Features

Justin McCabe – OnLogic 

Driving success through strategic initiatives 

From the outside, the positions of general counsel and global sales leader seem very different. One requires a law degree (and generally a certain amount of risk averseness), and the other likely is helmed by someone with a degree in business (and generally open to unchartered opportunities). Someone in both roles could easily spend 40-plus hours per week completing the necessary tasks—it seems hard to imagine one person doing both.  

Justin McCabe | General Counsel & Global Leader of Sales | OnLogic 

Justin McCabe | General Counsel & Global Leader of Sales | OnLogic

But that isn’t stopping Justin McCabe, the general counsel and global leader of sales for OnLogic, a South Burlington, Vermont-based company that creates advanced, powerful, highly configurable small form factor computers that thrive where others fail. 

Breaking the mold for general counsels, McCabe’s background is rooted in chemical engineering, which led him to become an intellectual property attorney. He brings with him a unique viewpoint, one that prioritizes his business insight. A direct, open, and honest approach to business and life has characterized McCabe’s tenure at OnLogic. He believes in meeting customer needs and building relationships based on transparency.  

In his role, McCabe oversees all legal matters for OnLogic, dealing with supplier issues, employment disputes, contracts, and more. A significant part of his day involves working with sales and sales strategy, identifying growth potential, and developing people while providing steady leadership. His comprehensive understanding of the sales department allows him to effectively manage contracts and negotiations, leveraging value propositions to drive success.  

“I think my ability to address the root causes of problems and drive toward solutions has earned me the respect and trust of my colleagues,” McCabe tells Vanguard magazine during an interview in June. “My diverse skill set and strategic mindset enable me to lead teams effectively and gain buy-in for the company’s strategies.” 

Engineering growth and innovation 

One of McCabe’s key duties at OnLogic is overseeing the legal aspects of the company’s operations. As an industrial computer hardware manufacturer, OnLogic deals with complex supplier issues, contract negotiations, and regulatory and compliance requirements. McCabe’s role involves navigating these intricate legal landscapes, ensuring the company remains compliant and protected. He spends a significant portion of his day discussing detailed legal issues and effectuating the sales strategies the company aims to fulfill. His ability to understand and manage the legal intricacies of the business has been crucial in maintaining smooth operations and supporting the company’s growth. 

Justin McCabe | General Counsel & Global Leader of Sales | OnLogic 

McCabe’s leadership has also been vital in developing OnLogic’s new $60-million-dollar facility in South Burlington. This new building, which recently celebrated its grand opening with the attendance of Vermont business leaders and legislative members, is set to employ 500 people (up from 180) within the next four to five years. The facility represents a significant expansion for OnLogic, reflecting the company’s commitment to growth and its positive impact on the local economy. McCabe’s strategic oversight and ability to drive large-scale projects have been instrumental in bringing this vision to life, ensuring that the new facility is equipped to support OnLogic’s future endeavors. 

Having just moved into the new building in February, McCabe is working to make it feel more like home. The facility faced numerous challenges, including finding the land and navigating regulations and laws. The groundbreaking was a memorable experience for McCabe, who had never anticipated participating in such an event in his career.  

“The new building brought with it updated safety standards and policies, including how visitors are managed within the facility, which is especially important as various groups, including schools, frequently visit,” he explains.  

Championing inclusivity and transparency 

The legal team at OnLogic is small, consisting of just two members, yet they handle significant global responsibilities as needed in Europe, Taiwan, or Malaysia, where they have operations. The company maintains a work-from-office culture, emphasizing the importance of on-site presence to ensure effective collaboration and a vibrant work environment. While many may question this approach, it is also in line with OnLogic’s culture, as production workers are necessarily on-site each day, and thus, it is fair to expect others to be as well. McCabe, like the rest of the OnLogic team, takes seriously the responsibility to nurture the company culture that is at the heart of the organization’s success. The core values of open, fair, innovative and independent drive everything the organization does and the decisions it makes. 

Justin McCabe | General Counsel & Global Leader of Sales | OnLogic 

In addition to his legal and operational responsibilities, McCabe leads OnLogic’s inclusivity team. This team is dedicated to expanding diversity and implementing equitable policies. McCabe’s commitment to transparency and fair treatment has created a more inclusive and supportive work environment, empowering employees to reach their full potential. 

Diversity and inclusivity are key focuses for McCabe and OnLogic. Recognizing the predominantly white population in Vermont, the inclusivity team looks beyond race to address issues like income inequality. They educate teams about local poverty, offer free food in the cafeteria, and work on competitive wages to ensure employees can live reasonably close to the facility. They are also developing a bus plan to help employees commute from more affordable areas. 

On a global scale, OnLogic’s facilities in the EU, Taiwan, and Malaysia present unique diversity challenges. In the EU, age discrimination can be a significant issue, while in Malaysia and Taiwan, class and religious diversity can come into play. The company emphasizes intercultural communication, leveraging insights from Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory to improve understanding and collaboration across different cultures. 

McCabe’s multifaceted role at OnLogic showcases his ability to drive strategic initiatives, foster an inclusive workplace, and lead significant projects contributing to the company’s growth and success. His dedication to creating a supportive and collaborative environment is evident in every aspect of his work, from legal responsibilities to sales leadership. 

From engineering to law 

With a foundation in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s from Case Western Reserve University, McCabe began his career as an operations manager at McMaster-Carr Supply Company, where he managed a team of 70. This role set the stage for his future in leadership, providing invaluable experience in managing operations and driving organizational success. 

Justin McCabe | General Counsel & Global Leader of Sales | OnLogic 

Transitioning to law, McCabe earned his JD from Vermont Law and Graduate School. He spent over 11 years in private practice, focusing on intellectual property and transactional work. Despite his success, McCabe found the role increasingly isolating and administratively burdensome, prompting him to seek opportunities for broader impact. 

In February 2020, McCabe joined OnLogic as general counsel. At the time, the company was relatively small, with revenues between $60 million and $80 million, allowing him to take on multiple roles, including director of sales and interim CFO. These experiences showcased his versatility and leadership, earning him the trust of colleagues and management. His problem-solving approach and strategic alignment with company goals proved invaluable. 

Earlier this year, McCabe expanded his responsibilities by becoming the global sales leader, overseeing a team of 100 across the U.S. and Europe. This role has been educational and challenging, particularly in leading mid-level managers and fostering professional development within his team. He emphasizes mentorship and explains his journey to those aspiring to his position. 

Reflecting on his career, McCabe acknowledges the influence of early internships and mentorship from various leaders.  

“Joining OnLogic was a serendipitous opportunity suggested by the departing general counsel, and despite the complexities of transitioning just before the COVID-19 pandemic, I adapted quickly and thrived in my new environment,” McCabe says. “The future is bright here at OnLogic as we continue to help customers make their ideas possible, and I’m excited to be a part of that journey.” 

Published on: July 2, 2024

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