Perlick is shining the spotlight on accomplished women who are shaping the future of the food and beverage industry and blazing the trail for future female leaders. We are excited to highlight Dena Miner-Towle, owner and president of Nordic Beer Systems (NBS). Since birth, Dena has been immersed in the draft beer industry. Working for her parents at Nordic Beer Systems in various areas of the company has given her knowledge of each aspect of the business, beverage industry, and in manufacturing. After graduating from Boise State University (Yes, the university with the "Blue Turf" football field!), Dena began her career at Nordic full time. Dena purchased the company in 2017.
Since working at Nordic full time, Dena has propelled NBS forward, and continues to grow the company. Now located in a small town outside of Boise, Nordic's warehouse is 20,000 square feet and is where all manufacturing, from towers to trunk line to chillers, is completed on site. Each product is made by hand, tested, and inspected prior to shipment.
Let’s learn more from Dena about her success in the beverage industry and what inspires her in her career!
Q: How did you enter the world of beverage?
A: My dad, Dennis Harry, started Nordic Beer Systems in 1985. I was born in 1989, so I've basically been around it my whole life.
Q: How long have you been with Nordic Beer Systems?
A: I've been working at Nordic Beer Systems for eleven years. I started working for my parents by simply answering phones, taking messages, and helping with administrative duties. My love for the business, employees, and customers really developed and my involvement grew. I began managing the company and my parents had new freedom to travel more often. In 2017 I purchased Nordic from them.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working in the industry?
A: I absolutely love how unique and small our industry is. Most everyone knows everyone in the draft industry, so it gives it such a warm, family feel. The relationships with my employees, customers, and vendors are so dear to my heart and I enjoy being able to interact with them all.
Q: What do you bring to your approach in your role that is different?
A: I am constantly trying to be better than I was yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity to do
better. I think that helps everyone around me to see that they, themselves, can always strive to try new ways of doing things, but to also not beat themselves up over failures and mistakes. I can't even begin to express how many times I've failed, but those have been my best learning opportunities. I'm also honest and genuine. I think this is what helps with all my business relationships.
Q: Who are some women (past or present) that inspire you?
A: I have been very blessed to have very strong women in my family. My mom helped my dad out so much with Nordic. She showed up every day and was always willing to help in whatever way possible. My grandma was a woman with so many talents. She raised my mom and my uncle alongside my grandpa. She owned her own beauty shop, gardened, preserved her harvests, cooked amazing meals, had copious amounts of good friends, crocheted, painted, and always had a clean house. She was literally wonder woman, and I aspire to be well rounded just like her.
I also admire Amberley Snyder. She is a champion barrel racer who happens to be a paraplegic. She was paralyzed during a truck accident, and she has persevered despite her disability. She continues to ride horses and travel to barrel races and consistently wins. There are many excuses I have that I need to drop, because we can all overcome our struggles.
Q: How did you develop your leadership skills, and what do you recommend for other women in this industry?
A: Even as a child, I was very strong willed. Sorry Mom and Dad! Leadership came rather naturally to me, but in my late teens and early adult life I did shrink back from it a bit. Not all of my "bossy" nature was good, and I needed to really check myself. God has helped me so much with this and I'm happy with who I am today and who I'm always striving to be. I think it's all about being a good person and being aware of your strengths and weaknesses. I am now ok admitting I do not know everything and instead of hiding that, asking for help, and learning from anyone and everyone around me. Being a good leader means helping others grow too. For other women in this industry, I'd recommend to never stop learning, ask for help when you need it, and to always help others.
Q: How can women support other women in their organizations?
A: Encourage one another to always do better each day. Learn from mistakes and to push onward.
Q: What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
A: Don't be afraid to try new things. Failure is part of learning. There may be things that don't come naturally to you; try anyway. And most of all, don't be afraid to ask for help.
Q: With a busy lifestyle, how do you maintain a good work-life balance?
A: I've always told myself that I wanted to build a life I didn't feel the need to escape from. I have two boys, a husband, pets, employees, and customers whom all need many things from me daily. I have found that having a routine and taking care of myself has helped me to be able to be needed by so many.
Q: Lastly, what is your favorite beverage to enjoy?
A: Kombucha, a local cider, bubbly water, or a pineapple mimosa!
The growth of NBS can be accredited to Dena's love of creativity, communication, and creating a family-oriented business environment with her employees. The future is very clear for Nordic Beer Systems, as Dena believes in a strong foundation of communication and continued education. These qualities have carried over to her team and they all truly value their customers and vendors. Proper communication and continuing education allow for her motto, “made right, the first time, every time.”