Halden Zimmermann – Ametek, President and General Manager

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Halden Zimmermann is a son of immigrant parents from Vienna Austria and Italy. He and his twin brother grew up in New York on a block just north of the city. When he was growing up he spent most of his time sports.

His brother was a soccer goalie and Halden was a forward, so they would often practice together. His brother ranked as one of the best goalies in New York State. In addition, they played tennis together on the varsity team when they were in junior high. Undefeated in JV doubles they were one of the youngest to make it on to the team. Halden also competed in downhill skiing, both slalom, and giant slalom. He and his brother would travel to every mountain in the northeast and find the off course trails that had the most challenges. He became a ski instructor for 2 years at Davos Ski resort, training everyone from beginners to advanced skiers.

Most of Halden’s outdoor experience in high adventure came from being part of a special Boy Scout troop. This troop specialized in more high adventure activity than a normal troop would take part in. For example, getting lost in the woods for 3 days and surviving on nothing but water, 50-mile canoeing and 50-mile hiking trips bringing only what you can carry. These activities while tough allowed for a certain level of training as well as exposure to the outdoor environment. The love of the outdoors comes with a high level of respect for Mother Nature and making the right decisions with her.

Do you know what steez is? If so, how do you express your steez?

The style I like the most is old school English. I also like the style that mimics the 20’s. I like cut suits. There was a certain elegance of that period and formality to the era that I think we miss today. The cloth found in those products are thick woven and folded to perfection. When you see some of the shows like Boardwalk Empire or Penny Dreadful you see this high level of detail to the time that extrudes elegance.

When you were younger what was your dream occupation?

If I could be a high adventure guide, that would be my top choice. I surely am not trained enough today in this but I really enjoy the outdoors and the beauty of the environment. Just walking a mile along the Appalachian Trail which is very tame transports you into another world, imagine if you were off trail no cell phone in the middle of the redwood forest.

Who/What inspired you to get into your current field?

Being in Boy Scouts and a scout leader helped me along the path to be in leadership roles and have opportunities where I may not have been confident to lead. I think the boy scouts is a fantastic organization, it takes a lot of investment in time from parents and commitment from yourself to learn and grow as a young person but it is well worth it. Also, the leader when I was growing up that inspired me the most was Rudy Giuliani. At the time he took office, NYC was just a horrible place to live, with high crime, filthy streets and very little investment in infrastructure. He set the stage for the largest turnaround for a city and his approach is now the standard for every mayor looking to improve their city.

What is one current trend that excites you?

I like what is going on with space travel and change in strategy from focusing on the space station to focusing on long range interstellar telescopes to actually traveling to the next milestone in the solar system. These types of investments are very worthwhile and push the limits of application based technology. The space station is great but it really slowed down space exploration and was more used as a research base instead of a technology incubation tool.

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment?

I am sure there are wins out there to be proud of. I am proud of my family and many of the people I work with or know that are friends of mine. Some of my impact on business has been substantial and great teams help to transform businesses I was part of. I would say I am most proud of the fact that I don’t stop trying, in the hardest of times I keep moving forward.

What do you think of social media? Has it made an impact on your professional career?

I think you need to be careful with it. Remember, the internet is a permanent record!

If you were ever to start again, would you do anything differently?

Looking back I am sure there are a few things I would do differently in my life. But for now, since I can’t change them, I try and look forward and learn from them.

What do you see for the future?

Right now things in the world are tumultuous with the Mideast and economies on the brink. I do think there is going to be a near-term event, either economic based (around 2020) or terror based even (around 2018) that will change everyone’s thoughts on how to address the long-term issues that have been going on in the world. After that, I think there will be this long term period of prosperity and growth. The current generation, millennials are more different that any before it. They have the highest test score, less criminal activity, and drug use, and once they get real world experience they have the chance to shape the world like no other generation before it.

What’s one piece of advice you can tell our readers?

Follow your dreams, get out and see the world. Remember, that money follows love, so do what you love!

Read more about Halden Zimmermann’s leadership insights and follow his blog at: http://www.haldenzimmermann.info/.

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