Sales engineer Todd Carroll conveys a passion for problem-solving.
When he’s not at the office, 34-year-old conveyor expert Todd Carroll likes to relax by getting out on the water, whether he is feeding his love of traveling with a trip to the Caribbean or boating in Chesapeake Bay and the connecting rivers. The rest of the time, Carroll is a top performer at Conveyor Handling Company (Elkridge, MD), where he has served as a sales engineer since 1999.
Carroll notes the Annapolis area’s strong foundation of manufacturing and distribution, making his position at Conveyor Handling, as he says, “a perfect fit.” The position allows Carroll to put his mechanical engineering degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology, his six years’ experience as a Cobra helicopter mechanic in the U.S. Army National Guard and his outgoing nature to good use. “I like that every day and every project bring a new problem to solve,” Carroll says. “I also really enjoy working with all the different personalities and seeing how things are produced.”
A Good Mix of Skills
This combination of skills has helped him evolve into a top-performing sales engineer as well as a mentor to younger recruits. Carroll usually arrives in the office around 7:15 and plans his day while drinking a cup of coffee. He keeps a running log of tasks to do, prioritizing his day to try to attack his high-import duties before most other employees arrive. “After that, a typical day can include anything from teleconferences with customers or vendors to sales calls,” he says.
Most of his territory is local, though recently he has done more out-of-town projects. Carroll finds new opportunities with existing and new customers and then works with them to design systems to improve efficiencies for client distribution centers and warehouses. With his engineering background, he is able to do much of his own design work. “I use AutoCAD almost every day,” he says.
Once awarded a project, he takes on the role of project manager, which includes everything from purchasing and scheduling to managing the overall implementation. In his sales management role, Carroll goes on calls with new salespeople for training, attends vendor meetings and conferences, and manages marketing efforts like the company’s e-newsletter. Carroll directly oversees one marketing representative, and assists the other ten sales and marketing people in any way he can.
He estimates that 80 percent of his time is focused on sales engineering, while 20 percent is focused on management. “It is very easy to get tied emotionally to projects as you work through them. It’s good to be passionate, but you must also realize that there are bigger things in life. It’s important to have a little bit of fun with situations and, at the same time, keep a smile on your face.”
The various roles can sometimes make time management a problem, particularly among the younger generation. “Our generation wants everything to happen immediately. There’s not always a quick and easy way to do everything,” Carroll says. Carroll thinks this tendency for speed makes the younger generation tend to get frustrated too easily. “It’s hard to not do that, but there is always a way to solve a problem, even if it doesn’t happen right off the bat.”
Maintaining such a positive attitude is one thing that Carroll tries to instill in those he works with. “If you believe you can do something, you can do it. Remain positive, believe in yourself and learn as much as you can from the people around you.” This advice has served him well as his career has progressed, and the success Carroll has fostered at Conveyor Handling has kept him energized and motivated to perform. “At many jobs, people leave within a window of a few years. Here I’ve found great folks who stay and really enjoy what they’re doing. This is where I hope to retire someday.”
That’s good news for Conveyor Handling Company and the rest of the material handling industry.