Andrew Barrieau - Felins President & CEO - FELINS, INC.


To live 100 years is quite common on the island of Sardegna, Italy, where my grandparents grew up.  Culturally, Sardinians have a diet and lifestyle that allows them to have one of the highest longevity rates in the world.  Culture makes a difference!  The same is true in business.

100 years ago our founder, Fred E. Lins, was running his Quality Sausage Company on 12th and Burleigh in Milwaukee, WI and he had a bottleneck on the processing floor tying the ends of sausages.  The process was manual, difficult and took its toll on his employees’ hands.  To solve the problem, Fred and one of his employees, Frank Radekovsky, invented a foot petal operated tying machine that solved everything!  Less material, less pain and higher thruput! Done!  In fact, the impact was so huge for his company, he secured a patent and started making tying machines to help other businesses!  Fast forward 100 years (through the Great Depression, World War II, other wars and deep recessions and an infinite supply of break-through technologies and fierce competition) and we find an innovative and healthy company with an incredibly bright future that continues to make a significant impact for our customers and our world.  We also find a company that is having an absolute blast!

Felins Original Building | Quality Sausage Company | Milwaukee History
Quality Sausage Company's original building in Milwaukee, WI - circa 1920's

This year our company celebrates 100 years, and while age can sometimes come with a connotation of being weak and frail, the Sardinian centenarians would likely show us otherwise. Many of them still very much healthy, happy, strong and having a blast!  Much like them, our business is experienced and youthful at its core, energized and growing in so many meaningful ways.  We are making an impact to change people’s lives, we are making a positive impact on the environment we all live in and we are helping businesses, in nearly every industry, improve their bottom line AND save our planet with sustainable packaging alternatives.  We are doing all of this with joy and passion and a commitment to be a better version of ourselves tomorrow than we are today.  We are doing this with a team that is totally RAD (Reliable, Accountable and Dependable)!  We are doing this with honesty and integrity in all we do…we do the right thing even when no one is looking.  We rise above!  We practice Candor With Care, with each other, with our suppliers and with our customers.  We are honest and direct in our communications but never mean spirited or hurtful.  Care is at the center of how we treat each other.  We are totally committed to our customers!  They are our reason for being.  We also believe our customers are both external and internal.  In all these things that make up our beautiful culture we put a high emphasis on having fun!  Life is too short not to have fun.  What if instead of going to work every day….we went to fun!  One of our recently retired employees shared that “if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life!”  How fun is that?!

Healthy and thriving cultures survive all others.  According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 65% of all businesses fail within 15 years.  Some fail even though they have better ideas and products.  Culture is the key.  Culture is an on-going work in process and our culture at Felins is the best I have ever had the privilege to be a part of and certainly has played a major role in making it to 100 years.  Culture is made up of people who care enough to make a difference and so I thank all Felins employees, past and present for your part in reaching our first 100 years in business!  Salute!

Andrew Barrieau
Felins President & CEO

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