I started in the shop at Process Systems, Inc. in March of 1984 as a Mechanic’s Helper. I adventured through various positions over the years including Machine Shop Foreman, Application Engineer, Manufacturing Manager, and then on to outside sales. When I transferred to Great Lakes Pump in 2010, I basically “stayed in the family.” And so, it’s a pleasure to say that I have 34 years in the biz, sharing a career with some of the same people along the entire way.
I will never forget traveling to Brazil for Process Systems. The travel experience was amazing. I was in a different world. The food, the people, language, mountains…even the trees were different. The BBQ was incredible. After a week in a Chrysler plant in Curitiba, Brazil, rebuilding a Vertical Turbine Pump on machine tool coolant service, I was thrilled to return home. I still cherish that experience though. My work has also taken me to Germany, South Korea, and Italy. Every time I would return my kids would tell me I am talking more slowly, loudly, annunciating every word and using my hands a lot.
When you think about pumps and manufacturing, you think equipment, metal castings, electric motors, piping…but in the end the biggest challenges involve the people. Fluid management is both art and science and I think the most difficult times are having to influence and guide people with more seniority. Usually it means being patient and listening first. Other situations are different. One thing I seem to encounter over and over and over has to do with a lesson I learned early on. When you meet a customer for the first time, you have to quickly determine who is going to lead the conversation – you or the customer.
No one will believe the time I brought back a purchase order from my first outside sales call. It wasn’t a large order, and it was hand written by the owner of a small heat-treating facility, but it was an order!