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The Welsh Wire: Traeger & the Reality of Remote Engineering

Joe Marietta, Director of Mechanical Engineering, Traeger
Joe Marietta, Director of Mechanical Engineering, Traeger

Traeger, maker of high-end wood pellet grills and accessories, is doing innovative work linking hybrid and remote teams to improve collaboration. Sheri Welsh talked on The Welsh Wire with Joe Marietta, Director of Mechanical Engineering at Traeger’s Kalamazoo office.

Traeger is headquartered in Utah but opened up a remote office in West Michigan, in part because of the ease of hiring excellent engineering talent.

“It’s much easier, right? Cheaper cost of living, more people who do those sorts of things, so it’s worked out really well,” Marietta said.

The Kalamazoo-based Traeger office is in the Jerico building which is described as a community of entrepreneurs, makers, and artists.

“When we started, we all flew to Utah and spent a week there meeting the team and understanding the culture,” he said. “Now take this back to Kalamazoo – it should feel like an extension of the headquarters in Salt Lake City.”

Marietta also mentioned video meetings are key to supplementing occasional in-person trips to Utah.

“It’s not it’s not as good as being in person, but it’s the best thing we have. And it’s amazing now, right? You can have a video call and just like that we’re on; I can see your face, and we can chat,” he said.

Marietta and his team also put a lot of effort into making the Traeger employees at the Kalamazoo office feel unique and special.

“We’ve got hats, and we’ve got t-shirts. When you come to visit Kalamazoo from Salt Lake City, you get the merit badges, you get a sticker, and you get a t-shirt. It’s like you’ve been here, and so then, you can take it back. You were in the office and people are like, ‘Oh, where’d you get that shirt? Oh, that came from the Kalamazoo office!’ If you want one, you’ve got to come visit.”

Learn more about work team collaboration on this month’s The Welsh Wire podcast featuring Sheri Welsh and Joe Marietta. Be sure to subscribe to The Welsh Wire on iTunes for additional informative, entertaining interviews with West Michigan business leaders.