That’s what I’d want our anglers to know and understand as it relates to our excellent brand, because it shows in our products.”