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Transforming Operational Value

Chip Hilarides is helping to lead a corporate-wide initiative at Koch Industries to accelerate the adoption of transformative cultures, strategies, methods and technologies across its global operations.

Q: What is your role and focus?
My role with Koch is changing (isn’t everyone’s?), but I’ve spent the last few years working to help our operating companies transform the way they operate. As a designated Knowledge Entrepreneur, I helped form a group across all the Koch companies called the Operations Transformation Leader Forum. This brings together leaders from each company to improve the competitive position of our operations by accelerating transformative cultures, strategies, methods and technologies.

Q: What are the most pressing issues facing manufacturing?
We see the gray wave moving through most of our manufacturing facilities. Veteran operators and experts who have helped our manufacturing plants thrive over the last few decades, are retiring at a rapid pace. In some cases, we expect to see up to 40% of our operating knowledge and capability leave in the next five years. But we don’t have people with the same skills and knowledge willing to work in these facilities and roles. This wave is driving much of our push to transform how we operate our facilities, both now and in the future.

Q: What is your most important corporate initiative?
Our operations transformation efforts are a key initiative at Koch. We are leveraging the diversity of our businesses and operations to accelerate knowledge sharing, collaboration, experimentation and speed to adoption of transformative approaches. We have a unique opportunity to use what we call the Koch Lab concept to rapidly move from concept to proof of value using our diverse operating companies.


Q: What will be the most important leadership qualities to possess in the future?
You must have an inclusive leadership style to manage a workforce that is very complex, diverse, and has a lot of different needs and different styles of working. You need to be extremely agile, with the ability to be fluid and evolve as the market evolves. Developing trust with your teams and employees will continue to be an essential part of being an effective leader, but the changing ways work is done will make this even more challenging.

Q: What are the greatest opportunities for manufacturers?
Companies that can leverage the changing workforce demographics and the new ways work is done will have the greatest competitive advantage in the coming years.

Q: What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I enjoy physical activities, whether it’s a great cross-train workout with my wife, or a week of skiing at Alta, UT.

Chip Hilarides

Title: Director, Operational
Company: Koch Industries
HQ: Wichita, Kansas
People: 130,000 Employees
Revenues: $110 Billion (2018)
Industry: Conglomerate
Web: Web:

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