Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
After growing up in the state of Missouri and earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in General Business with minors in Management and Marketing from Missouri State University, I married my high school sweetheart. We have two children, four wonderful grandchildren, and live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I have worked for Gränges Americas, Inc and its predecessors in various sales and sales management roles for the past 32 years. In my nearly 40 years in the aluminum industry, I have sold welded aluminum tubing, and rolled aluminum foil / sheet, as well as primary aluminum products that would include foundry alloy, billet and redraw rod.
So, why Gränges?
When Gränges acquired Noranda Aluminum's US rolling mills in 2016, it was a great opportunity and fit for me to be a part of a company that was interested in investing and growing the foil and light gauge sheet business here in North America. I think my experience, market knowledge, and long-term relationships with many of our existing foil customers has served the company well in the last four years.
What is your title? What’s your scope/objective?
My title is Senior Account Manager for Gränges Americas, Inc., and my primary focus is working with existing and potential customers in the container and packaging markets that manufacturer semi- rigid food containers, household foil, and flexible packaging. In addition, I also service customers in the distribution and industrial markets and represent Gränges Americas by serving on the Aluminum Association’s Statistics and Market Research committee. I am also a member of the Aluminum Foil Container Manufacturers Association.
What are the major changes you’ve experienced during your professional life?
Alcoa, Alcan, Kaiser, and Reynolds were the four major mills that completely dominated the aluminum market, and all were fully integrated “mine to mill” companies when I began in the aluminum business. Today, there are no integrated aluminum companies left in North America, but there are more niche players in the foil and sheet end use markets. There has been an unprecedented growth of aluminum consumption in cars and trucks not seen in any other sector. While other companies invested and focused on can and auto body sheet, we focused and grew our share in HVAC and Auto Fin S, Semi-Rigid Container Transformer Winding, Automotive Heat Shield, Household Foil and our other strategic markets.
The sales technology and tools we have today have changed tremendously since I entered the industry. Salespeople have gone from boxes of file folders with handwritten customer profiles and orders, to laptops and more air travel with greater effectiveness and efficiency. Phone communication has evolved from side of the road pay phones to mobile smart phones. I have enjoyed embracing the technological advances through the years and feel like I have been able to re-invent myself and adapt to the ever-changing way we interact internally within our company and externally with our customers.
What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?
I am in constant communication with our customers and the Gränges Americas three plants, by phone, e-mail, conference calls and in person to ensure we are delivering the product support and the high level of service our customers expect from doing business with our company. Currently, I am working on and developing the light gauge customer base for the fully modernized and upgraded rolling mills in Newport Arkansas. The mills will have the capability to supply ultra-thin foils as light as 6 microns (.00025”) and as wide as 1829 millimeters (72”) for a variety of flexible packaging products in the food and medical markets , as well as insulation foil used in automotive and building products applications.
What do you like most about your job? What’s the best with working at Gränges?
Probably what I appreciate most about my job is the opportunity to develop new business and build long term and sustainable relationships with our customers. Our flat organizational structure allows me to interact with all levels of management and share my thoughts and ideals within the organization. I also get to use my “bantering humor” and one liners freely with my colleagues to reduce the stress levels during meetings. Just a few of the one liners that I like to share are, “Does he or she really have 10 years of experience in the job, or just 1 year experience 10 times over? “Wrong is wrong no matter how many of you think it is right,” “ If I have to do half your job, then I deserve half your pay”, and “ I can only give you the facts, but not the reasoning “.
Are there any trends within your field you can tell us about?
With the current global COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in demand for 7 to 8 micron foil (.000275-0003”) used in multilayer pouch test kits that consist of a polyester/aluminum/polyethylene (PET/Alu/PE) construction. The aluminum foil barrier provides the necessary protection from light and moisture so that test kits are not compromised before they are used. Battery foil is an emerging market and Gränges is in the product development stages as a global organization. There are no North American producers that can produce foil for batteries, and we are positioning ourselves, to enter this highly specialized foil market from the upgraded light gauge foil mills in Newport.
If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be?
Gränges has invested heavily in recent years to support customer growth in the niche markets we serve here in North America. In order to sustain our growth plans and meet our customer expectations, I would like to see continued efforts on improving our on time delivery performance on a consistent monthly basis, and even through our peak season for all of our customers.
And finally, what do you do when you’re not at work?
I enjoy spending and time on the water and grilling out in the summers at our lake house on beautiful Norris Lake in East Tennessee. We are huge National Football League (NFL), Tennessee Titan fans and season ticket holders. Every year we make plans to attend one away game to a different NFL city. Faith, family, friends and fitness are a big part of my life outside of work.