Vice President of Sales and Marketing
[/text_output][text_output]This is a periodic column from the managers of our company. Through their years of involvement in the industry and in our company, these individuals provide insights, vision and perspective on the ever-changing world in which our customers, vendors and partners operate.[/text_output]
I have an associate degree in industrial management from the University of Cincinnati, and I worked in the metal distribution industry before starting with Enerfab 15 years ago as director of purchasing. When Enerfab purchased Brighton, I transitioned over to sales and eventually to my current role as vice president of sales and marketing. That year working as director of purchasing was an eye-opening experience. It helped me better understand the critical path items and priorities that tank fabrication buyers face on a daily basis. The most influential person that I can attribute my career progression to is my “Pops,” Joe Hammoor. I’ve been blessed to be able to mentor with the man that epitomizes the very essence of the Brighton culture. Pops started the tank head business for Brighton back in the ’70s and grew it into a $30 million-plus business.
What do you consider to be the challenges ahead in the next year at Brighton?
The marketplace is in flux. Oil and gas – a big part of what we sell to in terms of fabricators – is way down. We’re in an in-between stage of what will be the next industry that is going to need tankage built and going to keep fabricators busy. In the past 10 years, we’ve had a big ethanol boom, which required a lot of stainless steel tanks, and then there was a big solar energy boom, when Brighton produced many heads for reactors as part of the solar panel crystallization process. Two years ago we had the big rail car boom, where there was a need to ship rail cars full of oil. I’m not sure what the next boom will be. The crystal ball is a bit fuzzy at this moment.
How does Brighton plan to stay ahead in this competitive market?
What’s nice about Brighton, is that we are diversified. For example, we’re in the refinery, chemical, cryogenic, pharmaceutical and brewery industries. We are also diverse as it relates to our heads. We are able to make carbon, stainless, nickel alloy, titanium – we do all the alloys. We can touch any one of the industries out there. We can hit all the segments, whereas some of our competition might only sell carbon or only stainless.[/text_output]
The chemical industry right now should start to pick up because the feeder stock is natural gas, which is cheap right now. That market should be taking off, but it’s at the front end right now. But when it hits, it’s going to hit hard.
There’s also the whole cryogenic side of it, where natural gas can be converted to fuel for cars and trucks. Instead of burning diesel, you convert to natural gas and you literally have filling stations where you’re running your vehicle on natural gas and not on diesel fuel. That market was starting to build up, and everyone thought it would continue. I think in time the infrastructure will be built. That could be huge.
In your role, how do you impact the customer?
I’m not a typical VP of sales where I might only focus on directing the sales team. I’m a little more hands-on with the customers. I have relationships with the customers on a personal level. For many of our top accounts, I can make a sales call and sit in with the president or VP or a buyer and I’ll know them personally. That’s when I dig into the details. I want to understand who the customers are, what we bring to the table for them, why they buy from us. It’s not just about things like our quality product and on-time delivery. Bottom line – people buy from people. It’s all about relationships, and Brighton has relationships with the mom-and-pop shops to billion dollar companies.
We have people here on the customer service side who take care of the customer. They put the customer first, and they take that personally. Those are the traits that I hope I’ve instilled into our sales group. We take it seriously. We don’t want to let the customers down, and that’s what keeps them coming back.
What are some of your latest efforts to highlight the importance of safety in the organization?
You wouldn’t think safety would bubble into my role so much, but it really has. You’ll always hear me say, “Be safe.” When we have sales calls, the first thing we talk about is safety because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a great message. We want to make sure not only that we are safe, but that we’re spreading the message to a lot of the fabricators, small or large. Safety isn’t only here on the job, it’s also at home. For me personally, I made it a core value for myself. It goes to show you if management talks the talk and walks the walk, the folks we’re trying to lead know that we’re bought in and safety does matter.[/text_output]