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Managing Roles

Looking back, material handling is the only business I’ve ever known. Straight out of college, I worked for a manufacturer of modular in-plant offices. My job was to call on material handling distributors. Then, in 2002, the company I was working for folded and left me looking for another opportunity. Storage Solutions was a customer of mine in my previous job and President Kevin Rowles contacted me to gauge my interest in working with him. I had a great deal of respect for the company and was eager to join, but there was one caveat—I didn’t want to leave Kansas City for Indiana. Kevin understood, and after a few conversations, he decided that he would start a Kansas City branch and I would run it.

Starting out, there wasn’t much to the branch. It was essentially me working out of my basement. I spent most of my time knocking on doors and handing out business cards. I had a number of contacts on the national level from my previous job, but I wasn’t as wellentrenched locally. What that meant for my branch was that a lot of its business was done on a national scale. I was working with folks at the corporate level and supporting their facilities regardless of location. As the branch grew, my national-level experience allowed me to carve out a niche for myself as Storage Solutions vice president of national accounts.

In this role, my primary responsibility is national account sales. However, I also manage the branch operations and do some local sales. That puts a lot on my plate, but I’ve got a great team in place to help me handle it. The Kansas City office has grown to a five-person operation, including a salesperson, hybrid salesperson/project manager, sales coordinator and an installation supervisor. Everyone at the branch is extremely capable, so from a management standpoint I just have to communicate clear expectations and see to it that they’re met. I don’t have to be an extremely hands-on manager, which allows me to focus on sales.

Still, I keep a busy schedule, but that’s what’s great about this job. There’s never a dull moment in the material handling business. There’s always something to learn, a new project to complete or a new challenge to overcome. It’s what makes the material handling industry such a great place to build a career.

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

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