Speaker Profile

Derek DeGeest

Derek DeGeest

President, DeGeest Corporation & LestaUSA

As the third-generation president of DeGeest Corporation, Derek DeGeest understands the complexities of manufacturing. But it’s his vision for the future that quickly led to the company becoming a technology l eader through software development, data analytics, automation, and the use of robotics throughout the manufacturing process.

Leveraging this robotic and software experience, Derek brought a new robot technology to North America and became President of LestaUSA after forming a partnership with Lesta Srl to become the sole distributor, integrator and manufacturer of Lesta self-learning robotic finishing technology. Derek led DeGeest Corporation to become a NRTL certified facility for integrating Class I Div 1 self-learning robots. DeGeest is now growing a distribution network to help bring finishing automation to more general industry manufacturers.

Besides leading his companies, Derek’s role has evolved to take on a more consultative focus in automation and robotics by creating multi-year automation plans for customers, participating in speaking events, and sharing success stories on his podcast Manufacturing a Stronger Standard in an effort to move the manufacturing industry forward.

As a lifelong advocate for the success of manufacturing, Derek remains active in his community and routinely partners with area schools and technical colleges to encourage young people to choose rewarding careers in manufacturing. Derek is a board member for the Build Dakota Scholarship Program created by business leaders and lawmakers to address South Dakota’s workforce shortage. In 2019, he was recognized in Washington D.C. as the Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Person of the Year for South Dakota.