25 years ago Dottie McLaughlin was living in Monroe City, Missouri, with her husband Mark. More than three hours away her sister and brother-in-law, Dianne and Tom Latimer, were building a factory in Grinnell, Iowa, for their new business. They had less than 10 employees at the time.
Then Tom and Dianne asked a question that would change all their lives: Will you come work for us? “It was a leap of faith, to say the least,” Dianne Latimer said. “They packed up their family and moved to a new state, trusting that their future would be safe with our young business.”
Dottie’s first role with ASI was as a receptionist. Her husband, an electrician, helped build the factory. Eventually, Mark went on to work for Grinnell College while Dottie thrived at ASI. She held a number of positions over the years in project management and graphics. Currently Dottie serves as a conduit between project management and the factory to make sure that every order that goes out the door is perfect.
“To say that Dottie is detail oriented would be an understatement,” Tom Latimer said. “She dots every ‘i’ and crosses every ‘t’, and then she makes sure everyone else does the same. Nothing gets by Dottie.”
While the company has certainly benefitted from Dottie’s attention to detail, it’s her attentiveness to those around her that will be sorely missed. She often makes meals for friends and co-workers. Recently she organized a gift drive for a fellow employee who’d survived a stroke. “She has a big heart, and if she sees someone in need she does something about it,” Tom said. It’s not only big gestures that define how she cares for people. Little things, such as leading Christmas carols and birthday serenades, bring cheer to those around her.
25 years after that leap of faith, Dottie is retiring from ASI and leaving behind a legacy. “Dottie has been a fixture in the business for so long that it will feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing without her here,” Tom said. “She asked the best questions. Always pushed us to be better. My hope is that ASI will continue to carry on her vision for precision, quality, and generosity.”